U.S. National Quality Strategy – Notes

The elements of national power include Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic (DIME).

We have a national security strategywe do not have a nonpartisan National Quality Strategy (NQS) that is needed to optimize all elements of national power.  The annual State of the Union address could include an assessment that has evolved as a partisan concept and is perceived as such.

National Quality Strategy  It’s all about reducing variation from the ideal.

Assessments … A Start

The U.S. lacks a shared method and understanding for assessing the performance of our systems and determining when a change results in an improvement.  The aim for the U.S. political system is for “We the People” to form “a more perfect Union” through improvements in policies, laws, and regulations.

Systems determine results.  Improvement requires an assessment of the system.  Within communities, industries and organizations, the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence is a proven and systemic approach for improvement.  Criteria exist for profits and non-profit organizations, health care, education, and communities.  The estimated return on investment from the Baldrige Program on the U.S. Economy has been estimated at 820 to 1.

  • How can the criteria be applied to assess the performance of the U.S. political system?

 

Improving the Economic System

U.S. National Security Strategy.

U.S. National Defense Strategy. Oct 2018.  The National Defense Strategy (or NDS) is produced by the United States Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is signed by the United States Secretary of Defense as the United States Department of Defense’s (DoD) capstone strategic guidance.

U.S. National Military Strategy 2015 The National Military Strategy is issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a deliverable to the Secretary of Defense briefly outlining the strategic aims of the armed services. The NMS’s chief source of guidance is the National Security Strategy document.

 

 

 

 

 

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Support for the Baldrige Framework – National Quality Strategy

I was an early advocate for the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence.   The criteria introduced in 1987 and the first Award was issued in 1988.

The Baldrige Framework would be an integral component of a citizen-owned National Quality Strategy (NQS).  Another critical component would be a shared understanding and knowledge of the variation principle developed by Walter Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming.  Their concept is supported by the American Society for Quality – Law of Variation.

As a guest columnist for FedSmith.com, I wrote several articles that supported the application of the Baldrige framework.  My last column on the topic was referenced in a Blogrige Post titled:  Would the Founding Fathers Have Embraced Baldrige?

Successful application of the criteria has shown that it produces significant, quantifiable, and measured return on investment.  “Those returns are measured in greater efficiency, less waste, more jobs created, increased customer and employee satisfaction, and economic growth. Studies in health care and education have demonstrated that Baldrige-based organizations significantly outperform their non-Baldrige peer organizations in virtually all critical measurements.”

A system determines the majority of results and Baldrige represents a systems approach to improvement.

1990.  Xerox was a Baldrige winner in 1989 and was invited to my agency – the U.S. Army Finance and Accounting Center (USAFAC) to educate us on the criteria.  The intent of the invite was to generate ideas to support our Total Quality Mangement (TQM) initiative.

  • The U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command adopted the criteria to support continuous improvement in installation management. Army installations are the equivalent of small towns.  The program is referred to as the Army Communities of Excellence.

The American Society for Quality provides administrative support for the program. I became an ASQ member in 1991, joined the Public Sector Network (PSN) and served as a regional counselor.  PSN became the Government Division and the Division supported the development of criteria for the Nonprofit (government) category.

1991-1999.   I served in USAFACs/DFAS TQM Office. My instructor notes for the agency’s TQM related courses provided the foundation for my book – Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement that was published by ASQ in 1999 that includes reference to the Baldrige criteria (pg. 64).

  • The first book review – Government Executive Magazine: “DoD accountant offers quality guide.”“It should come as little surprise that such a clear voice on quality calls out from the federal bureaucracy. Clark follows in the steps of W. Edwards Deming, the world-renowned quality theorist who helped the Japanese become a world-class industrial power in the second half of this century. Deming began his career as a physicist at the Agriculture Department.”

2001/2002.  USAFAC was reorganized and consolidated into the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in 1991. The agency chose to test an independent Baldrige assessment of current operations at one of the best performing locations.  The assessment scored under 250 points out of a 1,000 which is typical for a traditionally managed organization. The feedback from the assessment was highly valued by the site director but the agency director determined the agency was not ready to embrace the framework.

