A recent comment on LinkedIn asks what Dr. W. Edwards Deming meant when he said, “We are here to make another world.” As we start a new year, it’s highly appropriate time to look at that phrase.
Dr. Deming was a physicist and statistician whose work founded the Quality movement. He is perhaps best known for his work in Japan. His advice on improving design, production, quality and sales, founded on a thorough understanding and application of Statistical Process Control, helped Japan rise from the ashes after World War II to become a world leader in manufacturing. A basic tenet of his philosophy was to see and manage an organization as a system, in other words a network of interdependent processes that work together to achieve a goal.
Whole system transformation
Deming was first and foremost a scientist and is well known for many bare, bold and sometimes harsh statements. He was also inspirational. When he said “We are here to make another world…” what did Deming mean by this? Nothing less than the transformation of the present style of leadership (and management) into one of whole system optimization. This sums up the drive behind the transformational work we have been doing at Intelligent Management since 1996.
Very few organizations and businesses operate as whole systems. Instead, they are fragmented into vertical divisions and silos that have a hard time collaborating with each other. The focus that everyone in the organization should have on contributing towards a common goal is damaged by the many artificial barriers that undermine their everyday work. It doesn’t have to be that way and Dr. Deming has already supplied the direction of the solution.
How do we make another world?
Dr. Deming’s teachings are the foundation and inspiration for our work at Intelligent Management. However, it is very challenging to “do Deming” in any organization. Where do you start? How do you “implement” it?
It was by addressing these problems in organizations that our Founder, Dr. Domenico Lepore (also a physicist) started integrating a Deming approach with the highly practical protocols from the Theory of Constraints. This led to the Decalogue methodology and it has been the basis of our transformational work since the book ‘Deming and Goldratt: The Decalogue’ was first published by North River Press in 1999.
The Decalogue contains the elements of science and method that should inform the leadership of organizations today. Our effort has been to provide a cohesive and comprehensive approach to a systemic understanding of management and to use these elements to provide a unified vision for succeeding in our age of complexity and the emerging, network-shaped reality of our 21st century reality. In a world that is drowning in a chaotic swirl of shallow information and instant pudding, we aim to provide a rigorous knowledge-based reference point for the new leaders of the millennium.
A sustainable world
The paradigm underpinning this transformation, from the prevailing management style into one of optimization, is sustainability. It is an urgent matter. The urgency stems from the understanding that the world is at the very eve of a tectonic shift and this shift calls for a completely different style of leadership. That leadership must be inspired and informed by a higher form of intelligence that can leverage the interdependence among analysis, planning and action. It is an ability to connect cause and effect and govern decisions always in the awareness of their wider, systemic implications.
The transformation that we advocate cannot be undertaken without understanding and embracing a basic set of values, and it is mandatory to realize that the achievement of economic results must be connected with a precise ecology of the mind. In this way, the legitimate pursuit of personal monetary wealth will not be disjointed from the quest for purposefulness that should be the prime motivator for any human endeavor. This is the transition that leads to long-term, sustainable results.
At the beginning of our book, ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The systemic Organization’, we quote a scholar and leader who has provided inspiration to millions.
This could have been a world where the nature of each thing would be deduced from its parts. A predictable, orderly world. A world devoid of wonder. And then we would say, “Things are this way because they must be this way.”
Instead, at each step a whole new world emerges, one we could never have predicted from anything we knew before. Until we must conclude that our finite work somehow contains infinite possibilities, that both nothing and everything are possible.*
In 2019, let’s work to unveil the infinite possibilities with courage and make sure that potential emerges into reality.
* Adapted from Daily Dose from Chabad.org edited by Tzvi Freeman, based on Sefer Ha-Ma’amarim 5715, pp. 38–47, a talk given by Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore, helps leaders in organizations to speed up flow, overcome silos, and shift towards a systemic way of working, scheduling competencies into a synchronized Network of Projects. Intelligent Management provides internationally education, training and software for whole system management using the Deming and Goldratt Decalogue methodology .
See our new books The Human Constraint – a business novel purchased in 35 countries so far and ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York, by Dr. Domenico Lepore, Dr. Angela Montgomery and Dr. Giovanni Siepe