Ackoff on Leadership and Transformation

Guest post by John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).

This is the first video from a day with Russell Ackoff presentation (from 2004). As always, Dr. Ackoff does a great job of providing insight in an easy to listen to package. We are lucky to be able to so easily access such great content.

YouTube video

The possibility for improvement is huge; but the improvement requires the transformation of a corporation from a mindset that characterizes the the age we are coming out of to the age we are going into.

Unfortunately, that transformation is still a potential instead of a reality. We have made some improvements in the management of our organizations since Ackoff gave this presentation but those improvements are fairly minor in my opinion. The potential for improvement is so promising but our progress is frustratingly slow. If we would listen to Russell Ackoff, W. Edwards Deming, and others we highlight on this blog, I think we could make great progress.

In this presentation, Dr. Ackoff recommends Jan Carlzon’s book: Moments of Truth as one of the few that provides insight into leadership.

As usual Dr. Ackoff’s talk is peppered with insight into appreciation for a system:

What you have to do is start with the whole and then evaluate manipulation of the parts in terms of their affect on the whole, not their affect on the part taken separately.

We often use the excuse that we would act differently if only we could, but, as Ackoff says:

The principle obstruction between us and where we want to be is us.

Such a simple idea, but very powerful. Take action to create the organization you want to be a part of.

See more conference presentations exploring Dr. Deming’s ideas.

Related: Leading The Transformation Process

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