2011-2016.  Guest columnist for FedSmith.com —  I wrote several articles that supported the application of the Baldrige framework – my last article references in a Blogrige Post:  Would the Founding Fathers Have Embraced Baldrige?  Articles at FedSmith.com:

2014-Present. I continue to promote the application of the criteria at the community level.

 

 

Quality Defined in Context

In simple yet profound terms, variation represents the difference between an ideal and an actual situation.

An ideal represents a standard of perfection—the highest standard of excellence[1]—that is uniquely defined by stakeholders, including direct customers, internal customers, suppliers, society and shareholders.

Excellence is synonymous with quality, and excellent quality results from doing the right things, in the right way.

The fact that we can strive for an ideal but never achieve it means that stakeholders always experience some variation from the perfect situations they envision. This, however, also makes improvement and progress possible. Reducing the variation stakeholders experience is the key to quality and continuous improvement.

References

An ASQ LinkedIn discussion on the topic of the definition of quality

ASQ Glossary – Law of Variation — 2005 – 2018~.  Identifies the interrelationship between variation, perfection, quality, and excellence. What is the Law of Variation_ Managing Variation _ ASQ

ASQ Glossary Law of Variation – Updated  2018~ NEW What is Variation

Misc Articles and Notes

Guest Column: Indpls Star – Faith and values section

October 7, 2018.  Sunday Edition Indianapolis Star – Faith and values:  Guest Column: “People working together can make a more perfect union”

PDF Version Indianapolis_Star_20181007_A008_2 More Perfect Union

People working together can make a more perfect union

Your Turn

Tim J. Clark Guest columnist

Addressing the spiritual, economic and social challenges of our times may be as simple as recognizing that, although we may share a common desire for improvement, we have different ideas on the changes that need to be made to bring about that improvement.

But how do you determine when a change results in an improvement?

Faith-inspired philosophies, such as Christianity, can help answer this question. These philosophies acknowledge that human beings will always be imperfect but can improve by leveraging the potential of the human spirit. Changes motivated by love, compassion and the application of better methods can result in outcomes where everyone can benefit or at least not be any worse off in the long-term.

Philosophies that also align with the aim of the U.S. Constitution can provide a frame of reference for determining when a change results in an improvement. The aim of the American system of government is to enable “We the People” to work together to make progress – not toward a “perfect” union, which would be impossible – but rather toward a “more perfect” union.

The Founding Fathers of the United States provided us with the Bill of Rights, so that we may work toward a more perfect or better union. What the founders left up to future generations was to develop and apply better methods for determining when a change results in an improvement.

Walter Shewhart discovered one of those methods – the variation principle – in 1924. This principle is rooted in the fact that actions are accomplished through a process and everything involved in a process or system varies, including people. The type of variation (common cause or special cause) in a process or system helps identify the type of action needed to improve it. Continuous improvement by reducing variation results in better quality and less imperfection.

W. Edwards Deming, a student and colleague of Shewhart, developed methods that support the application of Shewhart’s variation principle to improve the quality of products and services. Deming’s contributions were recognized by Fortune magazine as being among the 20 that have shaped the modern world of business and by U.S. News and World Report as one of nine turning points in history.

The top turning point was identified as “The Apostle Paul, whose preaching and eloquent writings led to mass acceptance of Christianity.”

Deming once said that if he was to reduce his message to just a few words, it all had to do with individuals working together to make things more perfect by reducing variation.

I had the opportunity to attend a four-day seminar conducted by Deming in the late 1980s. Since then, I’ve successfully applied his methods to many areas of my life, including personal, family, community and career. For example, I had the opportunity to apply them while supporting the development of military and national defense related strategies. In 1986, Deming, estimated that it would take another 50 years before awareness of Shewhart’s contributions were more commonly known.

I hope that in some small way I have at least raised awareness of a new method that can be applied to leverage the potential of the human spirit that supports progress toward a more perfect community and union.

Tim J. Clark is a senior member of the American Society for Quality, past chairman of the Indianapolis Section and an exponent of an improved standard for quality leadership that supplements faith-based philosophies with the scientific method.

Global Leadership – Cold War 2.0?

All of our bets on China have been wrong  Asia Times, DECEMBER 21, 2018 4:06 PM (UTC+8)

…  today’s Cold War 2.0 is typified by what author James Mann calls the West’s “China fantasy,” a notion encapsulated by former US president George W Bush’s remark: “Trade freely with China, and time is on our side.”

