Quality and Spirituality


Interesting post from a colleague on LinkedIn on the topic of Quality and Spirituality.

What Was Dr. Deming All About? Published on April 26, 2020, By Dave Nave, The Science & Artistry of Managing Well

My comment:  Dave Nave Thank you — Good topic and one that is rarely addressed. Deming’s work was “all about” reducing variation which is the foundation for his work and motivation inspired by his religious faith. He used the term “metanoia” to describe the needed transformation. Metanoia -” a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion.” (See also the definition of born-again).

Deming indirectly linked the quality philosophy with biblical philosophy which introduces a “New Philosophy” or paradigm. Biblical philosophy identifies that God is perfect and man is imperfect but expected to improve.

Deming remarked that if he was to reduce his message to just a few words, it “all has to do with reducing variation.” e.g. reducing imperfection. Variation is a difference between the ideal (all human needs met) and the actual (imperfection).

Variation either gets better (more needs met) or it gets worse – cost (tangible and intangible), associated with needs not being met). Thus making the continual and continuous reduction of variation a moral imperative. Deming did not provide a definition of variation that provides the context for his work. I believe this was a deliberate decision and a challenge.

In summary, Deming was successful in developing and validating the proof of concept for a New Philosophy that may be added one day alongside the works of the other great philosophers in history.

I would end my comments with the question – How can Deming advocates be more successful in leading the transformation to the better philosophy and methods?

A suggestion for Foundation Principes for Quality Leaders.

Addition Information

Deming and references to his beliefs in Christianity.

  • Metanoia and Transformation II – Norman Todd , The Way, 52/2 (April 2013),
    • …  when I read the first edition of Deming’s book The New
      Economics, I found a short section that described a fundamental change
      of mind-set on which all subsequent organizational transformation
      depended. The section was headed ‘Metanoia’. In later editions it is
      retitled ‘The First Step’.
    • People who knew Dr Deming well have assured me that he was a
      sincere, practising Christian who played the organ in church and
      composed sacred music. But when I asked at his seminar if he
      had applied his teaching to the organization of the Church,
      he looked puzzled and said he had not.
    • If it is the particular newness of Deming’s First Step that is important
      there may be some parallel with the particular change of mindset
      (metanoia) requiring that everything from birth to death become new in
      the Kingdom of God. Without continuing metanoia the newness is lost
      and the old ways are resumed.

      • In the book of Revelation, in the letter to the angel of the church
        in Ephesus, the Spirit says, ” But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent and
        do the works you did at first. “(Revelation 2:4–5)
    • We must embrace the radical newness of life in Christ enjoyed by the
      apostolic Church, and follow the instruction of the angel of the Lord
      to the disciples when releasing them from prison in Acts 5:20.
      Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message
      about this life.

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