Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Systems Thinking and Management Improvement

This is a response to a comment on my own blog post: Peter Senge on Systems Thinking

Great video on systems. It seems systems thinkers believe it to be a cure all. Deming’s addition of psychology, epistemology, and statistics and interactions is so much more powerful. What do you think? Is it all Japan needed because they had the other elements? Do we need more?

Senge has very good ideas. I would add to his thoughts more of what Deming, Scholtes, Joiner... said. I think many people get into the idea that their areas of interest is nearly everything that is needed.

I don't think Japan just needed systems thinking (for one thing there organizations start with more of that understanding). For another, a real problem in Japan is going along and not speaking up about problems. That is an issue everywhere but is much worse in Japan than the West. Japan has an obsession with customer service that would be valuable for USA organizations to learn from.

A big part of what makes Deming's framework so useful is he was continually learning and adopting new ideas (Senge does a lot of this compared to most people but I can't think of anyone in the Management area that is close to as good as Deming was at this). I do think most Deming folks today would benefit greatly from much more thinking a about the organization as a system. It is often very superficial in my experience (repeating phrases like "we need to break down barriers between departments" or "it is a mistake to optimize the part because it sub-optimizes the whole"). Those ideas are great but you need to manage based on that concept not just say it and move on.

I can't remember if I have added a comment from my own blog here before :-/

Related: Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods? - Leadership While Viewing the Organization as a System - A Good Management System is Robust and Continually Improving

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