Maxims of Management, A to Z

Excerpted from Management? It’s NOT What You THINK! by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel. Read the full list at

Acheson’s Rule of the Bureaucracy: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.

Berra’s Law: You can observe a lot just by watching.

Dave’s Law of Advice: Those with the best advice offer no advice.

Dow’s Law: In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.

Epstein’s Law: If you think the problem is bad now, just wait until we’ve solved it.

Grossman’s Misquote: Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

Hendrickson’s Law: If a problem causes many meetings, the meetings eventually become more important than the problem.

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Kettering’s Laws: If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it.

Maugham’s Thought: Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

McGovern’s Law: The longer the title, the less important the job.

Parkinson’s First Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Peter Principle: In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an employee incompetent to execute its duties.

Wolf ’s Law (An Optimistic View of a Pessimistic World): It isn’t that things will necessarily go wrong (Murphy’s Law), but rather that they will take so much more time and effort than you think if they are not to go wrong.

Zimmerman’s Law of Complaints: Nobody notices when things go right.

Zusmann’s Rule: A successful symposium depends on the ratio of meeting to eating.

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 16, 2021
     Category: Business

Many of these management "laws" remind me of the Demotivators motivational posters that have been produced by the Despair dot com folks since 1998.
Posted by Fritz on 07/16/21 at 08:42 AM
I seem to remember a law postulated by an R. Heinlein character "Lazarus Long" quoted as: "A committee is the only form of life known with a hundred bellies and no brains."
Posted by KDP on 07/16/21 at 10:24 AM
Eptein's Law made me laugh mainly because I read it as "Epstein's Law", and as we know, Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself. Or did he?
Posted by Yudith on 07/17/21 at 06:05 AM

Rules for posting: 1) No spam. 2) Don't be a jerk.