New Book: The Symphony of Profound Knowledge
Just ordered the book – The Symphony of Profound Knowledge, through Amazon. The book was developed by a Deming colleague in partnership with Aileron.
I’ve read and studied dozens of books written by individuals that worked with Deming. I have yet to read one where the authors attempted to identify the paradigm that led to Deming’s insights and contributions.
The most impressive comment that I heard first hand from a well known and respected student and colleague of Deming was that he never quite understood Deming’s concept for the system of profound knowledge. Rare for someone as accomplished as he is to admit what he did not know.
It will be interesting to read how and if the author – Ed Baker, offers and explanation of why Deming concluded that improvement is all about reducing variation.
The school choice options are less varied in rural areas. Declining tax base, travel time, and lack of broadband pose unique challenges.
Seems like an ambitious projection until you think of how fast the unmanned vehicle technology has progressed.
DARPA sponsored their Grand Challenge in 2004 that required a vehicle to autonomously navigate a 142-mile course. None of the 15 vehicles made it to the finish line. In 2005, five (5) vehicles completed a 132-mile course.
Throughout my federal career, I had the opportunity to work with and support many presidentially inspired “change initiatives,” with the expectation that change would result in what citizens would conclude is an improvement.
The past initiatives include zero-based budgeting, quality circles, total quality management, Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA), Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, Corporate Information Management, Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), business process reengineering, reinventing government, Six Sigma, and Lean.
Many of these programs have faded away. The initiatives supported by law (such as GPRA and FMFIA) are still on the books, but they certainly have not achieved their aims. Only the Baldrige program has successfully stayed the course since its inception in 1987.
I’m guardedly optimistic that government reform and improvement under the Trump Administration may have more success in bringing about and sustaining needed improvement.
Newt Gingrich and the Trump Administration
In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, voters voiced their demand for change. Veteran pollster and political strategist Patrick Caddell noted that this race represents another American revolution.
Trump supporters demand revolutionary change. Trump opponents are awaiting evidence that the new administration can make changes in one area without making things worse in others.
Success in achieving real improvement in a political climate that has been described as divisive and polarizing requires new approaches. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House and advisor to President-elect Donald Trump, might be able to provide them.
“I said I want to be the senior planner for the entire federal government, and I want a letter from you that says Newt Gingrich is authorized to go to any program in any department, examine it and report directly to the president.”
In a follow-up question on the involvement of Gingrich, President-elect Trump stated that “Gingrich is going to be involved in our government.” However, The Washington Post reported that Gingrich intends to focus on “strategic planning” rather than run a federal department. Gingrich remarked:
“I want to be free to network across the whole system and look at what we have to do to succeed.”
During his run for president in 2012, Gingrich signed a pledge to adopt Lean Six Sigma in government if elected. By signing the pledge, he promised to:
“eliminate spending deficits and start paying down the national debt by 2017 by deploying Lean Six Sigma waste reduction methods to detect and eliminate 25 percent of spending per year across the federal government.”
As I mentioned in a previous article at FedSmith.com, “Individual and System Performance – Pass or Fail?”, Lean Six Sigma methods and tools can improve efficiency. However, they are not sufficient to bring about the federal-level changes that are needed to positively impact the entire nation. A new quality paradigm is needed.
The New Quality Paradigm
From 1991-1993, Gingrich was a student of the world-renowned quality expert W. Edwards Deming. Deming’s contributions were recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nine turning points in world history and by FORTUNE Magazine as among the greatest contributions in business history. Dr. Deming was also nominated for a Nobel Prize in Economics.
Gingrich met with Deming for about 60 hours over a three-year period to learn how Deming’s principles could be applied to support a quality transformation in America. Gingrich integrated what he learned from Deming in the sixth class (“Pillar Five, Quality as Defined by Deming”) of a 10-session college course titled “Renewing American Civilization.”
Excerpts from that college course have been compiled into the book Readings in Renewing American Civilization (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993). On page 107, Gingrich defines “The New Quality Paradigm” as follows:
“What Deming offers is the beginning of a new paradigm and a framework for management within it.
His aim is to improve the quality of life and economic situation of all. Some may quibble with the aim, but there are no viable alternatives. Because of interdependencies, everyone will eventually lose unless all can win.
Furthermore, ensuring that everyone wins is not a matter of taking from the rich to give to the poor, i.e., redistributing the outcomes of the process. Rather, it is of working on today’s process so that everyone can get better results tomorrow.
The job is to improve the ability of each and every individual and organization to create value for themselves and for the society that nurtures them.”
