Blackwater Or Duller Than Dishwater?

If you can’t escape your old name, get a new one. And if that doesn’t work, get another new one.

The security firm formerly known as Blackwater is undergoing its second name change in three years. After several flare-ups and shootings in Iraq, including one in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead, the government in Baghdad banned Blackwater from doing business in the country. Washington also launched federal prosecutions. In 2009, looking for a makeover, the company changed its name to Xe Services. Did this help?

Apparently, not enough. Now, Xe has announced that it is being rechristened yet again—this time to Academi—in a move meant to complement a new set of owners and a new board of directors. CEO Ted Wright is telling clients to expect much smoother waters going forward as Academi concentrates on mundane matters such as effective contract management.

“I tell them, from now on, I’m going to be in the background,” Wright told The Wall Street Journal. “I’m going to be boring.”

Whether or not Academi succeeds in becoming a properly lackluster security firm and Ted Wright a properly lackluster leader, the goal is a sound one—or at least it would be in the eyes of Peter Drucker.

As we’ve noted, Drucker thought that the essence of leadership was focusing on performance—and thus being “boring”—instead of trying to be charismatic. [EXPAND More]

Effective companies, Drucker suggested, are likewise humdrum. “A factory that is ‘dramatic,’ a factory in which the ‘epic of industry’ is unfolded before the visitor’s eyes, is poorly managed,”Drucker wrote in The Effective Executive. “A well-managed factory is boring. Nothing exciting happens in it because the crises have been anticipated and have been converted into routine. Similarly a well-managed organization is a ‘dull’ organization.”

What do you think: Is dullness in business always a virtue—or do more “exciting” organizations have their place?[/EXPAND]