It may seem an odd thing to say because it implies managers don’t have knowledge.

There is a story of a Japanese manufacturing expert visiting a UK manufacturer. Having toured the site he asked the top manager how long he had been there. ‘About twenty years’ was the reply. ‘That’s interesting’, said the Japanese expert, I thought you’d say about twenty days’.

It illustrates the point that experience is not the same as knowledge.

The Japanese expert could ‘see’ things – opportunities for improvement – that were beyond the view of management.

Studying the organisation as a system produces sound knowledge of the ‘what and why’ of performance. The knowledge is gained by taking this different and challenging perspective.