Quality Leader Frame of Reference

A leader’s frame of reference includes the ability to perceive and incorporate new information, relationships, and possibilities. (1)

W. Edwards Deming identified four components that are common to any successful change initiative that he referred to as a System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK).  The SoPK is the foundation of a Quality Leaders frame of reference.

Anyone or any group that has made a positive change (at any time in history) has applied the SoPK using different terms. Helping people transition to a Deming based framework is the “What’s new?” that would support transformation to the world that works for almost everyone.

The SoPK: Common sense that is not so common – yet.

PSYCHOLOGY. People are motivated to take action to achieve a need and want.  Actions are influenced by facts, perceptions, and expectations that are shaped by a respective culture.  The two types of motivation are extrinsic and intrinsic.

SYSTEMS.  An action is accomplished through a process in the context of a system.

Commuting to work through the use of a car is accomplished through a process that is only possible because of an existing transportation system.  The “system” can include millions of people and trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructure. The system determines the majority of the result.

KNOWLEDGE. Individual action is guided by a stated or implied theory. Knowledge is acquired through actions guided by the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, which Deming referred to as the Shewhart Cycle for Learning and Development.

IF I continue to do this, e.g., follow your commuting process, THEN I predict that I will usually get the expected results.  IF you want to reduce the cost, time, and the environmental impact of your commute, THEN you need to make a change which implies a prediction that change will result in the expected improvement.

“There is no substitute for knowledge. There is no knowledge without prediction and theory. “ — WED

VARIATION. Feedback.  Objective and subjective information is always used to assess results.  Walter Shewhart developed the new paradigm for managing the variation in feedback.

Variation: Description and Terms

“Little v”  (variation) is using a trend/Shewhart chart along with interpretation standards to help determine if change resulted in improvement.  Test your knowledge.

“Big V ” (variation) is taking action that results in a situation where everyone wins or at least, are not any worse off.  This is a common aim identified in many religious and philosophical doctrines.

Humanity is affected by systems that are created by humans. In working to reduce variation from the ideal, it might help if WE all shared a common language for determining if and when changes result in improvement. In his book “When Jesus Came to Harvard, Making Moral Choices Today”, Harvey Cox made the following observation regarding moral choices:

…. there has been an emerging convergence of the two ways of thinking that includes the consequences of action and inaction.  We can now do great evil without intending to. What we need today is more awareness, a wider recognition of how vast systems we are caught up in can do terrible things and how we can contribute to evil without even being conscious of it.”

Deming reinforced that transformation to the better methods was everyone’s job.  He further offered the definition of transformation as meaning a “change of form, shape or appearance.” He thought the term metanoia may be more suitable and defined it as “penitence, repentance, reorientation of one’s way of life, spiritual conversion.”

Additional Information: Frame of Reference.

(1) Strategic Leadership Primer, 3rd Edition, Department of Command, Leadership, and Management, United States Army War College, pgs 23, 28.

(2) National Defense University, Strategic Leadership and Decision Making Part Two, The Strategic Leader as an Individual, Chapter 7, Developing Strategic  Leaders.

Supporting articles:

(3) The Deming Paradigm for Reducing Variation: Unknown by Most, Misunderstood by Many, Relevant to All.

(4) Transformed leadership starts with a transformed individual

(5) Putting Demings’s principles into action to transform individuals, communities and organizations




LinkedIn Post Reply: A New Theory For Transforming Society

A New Theory for Transforming Society by Jim Rough : In 1993 I had a mind-blowing insight about how to transform our society so we could solve many of our most intractable issues. Since that moment I’ve been explaining, experimenting and developing the idea —published a book about it (“Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People“);” hosted a TV show; co-founded a non profit organization (The Center for Wise Democracy); convened conferences, gave talks, etc.  Recently on Skype I was getting reacquainted with an old friend, Jim Wanless, and wow. Jim’s questions brought out a whole new way of explaining the idea. (See the informal, edited, 23 minute video.)

Jim – great concept – enjoyed the video. I think an additional component that would enhance the transformation strategy is integrating a more explicit knowledge and application of the variation principle. This principle creates a new standard for Quality Leadership that “We the People” can apply in working towards a more- perfect union.  A summary of the variation principle applied to a “controversial issue” such as abortion is available at the following link.  I think your dynamic facilitation  concept  aligned with the explicit aim to reduce variation would help reinforce a better way of making the types of changes that to improvements that can be sustained.

Resolving Controversial Issues – Abortion Issue:

On major change, the first step in Kotter’s 8 stage process for leading change is to start with a sense of urgency. As you mentioned, a “crisis” can provide the extrinsic motivation to bring about needed change.  However, sustaining a quality approach requires people to be more intrinsically motivated which is supported by the fact that variation either gets better or it gets worse.

Thoughts?  If interested in discussing further, you can also contact me at  tjclark2036@gmail.com.

Project Smith and the 2016 Elections: A New Political Revolution?

