The Japanese revered the Godfather of quality who, as it turns out, was a Christ follower. For all of his emphasis on process control and data, he was very humanistic in his approach– understanding well not only the laws of physics but what lay behind them.
From Deming’s “System of Profound Knowledge”:
“The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge. The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people.
Once the individual understands the system of profound knowledge, he will apply its principles in every kind of relationship with other people. He will have a basis for judgment of his own decisions and for transformation of the organizations that he belongs to.”
What does this sound like to you? What do you think are the origins of this system?
Being a Six Sigma black belt and purveyor of lean philosophy, I rub elbows with a lot of data geeks who stand on Deming’s principles. But in order to move people toward transformation in the workplace and elsewhere this “profound system of knowledge” must be known. This is the part I find lacking in the work of so many who seem to have the science and numbers down.
I believe the Japanese never got that part. Instead they relied on their ability to conform and will to win. This will only carry a company and country so far.