Foundation Principles for Quality Leaders

Principle:  A comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption (Merriam-Webster).

Variation. Individual and group capabilities in managing variation have always been the key to success at any age and in any aspect of life.

Assess your knowledge of variation?

Excellent quality.  The result of doing the right things, right.

  • Efficiency – doing things right.
  • Effectiveness – doing the right thing.

Responsibility. Within an organization, top management is responsible for quality because they are responsible for the design and execution of the systems. Systems determine the majority if not all in some cases, of the result.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    • How do “We”  describe more perfect or better?
    • What feedback do “We” need to assess progress?
    • What methods will “We” use to assess that change resulted in an improvement?

Reducing variation. The key to achieving excellent quality

  • Law of Variation – American Society for Quality
    • Everything and everyone varies – no two people or things are ever exactly alike. The closer things are to the optimum or ideal, the higher the quality and lower the costs (tangible and intangible).

Variation either gets better or it gets worse as defined by one or more individuals. (1)

  • Example: Health care is a human need that will never be perfectly met. Improvement that leads to greater access means fewer people go unserved.

ImprovementReducing variation from the ideal.

  • Standard:  Actions to improve a process and system result an outcome(s) where everyone affected by the change in the near, mid and long-term – benefits or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term. Everybody wins.
  • Ideal – Represents a standard of perfection that is uniquely defined, dynamic and can never be perfectly met.
    • Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” –
      Vince Lombardi
  • Continuous and Continual.
    • Continuous – uninterrupted in time; without a break – 24×7.
    • Continual – regular or frequent; with a break.
    • Example: I maintain my car on a continual basis and expect the travel system to be continuously improved.

Four interrelated areas that are common to any successful change.  Anyone that has successfully made and sustained a positive change has reduced variation. There are four interrelated areas that are an integral component of change.

  • Motivation – Desire for a change.
    • Extrinsic – driven by a reward or punishment.
    • Intrinsic –  do it for the love of it, feels right, fun, enjoyable, aligns with purpose
  • Action. All action is accomplished through a process in the context of a system.
    • Process – Transforms inputs into outputs that meet expected outcomes.
    • System – A system is a collection of processes with a common aim.
    • Aim. An ideal aim of a system is to meet a human need (s).
    • Example. A daily commute to work or school is accomplished through a process (habit) that is made possible by a transportation system. The aim of the system includes allowing for a safe, economical, convenient, and enjoyable trip. The system includes the needed infrastructure (roads, bridges), energy (gas, electric), technology (cars, planes, trains, bicycles) statutes and regulations, licensing, insurance, law enforcement, et.al.
  • Feedback
    • Variation either gets better (more needs being met) or it gets worse (the same or fewer needs are being met).
    • Quantitative – Numbers
    • Qualitative – Words
    • Example: In the case of commuting, quantitative would include time and expense. Qualitative would include your description of the experience regarding safety, road conditions, the behavior of other drivers, etc.
  • Learning – The Story
    • We often share our story with others of a change that was made with others that describe what was done, why, what was learned, the result, and maybe any surprises that were discovered along the way.

Application Frameworks

Context.  The broader perspective that supports the value of the change:

Systems of Profound Knowledge (SoPK). Dr. W Edwards Deming developed a comprehensive theory of management. that integrates four interrelated areas. These areas and the concept in a more common context (in parentheses) are identified below:

  • Psychology  (Motivation)
  • Appreciation for a system (Action)
    • 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.”
  • Knowledge of variation,  (Feedback)
  • Theory of knowledge (Learning)

The academic and business case that supports the foundation for the SoPK and Executive Decision Making was developed by Dr. Gregory H. Watson.

Notes:

Leading Change – “Critical Mass” of leaders required.  Deming estimated that the number of leaders needed to achieve critical mass could be calculated as the square root of the number of people in the organization. So a critical mass for a hundred person organization would be 10 people.

(1) The Taguchi Loss Function. The more a product deviates from the ideal (nominal, optimum), the higher the cost to society.