Feb 17, 2019.  Pat Caddell: The Pollster Who Foresaw and Helped Shape Trump’s Victory By February 17, 2019 7:35 PM

June 5, 2016. Veteran Pollster and political strategist Patrick Caddell announced the findings from a national research project (“Project Smith”) in February of 2014 that indicated that the current political system was not capable of meeting the expectations of the voters.  A chronology of Project Smith related articles is provided below.

Caddell believes that Project Smith survey findings along with the 2016 presidential election polling and primary results reinforce his belief that the 2016 presidential race represents a new paradigm – a revolution.

From a Quality Leadership perspective, a paradigm can represent a recurring and predictable set of behaviors, e.g., a stable system.  A shift in a paradigm indicates a special cause, e.g.,  that something usual or outside the norm is occurring.  A special cause can be temporary, or it can indicate a shift in the system that will result in a “new normal”.

I  certainly agree that a shift to an improved system is needed. A summary of how the quality philosophy can be applied to improve the system of government is available in my article: Halftime in America, Part 3.

Project Smith: Chronology of Articles 

July 4,  2014, Huffington Post:  “It’s Candidate Smith by a Landslide”,  the American people are being summoned to reclaim that first Revolution

Dec 17, 2015, Breitbart:  Pat Caddell: Country Closer to Revolution  Than EverVeteran pollster Pat Caddell says he agrees with the premise that America today is closer to another revolution than at any time in recent history, adding, “The strength of this country comes from its people and it has a political system that is run, now, to the exclusion of its people …  you have three quarters of the American people saying the government in Washington does not rule with the consent of the governed.”

February 3, 2016, Breitbart: The Smith Project: What Voters Want.  Veteran pollster Pat Caddell’s Armada group has spent the past several years charting the alienation of the American electorate, constructing a fascinating model of what most Americans desire in the ideal political candidate – the great statesman, or stateswoman, voters want for our time.

February 4, 2016,  Huffington Post: What Happened in Iowa? “Is it a revolt?” asked Louis XVI upon being informed of the storming of the Bastille. “No, sire,” sighed his minister “I fear it is a revolution.”

March 11, 2016, Breitbart: Pat Caddell: The American People Have Figured Out They’ve Been Screwed’ by Free Trade. …  “I am telling you, we’re in a new paradigm. This is a revolutionary moment,” he said, describing it as a “historical moment of evolution in our political process” whose outcome could not yet be predicted… especially by politicians and poll-addicted pundits who have misunderstood the Trump-Sanders moment thus far.  

May 4, 2016, Breitbart: Pat Caddell on Trump Victory: Voters led a Hostile Takeover of GOP. “Caddell said voters in the Republican primary have “overturned what they do not like, for a new paradigm.”

June 5, 2016, RealClearPolitics.com: Why a Real Independent Candidate is Urgently Needed By Greg Orman and Patrick H. Caddell  Grassroots Americans are challenging the competence, legitimacy, and performance of its governing elite. What we need is a new, real independent candidacy that offers a path apart from the establishment Democratic and Republican parties – a movement that can both represent the rightful discontent of the electorate while offering a new common-sense agenda for uniting our country, reinvigorating the promise of America, and revitalizing the efficacy and competence of our government. This is the only realistic way to break the gridlock in Washington. 

The BIG Short and The Next Financial System Collapse?

The movie, The Big Short adapted from the non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, helps explain the 2008 financial system collapse.

The story reinforces how an individual, Michael Burry can assess the performance of a system, identify weaknesses and opportunities for improvement, benefit from the knowledge and also help raise awareness of the need for systemic change.  It also reinforces that needed improvements to a system have to be supported by “top management”.

Policies identify the aim of “the system” and the system determines 85-100% of the result. In other words, Burry concluded that Federal policies on mortgages and their derivatives that were leveraged and exploited by the banking and investment industry were leading to results that would lead to a financial collapse.  Burry took action that raised awareness on what he believed to be weaknesses in the system by working with the investment bankers to develop a “new product” that he could then buy and use to short the market.  Burry’s observation seemed obvious in hindsight but was oblivious to almost all stakeholders at the time.

Despite the devastation that the collapse of the financial system had on individuals as well as within the country and on global markets, Burry concludes that the needed improvements have yet to be made thus setting the conditions for further catastrophe. Reflections on the Big Short – Interview with Michael Burry – Thinks another financial crisis is looming. 

Author Michael Lewis limited the scope of the Big Short to that of the individuals that worked “in the system”. Lewis’s niche is discovering unique characters such as Michael Burry that take “on the system” and win big.

Criticisms of the book included the fact that the handful of individuals in government, rating companies, and the Federal Reserve were not signaled out for their failures in not “preventing and fixing” the weaknesses in the system that led to the crash and a bailout by the US taxpayers.   The winners were perceived to be the “elites” in the financial and political areas and the “losers” were the investors and U.S. taxpayers.

A Way Ahead

The financial system is interrelated with the political system.  Practical fixes through application of a new model for  Quality Leadership in the political system would also lead to needed repairs in the financial systems.