Remarks to The W. Edwards Deming Institute, April 27, l997, Alexandria, Virginia by Clare Crawford Mason
As you know I am a recovering journalist who reported on the White House from late LBJ to early Ronald Reagan and I was quite sure I knew how the world worked until I met Dr. Deming. Then I learned I didn't know what I didn't know.
It is a pleasure and honor to be with you all today, people who are interested and actively working to further Dr. Deming's ideas. I want to share with you one of my favorite video clips of Dr. Deming at the dedication of a room named for him at GM telling one of his best jokes and then, more importantly, describing his philosophy as a work in progress.
Dr. Deming's description of his ideas as work in progress, something to be improved upon each day, continuing improvement, and continuing evolution are the themes of my remarks today.
Most of you are familiar with how I met Dr. Deming in his basement in 1979, interviewed him there several times, understood nothing of what he said except the statement, "I taught the Japanese to work smarter not harder." However, I recognized that he was a prophet ignored in his homeland and knew that this was a story and reported it with Lloyd Dobyns in "If Japan Can," the NBC White Paper in l980.
The Deming segment was less than l5 minutes of a 90-minute report including commercials; it was never shown over the air again, yet that small story and Dr. Deming's ideas have forever changed how we all work and live.
We are all familiar with the systems diagram Dr. Deming put on the blackboard in l950 to show the Japanese industrial leaders that manufacturing was a system and should include the customer and supplier and be continually improved.
I think of this drawing as a revolutionary artifact like Newton's falling apple and James Watt's mother's tea kettle. All involve ideas that changed the world. Today I want to bring you up to date on a sequel to that original story about Dr. Deming and his philosophy.
First, Lloyd Dobyns and I have again met an unusual man whom we interviewed and after an entire day with him for the second time we did not understand what he was saying. This man, who is in the audience today, and whom some of you may have met yesterday, is Jefferson Vander Wolk. He is a successful businessman, manager and thinker. He wrote to Lloyd and me after reading our two books on quality. He said he thought that Dr. Deming's ideas had wider implications than are now recognized and wider applications then are now being made.
Jeff said that he wanted to talk to us about writing a book on philosophy. Some of you know Dr. Louis Savary, a theologian, statistician and author of or collaborator on more than l00 books on management and spirituality. We took Lou with us to meet Jeff and translate, but he didn't understand in the beginning either.
Since then the three of us, Lloyd, Lou and I, have been meeting with Jeff and writing together for more than a year and a half and we have two books underway, we have created some operational definitions and the end is not in sight.
Today I am going to tell you about some of our conclusions that I believe will interest you. But first I must introduce you to three other 20th Century thinkers in addition to Dr. Deming.
The first is Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit and anthropologist who discovered Peking man. About l990 I introduced Dr. Deming to Father Thomas King, a Jesuit from Georgetown University and an expert on the philosophy of Teilhard.
Earlier this century Teilhard had predicted a continuing improvement of human consciousness. I had been a student of Tom King's and produced a video about Teihard in the late eighties. Dr. Deming and Father King had several long, enjoyable lobster dinners and discussions.
Father King said a special Teilhard mass at which Dr. Deming's music was played and he blessed Dr. Deming as a successor to Teilhard. We videotaped it but Dr. Deming didn't like the singer's rendition of his music.
The second man is Georg Gurdjieff, a Turkish-Armenian teacher. In the late l980s at about the same time Dr. Deming was trying explain Profound Knowledge to me for the Deming Video Library, I became interested in a system of understanding yourself and others called the Enneagram. I learned that it stemmed from the work of Gurdjieff, a contemporary of Freud and Jung, who had started the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Paris in the l920s.
Frank Lloyd Wright, John Dewey, Georgia O'Keefe and others were among his followers. He wanted to teach individuals how to live more consciously in the world using practices that had only been attempted before by people who had withdrawn to monasteries or caves. His work is still studied and he has a home page on the internet and many links.
