The Biggest Secret Knowledge in Business

Is the stuff that ought to work, but doesn’t.

So says GMU economist Arnold Kling in this interesting TCS Daily article. Kling hits on something I think a lot about which is how common and repetitive the “best practices” of business are. It’s hard to find original insights, even if the insights come after years of research. Perhaps it’s because people focus on too much on success cases instead of failures:

Articulating what works, even for someone as successful as Charles Koch, can have surprisingly little value. Taken out of context, what works will seem obvious. What readers need to know is the larger context, especially what ought to work, but doesn’t.

(hat tip: Jeff Nolan)

1 comment on “The Biggest Secret Knowledge in Business
  • Given your own history (hardly easily reproducible results!), I would think this statement would hit very close to home. I would be very interested to hear you expand upon the subject.

    I found Kling’s article to be slightly off the mark. The understanding I have of Market-Based Management is that it is not a “How-To” system, but a business philosophy. While there are definitely rules, especially with regards to compliance and limits of person responsiblity within the company, the two general questions an employee is expected to ask themselves at all times are “What should I do right now to create the most value (value creation?” and “What insight am I drawing from my current and past experiences that can help move us as a company in the most successful direction (entrepreneurship & creative destruction)?” There are no easy answers to these questions, they will be different for each person in each circumstance. Giving people the freedom to explore that is a large part of how Koch Industries is so successful.

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