A Lifetime of Systems Thinking / Russell Ackoff

A Lifetime of Systems Thinking

“… here has never been an amount of money that makes it worth doing something that is not fun.”

“… derive understanding of parts from the behavior and properties of wholes…”

“The whole can be understood only by viewing it from all the perspectives simultaneously.”

“The best thing that can be done to a problem is to dissolve it, to redesign the entity that has it or its environment so as to eliminate the problem.”

The most valuable and least replaceable resource is time. Without the time of employees, money can produce nothing.”

Identifying and defining the hierarchy of mental content, which, in order of increasing value, are: data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.”

All learning ultimately derives from mistakes. When we do something right, we already know how to do it; the most we get out of it is confirmation of our rightness. Mistakes are of two types: commission (doing what should not have been done) and omission (not doing what should have been done). Errors of omission are generally much more serious than errors of commission, but errors of commission are the only ones picked up by most accounting systems. Since mistakes are a no-no in most corporations, and the only mistakes identified and measured are ones involving doing something that should not have been done, the best strategy for managers is to do as little as possible. No wonder managerial paralysis prevails in American organizations.”

The best thing that can be done to a problem is not to solve it but to dissolve it.”

“the responsiveness of a good driver of an automobile who gets where he wants to go without forecasts of what he will encounter but with the ability to cope with whatever occurs.”

“Those at the top feel obliged to pretend to omniscience, and therefore refuse to learn anything new even if the cost of doing so is success.”