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No Reflection

In “Seeing Your Company as a System“, uber systems thinker Russell Ackoff is quoted as saying:

Experience is not the best teacher; it is not even a good teacher. It is too slow, too imprecise, and too ambiguous.” Organizations have to learn and adapt through experimentation, which he (Ackoff) said “is faster, more precise, and less ambiguous. We have to design systems which are managed experimentally, as opposed to experientially.” – Russell Ackoff

Judging whether an experiment is a success, failure, or something in between, requires the ability to pause and reflect on the results (or lack thereof) being achieved while the experiment is in operation.

In borgs run by self-perceived infallible popes, there is no experimentation and there is no reflection. Orders from above are assumed to be “right” and their execution is never perceived to be an experiment. They are undoubtedly based on an unquestioned, proven theory (usually Theory X) that’s underpinned by a set of rock solid axioms. If success doesn’t manifest as a result of carrying out papal orders, it’s auto-assumed to be the fault of the congregation, or (in less borgy institutions) mysterious supernatural forces beyond papal control. It’s unconscionable to think that the orders themselves were the cause of failure. Why? Because pauses during, and reflection after, execution are not allowed.

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