the Illusion of Management

The Illusion of Management is a term I initially coined to describe regression towards the mean and the subsequent political grandstanding by “savvy” managers. As a data enthusiast I found myself constantly amazed observing managers taking credit for regression towards the mean with no fundamental change to the process generating the results.

I illustrate this point below with an actual quote:

“Scrap improved because I have been emphasizing quality in the weekly safety meetings”- Anonymous Plant Manager

Best case I find these scenarios annoying and an impediment to real continuous improvement efforts, while worst case ensuring over confident managers with little to no knowledge of causal relationships are rising to the top of American institutions.

In this blog we will explore this and other concepts to help the fellow “Enlightened” enjoy some laughs and blow off steam!



The Illusion of Management is a blog dedicated to observations from the corporate world and everyday life. Typically, they are associated with chasing “noise” or random variation, proclaiming regression towards the mean as victory when politically convenient, and over reactions to daily metrics.

The Illusion of Management will revisit several key points:

  1. If you don’t change the process results will vary based on “noise”
  2. Unintended consequences of metrics and performance incentives
  3. Measuring productivity alone does not drive productivity improvement. Measurement must drive action!
  4. Black Swans! Enough said.
  5. Challenging conventional wisdom

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