New Standard for Quality Leadership
Successful application of “The New Quality Paradigm” requires the application of a new standard for quality leadership derived from the contributions of Walter A. Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming.
Deming concluded that working to achieve optimal levels of performance is all about reducing variation from the ideal. Deming also reinforced that the failure to understand variation results in situations where the majority of not all in some cases, of changes, result in no improvement. This observation was certainly validated by my experiences with change within the government.
During the final years of my career (2011-2014), I wrote a series of articles in FedSmith.com on the need for change and how better methods could be applied to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of the political system and the administration of its policies, laws, and regulations.
A Way Ahead
The U.S. political system was designed to be continually improved through changes that result in “a more perfect union.” As Gingrich so eloquently expressed, a new paradigm is needed to achieve the types of results where everyone gains or is, at least, not any worse off. This requires the application of a new standard of quality leadership. Leading this transformation in a political climate that is divisive and polarizing has to be considered one of the ultimate challenges—but it is a challenge that the American people will expect to be met.
The mid-term elections in 2018 will provide citizens with the opportunity to provide feedback on the direction and to determine if they are any better off in 2018 than they were in 2016.
In music or art, a crossover artist is an individual that is successful in a “genre other than the one in which they achieved their initial success.”
Two articles in the American Society for Quality’s (ASQ) November 2016 issue of Quality Progress (QP) reinforce the opportunity to recognize the need for greater crossover from the non-science and business management disciplines. This crossover can be supported by embracing the broader concepts and strategies needed to support ASQ’s vision of being the global voice of quality.
In their excellent article, Understanding Variation, Nolan, Perla and Provost reinforce the need for the understanding of variation from a statistical frame of reference that is of benefit to almost everyone. The article also includes the quote from W. Edwards Deming that “Another half-century may pass before the full spectrum of Dr. Shewhart’s contributions has been revealed in liberal education, science, and industry.”
“A liberal education is a system or course of education suitable for the cultivation of a free (Latin: liber) human being. It is based on the medieval concept of the liberal arts or, more commonly now, the liberalism of the Age of Enlightenment.” (Wikipedia).
In addition to the sciences, liberal arts can also be defined as including … philosophy, history, literature, music, art, and other so-called “humanities.” (greatideas.org)
In the same issue of QP, the article by QP Staff “Fresh Faces: A new generation of quality leaders,” reinforces the underrepresentation of the “humanities” in academic disciplines and career pursuits.
I’m an exponent of a “”New Standard for Quality Leadership” that is derived from the contributions of Walter Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming. This new standard and supporting paradigm requires the application of a broader understanding of variation. The more comprehensive description – “What is the law of variation?” is available on ASQs website.
The so what? The current state of quality represents the modern day equivalent of the belief that the earth is flat.
The better paradigm can be immediately applied to improve quality in any aspect of life and at any level. Evidence of the shift to the new paradigm will include outcomes that can only be brought about when …” the full spectrum of Dr. Shewhart’s contributions has been revealed in liberal education, science, and industry.”
How the Baldrige Framework Is Helping Rural U.S. Communities
Posted on September 6, 2016, by Christine Schaefer
In preparing to share here how the Baldrige Excellence Framework is being used to support community vitality in a rural region of Missouri, I’ve been thinking of how quintessentially American the Communities of Excellence 2026 (COE 2026) initiative is. In particular, it strikes me that what’s happening in northwest Missouri exemplifies an idealistic, innovation-minded spirit that has been present in American communities for centuries—likely reenergized by the continual infusion of immigrants seeking a better life than what they experienced in their countries of origin. Consider the prescient words of John Winthrop, the 17th-century founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to his Pilgrim community: “We must consider that we shall be a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people upon us.”
Update on Communities of Excellence 2026
Posted on March 31, 2016, by Christine Schaefer
What’s the latest on the initiative launched last year to create “an archipelago” of high-performing communities in the United States using a framework based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence? I recently asked Stephanie Norling, managing director of Communities of Excellence 2026, for an update.
Preserving the ‘genius’ of the Constitution by David Keene – The Washington Times – Monday, September 12, 2016
The success of the American Republic is directly traceable to the wisdom and work of the 55 men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft a constitution designed not so much to empower government, but to limit that power. Forrest McDonald,...
The U.S. Constitution was designed on four components of change that the world-renowned quality expert W. Edwards Deming labeled as a System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK).
These components include an understanding of the human behavior that influences motivation (psychology), action (systems), feedback (variation) and learning (knowledge).
The Constitution identifies “top management” as the citizenry and assigns “We the People” the responsibility to work towards the ideal of a “more perfect union.”
Quality Leadership is all about reducing variation from the ideal.