Management theorist Russell Ackoff passed away late last month, leaving behind a lifetime of memorable insights. Here’s one of my favorite, reprised in a good WSJ story about Ackoff’s life and legacy.

“All of our social problems arise out of doing the wrong thing righter. The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is much better to do the right thing wronger than the wrong thing righter! If you do the right thing wrong and correct it, you get better!”

10 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Right and wrong”

  1. This reminds me of our problems in the field of education and the frustration of trying to get people to agree to change their practice. Instead we just continue in the manner that we always have (the wrong way) and are surprised when we continue to get mediocre (wronger) results.

    It also is reminiscent of the quite from Jim Collins regarding the fact that we don’t have great schools because we have good schools. Unfortunately, I agree with Mr. Ackoff’s thinking and the fact that this lack of doing things efficiently will have continue to make our schools wronger. Therefore, we won’t even be able to consider ourselves good.

  2. Phil Downs says:

    Reminds me of my father’s quote:
    “A thing worth doing is worth doing badly.”

  3. Darin Schmidt says:

    The classic leadership vs. management dichotomy…

    As an educator, I’m interested in Mr. Larkin’s specific complaints. One of mine is that we beat ourselves up over international comparisions, but few are willing to learn from other countries and implement their practices.

    What was the definition of insanity?…

  4. That ‘s true.I loved it and I agree with this quote specially “It is much better to do the right thing wronger than the wrong thing righter!”

  5. Adam says:

    This reminds me of the famous advertising aphorism: “The best way to kill a bad product is with good advertising.”

  6. C. A. Hurst says:

    Thank you, Dan! Great quote.

  7. Nice! I found myself smiling and thinking of….”It’s far better to follow your own path imperfectly than to follow another’s perfectly”. Bhagavad Gitta

  8. Kevin says:

    Yep, ain’t this the truth. Would you share this with my boss!

  9. It was reinforcing the positive attributes! thanks for the quote!!

Leave a Reply