Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Profound Knowledge

William Edwards Deming assumed that a system can't understand itself. Therefore, he needed a tool that provided a way of looking at and understanding organizations...

Profound Knowledge is the tool that solves for this problem space and consists of the following parts:

Appreciation for a system means that you view the organization as a system of groups, processes and components working together towards the purpose of the organization. Subcontractors and customers are also connected to the system. Every part in the system is dependent on and influenced by all the other parts. Thus the performance of a part must be judged from the perspective of how it contributes to the whole system and how the system facilitates the performance of the part.

Knowledge of variation. Variation is a fundamental behavior of a system, especially systems containing people, such as organizations. One has to measure the performance of the system and determine the variation. Then you can take measures to reduce the level of variation in order to be able to better predict the future performance of the system and to increase quality. Knowing the normal variation also enables you to identify special cases not caused by the system.

Theory of knowledge. A culture of learning with a team approach to change should be installed in the organization in order to better cope with external demands and adapt better to new ideas. The organization continually improves its structure, processes and methods. It also involves and encourage others in making these improvements and to transfer knowledge. This should be done in a planned and collaborative manner. The continuous improvement and learning activities of the organization is not only directed towards higher quality but also toward being more responsive, adaptive and effective.

Knowledge of psychology. The people in an organization (i.e. a system) especially managers must realize that the system affects the behavior and performance of the people in that system. Blaming people for errors induced by the system is counter-productive. Instead, the errors should be removed by improving the system. Employees should feel pride in their workmanship and true satisfaction from their contribution. The causes of fear have to be driven out and artificial barriers torn down. Intrinsic motivation is the only sort worth having.

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