When a company does something extremely well, it’s only natural to analyze its leadership and culture in search of best practices. If we become too enamored of Wall Street’s latest darling, though, it might cloud our ability to identify what truly drives performance. “[I]s Google successful because of its distinctive practices,” asks Bill Taylor in a post at Harvard Business Online, “or can it afford to experiment with these practices because its core business is so damn successful?”

A good question, and one you should ask before implementing the company’s innovative hiring and management policies only to discover, perhaps, that they’re simply the window dressing on Google’s outstanding technology.

To make his point, Taylor offers this quote from Phil Rosenzweig’s book The Halo Effect: “When a company is growing and profitable, we tend to infer that it has a brilliant strategy, a visionary CEO, motivated people, and a vibrant culture. When performance falters, we’re quick to say the strategy was misguided, the CEO became arrogant, the people were complacent, and the culture stodgy.” The problem, according to Rosenweig, is that laudatory journalism often describes high performers without pinpointing what actually led to business success.

Your Marketing Inspiration comes from Bill Taylor: “When someone tries to put a halo around any company, you’ve got to remain aware of the Halo Effect. We all need something to believe in—but blind faith isn’t always the best way to see the future.