How does our theory become practice? LO23789

From: Barry Mallis (
Date: 01/20/00

Replying to LO23771 --

Since I first joined this group when there were fewer than 500 postings
many years ago, I, too, have wondered about theory and practice. Insights
from philosophical dialog predominate here. Exchanges in areas of
semantics, semiotics, ethics, systems, etc. abound. I suppose there are
other sites to visit where the practical application of ideas is more
formulated. There, it seems to me, one finds a few practitioners (I'll
define these as people who work full time in organizations that create
goods and/or services), and many consultants (whom I think of at best as
primarily people who were practitioners, but who now find the grace to
share full time their experiences, intuition and practicality in order to
make organizations function and perform better for the sake of their

I straddle these two groups, working in an organization where the
application of learning tools to solve problems and create new processes
has advanced in the last five years so as to improve QCDS--quality, cost,
delivery and safety. you can call it total quality, continuous
improvement, systems thinking. Whatever. We have tried and failed; we have
tried and succeeded. The slope is always uphill, and, as Deming said, you
never get out of this hospital.

Perhaps when I arrive at work I am sufficiently insulted from some of my
idealistic feelings and drives, and I can work at sharing and applying
learnings in a step-by-step fashion. I look for ITERATIVE improvements. I
preach ITERATIVE improvement where employees and supervisors sense needs,
discover their processes, collect data, analyze the data, create and
implement solutions or processes, perform a check step against a
determined metric, standardize, then reflect. We call this the seven step
method, but we all have been doing something like it forever. Call it what
you will.

I so enjoy hearing stories from people who describe the organizational
risks they took, their stumblings, their vision and applications for the
sake of improvement within the organization. I like these stories of
application a lot. What are the pluses and the deltas (delta="what can we
do next time to make the process even better?").

I thought I'd check in from another space and place.

Happy days,

Barry Mallis, Manager - Training and Development
MARKEM Corporation  |  email:
voice: 603 357-4255 ext. 2578 | FAX: 603 352-0525

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