But in a broader sense, China has not conformed to the expected Western script. In spite of integrating itself into the global economy under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Beijing has not internalized liberal rule-based norms implicit in these organizations.

In fact, under President Xi, the Communist Party’s political strength and “purity” have become an end in itself, to which economic reforms have become subordinate (“purity” being a term with strong Leninist connotations).

“China is co-opting institutions such as the UN and the WTO to make them safe for authoritarianism, state-backed capitalism and other threats to a rules-based order.”

Looking Back on the Last 40 Years of Reforms in China, Ray Dalio, Jan 3, 2019.

  • This is not your father’s communism. It is “socialism with Chinese characteristics” that has been significantly and very effectively reformed, which has made it much more vital, creative, and economically free.
  • …on the path to being the most powerful one.  I believe that excellent performance was largely the result of China’s powerful culture and its reforms.
  • … Most fundamentally, the US is a country in which individuals, individualism, and individual property rights are perceived to be of paramount importance it is directed from the bottom up
  • Chinese leadership seeks to run the country the way they believe a good family should be run, from the top down, maintaining high standards of behavior, putting the collective interest ahead of any individual interest, with each member knowing their place and having filial respect for those in the hierarchy so the system works in an orderly way.
  • I’m not saying which system is better. Each culture/system has its pros and cons that I’m not going to get into now.
  •  … we would do well to learn from each other, cooperate and compete to bring each other up rather than to tear each other down, and 7) China is a place we need to continue to evolve with and invest in.

A more perfect union through better methods

October 7, 2018.  Sunday Edition – Faith and values:  Guest Column: “People working together can make a more perfect union”

PDF Version Indianapolis_Star_20181007_A008_2 More Perfect Union

Your Turn

Tim J. Clark Guest columnist

Addressing the spiritual, economic and social challenges of our times may be as simple as recognizing that, although we may share a common desire for improvement, we have different ideas on the changes that need to be made to bring about that improvement.

But how do you determine when a change results in an improvement?

Faith-inspired philosophies, such as Christianity, can help answer this question. These philosophies acknowledge that human beings will always be imperfect but can improve by leveraging the potential of the human spirit. Changes motivated by love, compassion and the application of better methods can result in outcomes where everyone can benefit or at least not be any worse off in the long-term.

Philosophies that also align with the aim of the U.S. Constitution can provide a frame of reference for determining when a change results in an improvement. The aim of the American system of government is to enable “We the People” to work together to make progress – not toward a “perfect” union, which would be impossible – but rather toward a “more perfect” union.

The Founding Fathers of the United States provided us with the Bill of Rights, so that we may work toward a more perfect or better union. What the founders left up to future generations was to develop and apply better methods for determining when a change results in an improvement.

Walter Shewhart discovered one of those methods – the variation principle – in 1924. This principle is rooted in the fact that actions are accomplished through a process and everything involved in a process or system varies, including people. The type of variation (common cause or special cause) in a process or system helps identify the type of action needed to improve it. Continuous improvement by reducing variation results in better quality and less imperfection.

W. Edwards Deming, a student and colleague of Shewhart, developed methods that support the application of Shewhart’s variation principle to improve the quality of products and services. Deming’s contributions were recognized by Fortune magazine as being among the 20 that have shaped the modern world of business and by U.S. News and World Report as one of nine turning points in history.

The top turning point was identified as “The Apostle Paul, whose preaching and eloquent writings led to mass acceptance of Christianity.”

Deming once said that if he was to reduce his message to just a few words, it all had to do with individuals working together to make things more perfect by reducing variation.

I had the opportunity to attend a four-day seminar conducted by Deming in the late 1980s. Since then, I’ve successfully applied his methods to many areas of my life, including personal, family, community and career. For example, I had the opportunity to apply them while supporting the development of military and national defense related strategies. In 1986, Deming, estimated that it would take another 50 years before awareness of Shewhart’s contributions were more commonly known.

I hope that in some small way I have at least raised awareness of a new method that can be applied to leverage the potential of the human spirit that supports progress toward a more perfect community and union.

Tim J. Clark is a senior member of the American Society for Quality, past chairman of the Indianapolis Section and an exponent of an improved standard for quality leadership that supplements faith-based philosophies with the scientific method.