Ackoff’s F-laws: Common Sins of Management

Russ Ackoff once again does a great job of providing insight into management. I highly recommend A Little Book of f-Laws [the broken link was removed] where Ackoff, with Herbert Addison and Sally Bibb, present 13 common sins of management, such as:

Managers who don’t know how to measure what they want settle for wanting what they can measure

See: Deming’s thoughts on unknown and unknowable figures. A book with over 80 management flaws (er I mean f-Laws) will be published in January – you can even submit your own [the broken link was removed].

Related: Ackoff articles and booksblog posts on Ackoff’s ideasManagement Advice Failures

The more time managers spend trying to get rid of what they don’t want, the less likely they are to get what they do want

It is more difficult to define what we want than what we do not want. Nevertheless, a ‘getting rid of’ strategy is a cop out. Great gains are seldom made easily. Therefore, it is important for managers to know what they would have if they could have whatever they wanted.

The most effective way of creating the future is by closing or reducing the gap between the current state and the idealized design.

Have your own f-Law? Submit your f-Law [the broken link was removed] and you could win fame and a splendid prize”

All f-LAWS received by 10th January 2007 will be eligible for the prestigious f-LAW trophy. Entries will be judged by the publishers. Russ Ackoff and Sally Bibb will present the trophy to the author of the best new f-LAW at the London launch of Management f-LAWS: How Organizations Really Work.

“f-Laws are are truths about organizations that we might wish to deny or ignore – simple and more reliable guides to managers’ everyday behaviour”

via: F Laws: Management Truths We Wish To Ignore

One thought on “Ackoff’s F-laws: Common Sins of Management

  1. My f-Law, which I came up with some years ago though it has not to my knowledge been “published” formally:

    “What gets rewarded appears to get done. What gets punished appears not to get done.”

    It’s a twist on the old “What gets measured gets done” which I think is not quite true when rewards and punishments are involved, and it builds too on Goodhart’s law.


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