A Peddler of Perfection once wrote a book about quality called “I’ll know it when I see it.” That would indicate that he doesn’t actually know “it” before he sees “it”. In the present universe where “trial and error” is the norm, this is rather a typical approach. I would dare say there is a better chance that he would not know it even if he does happen to see it. The fact is, we need to know “it” so we can successfully see it or produce it or decide on it. For example, every counterfeit expert understands that their job is much simpler when they know in detail what genuine money looks like. Instead of looking for counterfeit money they look for the real thing. This plays out more readily in business.
There are two kinds of people in the world. (Actually there are more than two kinds but for this analysis let’s just imagine two.) Those that go to work thinking, “I wonder what’s going to happen today?” and those that know exactly what’s in store for them during the work day. All too often one is called “management” while the other is called “worker”. It may come as a surprise but in our present universe the person that has no idea what the day holds is usually paid much more than the other. In fact, the knowing others can’t wait to be in the unknowing state, making more money and juggling the stressful chore of overcoming the situations they and their company is thrust into. Essentially making sense out of what appears to be, and usually is, chaos.
Generally speaking, to handle this state of confusion requires additional education. Companies require it and quite a few won’t even allow an interview for one of these positions unless you’ve either been in this unknowing state for many years or have a master’s degree to theoretically prove you have the experience to recognize wrong things. Companies will lavish rich rewards on individuals that appear to thrive in the constant chaos of problem solving that comes with most business days. Heaven forbid that it ever becomes predictable.
It’s really quite amazing to me. The Quality industry heaps all kinds a praise on the Quality GURU’s of the past. But in reality, well, to quote Peter Drucker, “I have been saying for many years that we are using the word ‘guru’ only because ‘charlatan’ is too long to fit into a headline.” What happened to the Quality Revolution of the 80’s? Why do we still have all these problems, with more appearing on the horizon?
There is only one constant when it comes to problems and a hint of it first appeared right after God had written, “After that God saw everything he had made and, look! [it was] very good.” And then, all hell broke loose, so to speak! That’s right; people were let loose, with free will. In the conflict resolution/problem resolution/corrective action world a tremendous trial and error takes place to determine “root cause” when it’s always the same, PEOPLE. All work is a process, all problems are process related and behind every process lurking in the background somewhere is a person. That means there are no product problems they just manifest themselves there. The world recession beginning in 2009 was caused by people. Mr. Greenspan was on TV saying “This will happen again!” meaning the greed and other characteristics of mankind will raise their ugly heads again sometime in the future; after all we’re only human.
If we want to truly eliminate the problem resolution cycle and all the waste surrounding it, we must first be able to visualize and demonstrate process perfection. Simple, you might be thinking, but wait! In most colleges of higher learning our unknowing are being taught about the “economics of quality” and why expecting perfection is costly and therefore bad. They discuss things like the “indifference zone” where “optimum quality” has been reached and spending anymore money would just increase the costs with very little return on investment. However in reality the discussion is not about QUALITY but aspects of engineering like design, sustainability, maintainability even marketability. It is always less costly to do things right the first time, every time.