I found a similarity between Dr. Deming's ideas and Gurdjieff's Enneagram. Both were interested in:
In l994 at a Stanford University conference, I made a presentation on Dr. Deming and the Enneagram. Incidentally, the Enneagram is the basis of the most popular class at Stanford Business School. We are producing a series of videos on leadership and the Enneagram with one of the two Stanford professors teaching that popular class.
Some six months after the Stanford Conference, I received the first letter from Jefferson Vander Wolk asking Lloyd and me to consider doing a philosophy book. His letter had been prompted by our reports of Dr. Deming's work.
We learned that Jeff had been reading Gurdjieff since the l970s in his own quest to be a better manager. Incidentally, Jeff's vision of a better manager was to reduce management time as much as possible. He wanted to create an environment where his people did not need his physical presence in his distant enterprises so he might devote more time not just to perfecting his golf and tennis, but to pursuing some key philosophical questions he had encountered in his business career.
The third thinker is P.D. Ouspensky, a Russian mathematician, who wrote a book called "Tertium Organum, A Key to the Enigmas of the World," in l9l2. Jeff had read this book and had thought about the ideas in it for decades. In the book, which is still in print, Ouspensky predicts there is a second or higher level of logic waiting to be discovered. It is different from our ordinary linear logic. Linear logic addresses the world we see and says in effect that the whole must equal the sum of its parts. Two plus two must equal four. All of our present thinking and our present language is predicated on this visible world linear logic.
Ouspensky predicted the discovery of a different logic, a higher logic that would parallel higher physics and higher math and would lead to a higher evolutionary path for mankind. As I said, he called the book Tertium Organum or the third organum of thought. Aristotle's Organon was the first and Bacon's Novum Organum was the second.
Ouspensky, whose followers have created a homepage and many links on the world wide web, did not pursue the development of this higher logic after he predicted it. But in a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction drama Ouspensky met Gurdjieff and in the l920s carried to England his ideas about ways to develop human consciousness.
Some 70 years later, Jefferson Vander Wolk, confined to bed with the flu, read our books on Deming and concluded that Deming had provided empirical proof of Ouspensky's prediction of a second or higher logic. A logic where the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. A logic to plan, predict and manage in the complex, dynamic world we can't see, the world of interactions.
Now, here is a way to describe these two kinds of logic, a way that Jeff and we have found clarified them for us: conventional logic and higher logic. Conventional logic addresses the visible world or, as the late Physicist David Bohm calls it, the "explicit" world. It is:
In contrast, higher logic addresses the non-visible or "implicate" world. It is:
Remember that Dr. Deming talked about "the most important numbers being unknown and unknowable," that would be the qualitative world, as would the variation in all things, processes, and statistics.
Now as you managers and teachers who have applied Dr. Deming's principles know, we have been thrust into this new world by the speed of technological change. Adjusting to such change is not easy. The Industrial Revolution occurred over the span of several lifetimes and it caused great social disruption. We see today in the developing countries the great cultural difficulty in trying to make such a leap in a single lifetime or two.
Meanwhile, we in the first world now are undergoing an apparently pleasanter, but much more difficult and jarring adjustment. There has been more change in our lifetimes than in all of history until now. The new, non-visible world enfolds the old and we must know how to operate in both and to move confidently and competently between them. Deming has helped us do this, even before most of us knew there was another world.
This new logic requires that we modify our thinking and expand our language. You will remember that Dr. Deming said it took at least three exposures for anyone to begin to understand his ideas. Some student's left the four-day seminars transformed and some left angry.
Physicist David Bohm describes this new world in his book "Wholeness and The Implicate Order." The Implicate Order (from the Latin "to be enfolded") is "a level of reality beyond our normal everyday thoughts and perceptions, as well as beyond any picture of reality offered by a given scientific theory."
