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    I am now using this blog to re-post some comments I make other blogs. For my full management blog see the Curious Cat Management Blog

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Learning, Systems and Improvement

    A Major Mistake That Managers Make by Russell L. Ackoff

    Once again Ackoff provides great ideas:

    Errors of omission, lost opportunities, are generally more critical than errors of commission. Organizations fail or decline more frequently because of what they did not do than because of what they did.

    Page 4 and 5 explore the method to effectively learn from decisions the organization makes. The idea seem simple but they are powerful.

    Preparing a record of every decision of any significance, ones that involve doing something or (of particular importance) ones that involve not doing
    something. This record should include the following information:

    • The justification for the decision including its expected effects and the
    time by which they are expected...
    • The assumptions on which the expectations are based...
    • The information, knowledge, and understanding that went into the
    • Who made the decision, how it was made, and when...

    The decision should be monitored to determine whether the expectations are
    being met and the assumptions on which they are based remain valid.

    When a deviation is found in either the assumptions or expectations, it should
    be diagnosed, the cause determined and corrective action prescribed and

    The corrective action is itself the result of a decision. A record of this decision
    should be made and treated as the original decision. In this way the process
    can not only yield learning but also learning how to learn.

    A record of the entire process (all four steps) should be made and stored for
    easy access by those who may later be confronted by the need to make a
    similar type of decision.

    More articles and books by Russell Ackoff

    Theory of Knowledge


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