This one ranks up there with Freakonomics. It's that good.
Phil Rosenzweig's article, "Misunderstanding the Nature of Company Performance: The Halo Effect and Other Business Delusions", details why management is NOT an exact science and there is no formula or blueprint for success despite what you might have learned in the management aisle of Barnes and Noble.
More than just a debunker of wildly popular management tomes, the author also offers his own lessons.
For example, "Wise managers must therefore shift away from the search for blueprints and formulas, and instead think of the business world in terms of probabilities. Strategic leadership is about making choices, under uncertainty, that have the best chance to raise the probabilities of success, while never imagining that success can be predictably achieved."
This lesson resonates strongly with me and should be familiar to anyone who has participated in one of my CustomerCentric Selling® workshops. These folks have heard me over and over again instruct that implementing a sales process that enhances the customer experience, aligns well with your marketing message, and guides sellers through opportunities is NOT a silver bullet or magic formula.
Instead, if it is followed/coached/reinforced, it will help ratchet up the probability of success. And as Rosenzweig suggests, isn't that really all you can ask for?