Following the theme of my earlier post on education, I’d like to share a great Russell Ackoff quote which he wrote as part of the forward to Peter Scholte’s superb book ‘The leaders handbook’:
“A guru is one who develops a doctrine and seeks disciples who accept and transmit it without modification. No deviation is acceptable. Any modification is a sign of disloyalty, in fact, heresy. Its consequence is excommunication.
Educators, on the other hand, encourage and even try to inspire progressive deviations from what they have said. Their objective is not to remove the need for further learning, as is the guru’s, but to initiate it – to provide a springboard from which their students can dive into their own minds, discover what is there, and develop it.
The number of management gurus is increasing at an alarming rate. We do not yet have one guru per manager but we are rapidly approaching that number. The ultimate success of a guru is to produce the fad of the week, becoming number one on the managerial hit parade. Successful or not, gurus preach panaceas the validity of which they pretend to have received directly from the Great Manager in the Sky, who actually resides in the mind of the gurus.
What educators teach comes from experience, their own and that of others, not from revelation.”
Be wary of the management cults of… [please insert the name of today’s panacea].