W. Edwards Deming: “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)

A Way Ahead – Local Farmers Market Controversies

 A Better Way to Deal with the Bloomington Farmers Market Controversy

By Timothy (Tim) J. Clark

Updated Oct 8, 2019.

The effects of the controversy involving the Bloomington Farmers Market (BFM) identify an opportunity to take a fresh look at the methods and strategies for how the community addresses challenging issues.

The methods applied so far to address the BFM situation have resulted in a reduction in market attendance from 40,000 to 16,000. They have also resulted in unflattering local and national attention, which attracted the interest of what is perceived to be far-right and far-left groups. These groups’ involvement contributed to the perceived need to shut down the market for two weeks. This shutdown had an adverse economic impact on almost all the vendors.

To help prevent actions that can lead to violence within a community, the Department of Homeland Security proposes applying a whole-of-society approach that would have to be supported at the local level of government.

The controversy does not appear to be ending anytime soon, so a better process is needed to resolve the BFM issue as well as any other problems that arise in the future. The development of an enhanced capability for problem resolution and decision making will have practical benefits within the community, Indiana, and the nation.

Inspiration for this better problem-solving approach can be found in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. system of government is designed to enable “We the People” to continually work together toward the ideal of “a more perfect Union.”   Working toward “a more perfect Union” requires continually improving the strategies and methods that will result in achieving outcomes where everyone benefits or at least is not any worse off in the long-term. This requires addressing a few questions, including:

  1. As a community, how do “We the People” describe and define “more perfect” — that is, what is the ideal?
  2. What feedback will need to be collected to assess progress in working toward the ideal in the near-, mid-, and long-term?
  3. What methods will be applied to assess whether the changes made to the system are resulting in improvement?

Indiana University (IU) could prove to be an important resource when addressing the first question, as it has gone through the process of defining its ideal. IU’s strategic plan identifies its ideal as being “one of the great research universities of the twenty-first century.” This vision includes “Engaging in the economic, social, civic, and cultural development of Indiana, the nation, and the world by building on the base of excellence in research and education.”

IU could also be a good resource when answering the second question. Its research strategy could be reviewed and assessed to get an idea of the types of feedback that could be collected and where to get it. This feedback would need to include qualitative and quantitative data.

Finally, Walter A. Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming have developed methods that should be used to determine whether changes are resulting in improvement for everyone. Shewhart developed methods that can be used to close the gap between the actual situation and the ideal. These improvement methods have been integrated within the International Organization for Standardization standards.

Deming developed a philosophy that supports Shewhart’s methods. Deming estimated in 1986 that it would be another 50 years (2036) until the new philosophy and methods were more commonly acknowledged in liberal education, science, and industry.

Reducing the gap between the current situation and the ideal requires the continual application of better methods for making changes that “We the People” will conclude result in systemic improvements. The controversy with the BFM provides an opportunity to experiment with the new philosophy and methods.

U.S. Grand Strategy – China

June 17, 2019, The National Interest,  America Must Prepare for the Coming Chinese Empire
Excerpts and comments from readers
Grand strategy is not about what we should do abroad. It is about what we should do abroad consistent with our economic and social condition at home.

Power is not only economic and military: it is moral. And I don’t mean humanitarian, as necessary as humanitarianism is for the American brand. But in this case, I mean something harder: the fidelity of our word in the minds of allies. And that predictability is gone.”

Unable to look ourselves in the mirror and see our flaws and limitations, we concentrated too much on our military, and invaded or intervened in one Muslim country after another in the 2000s and achieved nothing as a result.

Thus, the competition between the United States and China will coincide with a political-cultural crisis of the West against a resurgent East.

Yet, even at our worst, our political system is open and capable of change in the way that China, and that other great autocratic power, Russia, are not. A world in which the United States is the dominant power will be a more humane world of more personal freedoms than a world led by China.

In the end the competition between China and America, as it was between the US and USSR, is a competition between ideas and values. China cannot take America’s place because no matter how much material prosperity it brings, people will not value authoritarianism and oppression once they have enough materially. Hong Kong and Taiwan are models of the future not Beijing.

A divided America is in danger of collapse, cheered on by China. But a united America, confident in its values and strengths will certainly outlast and contain the Chinese dreams of empire, just as it did the Soviet one.

