As you likely know, William Edwards Deming created The System of Profound Knowledge, which was presented in his 1994 book, The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education. Deming’s book described how to improve and advance systems to create better outcomes for people. In 2018 I wrote a book called The Triumph of Classical Management Over Lean Management: How Tradition Prevails and What to Do About It. It describes The System of Profound Privilege that prevents needed progress. These two systems are profoundly antagonistic, as described here. The images below elaborate on the two systems and their antagonism towards one another (click on images to enlarge).
Dr. Deming deserves much admiration for his great work. It resonates with many people – but usually not with CEOs, presidents, CFOs, COOs, etc. The image below offers counterpoints to Dr. Deming’s 14 points which reflect the reality that most people have lived in their workplace. This is sad, but true, because of the peculiar nature of business leadership which prohibits the practice of such insights, as explained in my book Triumph of Classical Management.
Dr. Deming’s SoPK overflows with truth and wisdom. But it competes against SoPP which has been around much longer and has rigid rules designed to conserve and defend traditions. I’ve met a lot of executives over the years. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who knows The System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) or even the difference between common causes of variation and special causes. They do, however, know The System of Profound Privilege (SoPP). The image below contrasts particular details of SoPK and SoPP and helps us understand why SoPP prevails.
When I see Deming’s images of statistical variation in a process before and after improvement, my engineering mind thinks of something I learned about beams in my civil engineering courses. Pinned beams — the ends of the normal distribution curve — cannot move. So, in this analogy, companies whose leaders lead by classical management (SoPP) are unable to generate much improvement. The pins must be removed and replaced with rollers in order to transform the management system to TPS or Lean management (SoPK). However, the pins are made of a nearly indestructible alloy of the seven elements (described in my book). Hence, companies are mired in the status quo, unable to accelerate the pace of change, and thus perpetually behind the times.
So what’s the significance of this? It means that efforts to improve processes using Lean management or any other method is much more difficult than people have realized. The consequence of this is that the people who drive improvement forward must understand the forces acting in the opposite direction so that they can devise countermeasures. And they must understand the details of the forces — seven of them — if they hope to be successful in their change efforts. Triumph of Classical Management will fully inform you of what you need to know, and it also offers some practical countermeasures for you to try.