In the Implicate Order, Bohm says that "everything in the universe affects everything else because they are all part of the same unbroken whole." He says that "the inclination towards fragmentation is embedded in the subject-verb-object structure of our grammar, and is reflected at the personal and social levels by our tendency to see individuals and groups as 'other' than ourselves, leading to isolation, selfishness and wars," what Dr. Deming called barriers.
We can now observe that, seemingly without knowing it, Dr. Deming in his approach to managing organizations devised a case of the higher logic predicted by Ouspensky and Bohm, the first broad-based and readily verifiable case of that logic.
But exciting and perplexing as that theory is, that general conclusion is only half the story on which Jeff, Lloyd, Lou and I are working. To explain the other half, I want to talk to you about a concept called Convergent Integration, which is the common thread tying Dr. Deming and all of these others together.
The term "convergent integration" was first used by the English philosopher Julian Huxley to describe the human trend toward central convergence, increasing organization and growth. And that is what Jeff and we are calling this new logic, which says that when certain conditions of assembly are met, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Convergent Integration: a new logic which says that then when certain conditions of assembly are met, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
This may be the time to further explain that what prompted Jeff to contact Lloyd and me was that he had developed and pursued a problem solving logic in his management work and he kept reaching conclusions that contradicted conventional wisdom. As he read our books, he saw similar results of Deming's that contradicted conventional wisdom. He also saw that both his logic and Deming's were based on the concept that a properly integrated whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.
Which brings us back to Convergent Integration. Convergent integration can be seen in a jigsaw puzzle; when assembled, a picture or transcending perspective appears. It can be seen in an automobile; the parts assembled produce something greater than their sum: a means of transportation. In problem solving, the solution is a greater whole brought into being by assembling the facts. A winning sports team can be greater than the sum of its parts, so can an orchestra, so can a marriage, and so on.
Some historic examples of this happening at random would be the Founding Fathers setting up the conditions of democracy or the men who split the atom. None of them could have done it alone, but together they could.
Dr. Deming practiced convergent integration without having a name for it. In Profound Knowledge he integrated four disciplines: systems thinking, statistical thinking, epistemology, and psychology, into a revolutionary system of management.
None of the four disciplines is a philosophy of management by itself; yet taken together they created a management force no one had ever imagined. Profound knowledge is greater than the sum of its parts.
Another way to describe Dr. Deming's Profound Knowledge is as a system of application of convergence logic toward the continuing improvement of products and services. The successful business practicing Deming becomes a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Deming showed the way to a method where a group or team of people working together for a common purpose can be greater than the sum of its parts. Through Profound Knowledge, Dr. Deming helped Japanese and American industries eliminate cross purposes between labor and management, which lead to the elimination of cross purposes among divisions.
Deming's Profound Knowledge created a greater whole in these industries. Jeff explains that he saw that this greater whole resulted from a reversal within the organization that transformed conflict into complementarity. And in doing so it created internal momentum toward continual improvement.
"Eliminating cross purposes" is Jeff's term and I think it makes understanding Profound Knowledge easier.
Cross purposes and divergences prevent the creation of unity. Deming's system effectively eliminates cross purposes and divergences between groups working in association; however, two additional sets of cross purposes and divergences remain largely unresolved. One occurs between individuals. The other within an individual.
Eliminate cross purposes
We can use the principles of Convergent Integration to take Deming's ideas to the next level, a level he already intuited but did not have time to elaborate.
First, we can use Convergent Integration for the systemic elimination of cross purposes between persons, which are perpetuated by biases, unnecessary speculations and personal agendas.
And then we can use Convergent Integration to remove cross purposes within individuals. We do this by helping them (or ourselves) eliminate biases, unnecessary speculations and become conscious of various conflicting internal agendas and personalities. This is the work of the Enneagram. Gurdjieff said that a person who begins to achieve interior integration of various personalities is developing "unified presence."