 

All criticisms of America aside (and, yes, there are plenty) it is ABSOLUTELY superior to China in one vital way. American democracy, for all its flaws, is better than ANY form of authoritarian rule. Chinese communism (or whatever China wants to call it) involves stripping the Chinese people of their basic human rights, their culture, and their individualism. WHY would China’s neighbors “trust” China when they can’t even govern according to the will of their own people?

In the end, we have two major schools of thought vying for the leading role in the world. One is a heavily-flawed democracy, and the other is an oppressive regime.

The next battle front is economic, and China is doing its best to prepare. However, China still has far too much dependency on US manufacturing to survive that battle. The longer China delays the battle, the better for China. Unfortunately for China, the US has fired the warning shot with the tariff “war”, and China is ill-prepared for the battle right now.

If China tries to fight the economic war today, it has already lost. If they agree to the primary concessions requested by the US , without giving up too much, they will live to fight another day. With another 10-15 years of expansion, China may be able to win the economic war.

The Chinese people deserve a better form of government. The American people deserve a better government. The difference is that America’s government is a flawed version of the better form of governance. China’s government is an efficient version of a flawed form of governance. Flawed democracy is better than perfect Communism every time.

 

 

“In No Uncertain Terms”

ASQ Quality Progress, May 2019 article: In No Uncertain Terms

Key Point: “When thinking about the terms “continual” and “continuous,” you could easily argue that a relative difference exists, as evidenced by the terms’ various definitions in Table 1. The main difference between the terms is time—in the definitions of “continual,” there are breaks in time. In the definitions of “continuous,” however, there aren’t.”

W. Edwards Deming is recognized as developing the new philosophy for quality management. The distinction between continual and continuous identified above aligns with his philosophy. Deming concluded that if he was to reduce his message to just a few words, it all has to do with reducing variation.

At an individual level, improvement is continual.  At a group or system level, the improvement must be continuous because quality either gets better or it gets worse.

The article also references ASQs definition of CQI, as stated by authors Jeffrey K. Liker and James K. Franz that included the statement: “In reality, continuous improvement is a vision, a dream, and no company in real life can possibly always get better.”  I disagree with this contention. The statement as to the impossibility of improvement supports the need for a broader philosophical context that is provided in ASQ’s description of variation:  What is Variation? – The Law of Variation | ASQ

” … The Law of Variation is defined as the difference between an ideal and an actual situation. ..

An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence defined by stakeholders, including direct customers, internal customers, suppliers, society, and shareholders. 

Though manufacturing groups and service providers strive for an ideal situation, they usually do not achieve this goal. Therefore, stakeholders almost always experience some variation from the perfect situations they envision. Reducing the variation stakeholders experience is the key to quality and continuous improvement.

A more common understanding of variation would provide a needed context for understanding the important distinction between continual and continuous.

In regards to travel, I commute to work via an automobile.  I want a transportation system that is safe, affordable, economical, does not harm the environment and is continuously being improved.

On an individual level, a continual improvement would include car maintenance and complying with traffic laws. Continuous improvement of the system (24×7, 365 days a year) requires the involvement of many people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Point: China’s Communist Dictatorship Targets American Creativity

Source: RealClearPolitics.com

On Point: China’s Communist Dictatorship Targets American Creativity

  • The Houston Chronicle said on the macroeconomic cost: “After a 2017 report that found intellectual-property theft by China costs the U.S. as much as $600 billion annually
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray called China ‘the broadest, most significant’ threat to the nation and said its espionage is active in all 50 states.”

 

 

 

CRISPR and WMD

May 2, 2019.  The search for the kryptonite that can stop CRISPR

Earlier in 2016, the US intelligence agencies had designated gene editing as a potential weapon of mass destruction. That September, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had jumped in, putting out a call for new ways to control or reverse the effects of gene-editing technology. The program, called Safe Genes, would end up with a budget of more than $65 million, making it one of the largest sources of cash for CRISPR research, aside from biotech startups developing new genetic treatments.

 

 

 

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.