David Siegel is the creator of the Business Agility Workshop. In 2016, he was a candidate to be dean of Stanford Business School, his essay is called Open Stanford. He is the author of two business books, one of which was on the BusinessWeek bestseller list:


Gleb Tsipursky’s new book arrives November, 2019:

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David has created a YouTube channel to explain many of the concepts in business agility. Here are the videos:

Here is the business section from

Does management work? It’s not a straightforward answer. Certainly, some businesses are well managed. But the business press is full of fashionable gurus promoting the latest management fadsAn excellent article shows that people quit jobs, not firms. The shift from top-down to flatter organizationsprobably hasn’t really done much to improve employee engagement or effectiveness. Self-management is an ongoing experiment. There are many management systems and anecdotes of success, yet those researchers who study failure find the same principles at work that are supposed to cause successSome companies have found the secret recipe or developed systems that work, while others are still working on it and most others have not. If you think people work for money, watch Daniel Pink unpack the latest research:

Do boards of directors help a company? Probably not, though few researchers have studied this. CEOs choose board members who are aligned with their salary goalsMany boards are passiveThey rarely prevent disaster, though some mightStudies point to long-term stock ownership rather than short-term compensation as part of the solution.

Is CEO pay justified? Here, the data is mixed. On one side, we have data showing there is no correlation between CEO pay and company performance.* A growing body of research also shows that pay for performance does not work, yet CEO salaries drift ever upward as a result of popular myths that these tall, mostly white male, lucky people are worthy leaders. On the other hand, one study showed that companies with well-compensated CEOs far outperform those with lower-paid CEOs and Tyler Cowen argues that CEOs capture less of the value they bring to corporations than other employees.* Correlation or causation? I guess it’s a little more complicated than I thought.

How much should we trust experts? Not much. In engineering, they mostly agree. But in complex adaptive systems, there are many experts with opposing views. David Freedman has shown that experts are overconfident and often wrong. The more “important” they are, the less we look at their actual track records. Double-blind taste tests show that wine experts cannot consistently identify wines they have previously identified many timesEconomists are worse.

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