Chapter IThe Holy Grail: Superior Performance

In 1975, my friend and colleague Peter Vaill (at that point the Dean of the Business School at George Washington University) wrote a short paper which turned out to be long on influence. The paper bore the academic sounding title, “Towards a Behavioral Description of High Performing Systems,” However, as Peter was quick to admit, the academics were only skin deep, if only because he found himself “unable to say what a High Performing System is.” So much for academic precision, and it gets worse. It turns out that the thoughts expressed did not result from careful research but rather from “intuitive leaps” most of which occurred in “one four hour burst.” In fairness, Vaill carefully identified ...

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