A respected management scholar, Russell Ackoff, has died at the age of 90.
What struck me about this tribute article from the Wall Street Journal is Ackoff’s counter-philosophy on building models for business. As fellow respected management philosopher Peter Drucker is quoted as saying in the article: Ackoff’s work “saved me – as it saved countless others – from descending into mindless ‘model building’ – the disease that all but destroyed so many of the business schools.”
This reminded me about something I heard from a professor in one of my MBA program classes – not all “best-practice” models work for all companies. When faced with yet another framework, model, or best practice in the latest book or convention presentation, a distributor must decide whether it fits the business. Not all frameworks work for all companies. Some must be adapted. But others may in fact be counterproductive in reaching your company’s strategic goals.
In other words, while the words of experts or your peers may in fact be wise – and while those strategies may in fact have worked for them – it does not mean they will work for you. But of course, it does not mean they won’t either. Some customization is always needed.