Is TQM Enough For Competitive Advantage? LO22634

John Zavacki (
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 05:51:13 -0400

Replying to LO22629 --

C.W. Russ Russo said: TQM is one strategy. Panacea seekers are doomed to
disappointment. P.T.
Barnum was correct.

As W. Edwards Deming believed, so do I: there is no such thing as TQM.
One of the road blocks to continuous improvement, the eternal search for
excellence, is the formation of acronym bearing 'programs' and
methodologies which start in the middle and never reach the perimeter of
the sphere of influence. TQM is not Profound Knowledge. For the most
part, it addresses variation, and sometimes, systems. It rarely gets to a
theory of knowledge within an understanding of psychology. For those of
you unfamiliar with Deming, in his last book before his death (The New
Economics) he outlined his System of Profound Knowledge as standing on:

An appreciation of systems
A theory of knowledge
An understanding of variation

These are direct correlates to V (systems thinking), Personal and Team
(learning) Mastery, shared vision, and mental models. The difference is
the interpretation of the audience. Because Deming worked as a
statistician, taught industrial quality methods to the Japanese, and used
the term quality in his work, he is thought of more as a quality rather
than a leadership guru. In fact, he is both and more. There is much to
be learned from Deming, and many of us here at LO should have him in their
libraries to understand the basic organizational infrastructures needed
for both continuous improvements and innovation.

John Zavacki


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