Posted by Don Griffing on Feb 12, 2018

It is was in graduate school that I was introduced to the teachings of W. Edwards Deming.  Early in his career as an electrical engineer, he was introduced to the originator of the control chart and concepts of statistical process control.  As Deming began to apply these concepts to manufacturing, he saw how it could be applied to other processes with organizations.  This insight led to the development of a new sampling technique for the 1940 US Census.  Post-World War II, Deming traveled to Japan to assist with their census.  Deming stood out from the other American experts because he showed respect for the Japanese people and their culture and treated his counterparts as colleagues instead of vanquished enemies.  This lead to numerous lectures to engineers, managers, and scholars.  As Japanese manufacturers applied his techniques, they were able to improve quality and productivity, which returned Japan to the world economic stage.  It was the Total Quality Management initiatives in the late 70s and early 80s that brought Deming’s teaching back to the US.

As I watched Dame MacArthur’s TEDTalk, I was reminded of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge.  This is a system of four interdependent principles which form the basis of his thinking.  These principles are:

  1. Appreciation of a system – an understanding the interdependencies of suppliers, producers, and consumers of goods or services.

  2. Knowledge and awareness of variation – an ever-expanding range and causes of variation in quality, process, and outcomes.

  3. Theory of knowledge – the concepts of what can be known and the limits of knowledge.

  4. Knowledge of psychology – the understanding human behavior in organizations especially motivation.

As an eClub, we struggle with finding balance in these principles, particularly when it comes to our Club psychology.  Over the weekend, I heard social researcher Brené Brown say, “the highest levels of true belonging sought out experiences of collective joy and collective pain.”  With a global membership on three continents, we lack the ability to gather together at a physical location on a frequent and regular basis to share each other’s joys and pains.  We are left to our digital devices – gadgets and wiles – that enable and prevent us from closeness.  There will not be a silver bullet to solve this problem which should not stop us from exploring our connectedness.  If you are a Facebook user, I ask that members post something our closed Group and guest to post on our Page.  Tell us about some moment of joy in your day.  It is only through trial and error that we find ways to build our Club’s sense of belonging.