A practical application of this would mean that the same logic applied by Dr. Deming to achieve unity in an organization and the continual improvement of products and services can be utilized in a directed approach to achieve radical improvements in problem-solving and teamwork skills
And there is an even more significant promise of this new logic. Jeff, Lou, Lloyd and I have come to believe that if you take:
*Deming's practical application of higher logic, the Convergent Integration of people to create an organization with internal unity; Recognize it as a validation of: *Ouspensky's prediction and description of precisely such a logic and then add to it: *Gurdjieff's theory of the development of individual consciousness, and *Teilhard's theory of group evolution to a higher level of understanding and convergence in human consciousness, you arrive not only at breakthrough potentials in problem solving and teamwork, but at a complete theory of evolution in consciousness.
A philosophy of the evolution of consciousness
Once again, like Deming integrating four disciplines into Profound Knowledge, we are integrating the ideas of these four men. None of their ideas taken individually is a complete theory of the evolution of consciousness, but the ideas convergently integrated together produce just such a theory.
And we are thinking that this new integration of the four philosophers could be called Profound Consciousness or the systemic application of higher logic toward the continuing improvement of people.
Or to build on what Dr. Deming specified, Profound Knowledge opens the way to joy in work and joy in learning, while Profound Consciousness would enhance these values and lead to joy in relationship and joy in self --in short-- better and better quality of life.
Of course, the implications reach far beyond the business world. We are talking about the next step in evolution and also saying that consciousness has potential control over its own evolution. Just as a corporation has potential control over its own success.
Jeff and we are saying that a group of people who have been able to achieve unified presence and are practicing Deming's logic would be able to, again and again, predictably produce results greater than the sum of their parts. Results that most of us can hardly imagine. Neither James Watt nor Isaac Newton -- or their neighbors -- could have imagined today's world.
This new and higher world of Profound Knowledge and Profound Consciousness could well lead to a different view of space, time, human consciousness and what is important.
We conclude that Deming and David Bohm were beginning to describe this. Deming, as he drew the systems diagram for the Japanese industrialists, told them you must see manufacturing as a system, not just bits and pieces.
David Bohm said: "At present, people create barriers between each other by their fragmentary thought. Each one operates separately. When these barriers have dissolved, then there arises one mind, where they are all one unit, but each person also retains his or her own individual awareness."
Teilhard and Bohm both believed that if you were able to get a group of people working together with one another at a different plane, they might find a new way to operate that would not be simply individual.
We call a basic version of this new way of operating a "team." An ordinary team is a group of people who have a shared task. But imagine how powerful a team could be if the individuals in it would operate as if with one mind yet retain their individuality.
We all know or suspect that we do not use all of our intelligence. Gurdjieff spoke of humans as having three centers of intelligence, the head, the heart and the instinctive. His work was aimed an integrating them into a greater intelligence for the individual, just as Deming was interested in integrating individuals into a team.
Einstein said, "We have to think, with feelings in our muscles." I would like to give you an idea of what this means about individual and group potential and a personal metaphor to take away. Imagining our potential is as complex and as simple as this: when you ride a bicycle or drive an automobile, you are engaging in a movement you can't describe or even comprehend. That's the implicate order that is enfolded in you. You have capacities within you that are phenomenal, if you only knew how to release them.
Jeff is working on a series of principles, not lists of things to do, but principles of how individuals and organizations might begin to practice these ideas and utilize these phenomenal capacities within each of us. We hope these methods can help us begin to achieve what has only been random in the past. It is an exciting project.
Practically, what we are talking about is a directed approach to radically increasing the problem-solving and teamwork skills of people working in Deming organizations. Or using this problem solving and teamwork building to introduce Deming to organizations. These are skills that have surfaced in the past, but randomly. We are working on devising a directed approach.
In that regard, our books will depend on the quality of our examples and metaphors, and for that we need your help. If you have examples of extraordinary teamwork or if you have found an effective way to describe and teach related ideas, please contact us.
We have an inkling that perhaps these ideas can only be learned, not taught. And we are well aware of how rewarding or frustrating that can be for student and teacher. We are interested in your experiences.