‘Maintenance’ appreciation

In response to "Maintenance Required" (April 2016, pp. 14-19):

W. Edwards Deming’s system of profound knowledge (SoPK) is a foundation for supporting a culture that embraces continuous improvement. This approach for increasing employee engagement could be further enhanced through a broader understanding of variation in addition to one representing a statistical frame of reference.

Humans have managed variation as long as they’ve existed. And any successful change effort has involved the four elements that Deming labeled as the SoPK: appreciation for a system, knowledge about variation, the theory of knowledge and psychology.

Walter Shewhart developed the new paradigm for managing variation by merging statistics, engineering and economics. Deming recognized the significance of this discovery, and in 1986, he estimated that it would take another 50 years (2036) before Shewhart’s contributions were more commonly revealed in education, science and industry. Evidence of this movement includes articles such as this one, which is written from the perspective of professors in the humanities or liberal arts.

Timothy Clark
Nashville, IN

This article can be applied and used without modification when discussing Deming with members of management. This is one of the better discussions, and it can be fully understood by all levels of an organization.

David Weber
Solon, OH

More facts, fewer anecdotes

In response to "Know Your XYZs" (March 2016, pp. 18-23):

The subject of this article is fascinating and an extremely important issue in the modern workplace. Unfortunately, while there are a few good points, it lacks substantiation. The "research" done by the author is anecdotal, and there are many opinions presented as facts. It seems like this article was written by a millennial, which is a shame because it further perpetuates the stereotype that we are not up to the job.

Lorna Judge
Chula Vista, CA

Trust before understanding

In response to "Innovation Imperative: A Fresh Mix" (March 2016, pp.45-46):

Peter Merrill has hit another home run with a spot-on article. The entire article can be distilled to his final three-word message: "understanding and trust."

I would reverse the order because trust comes before understanding. If there’s no trust upfront, no effort will be made to strive toward understanding.

Alex Lau
Whitby, Ontario

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