We are taught from a young age that we are the product of years of trial and error. And only those stronger, more observant, intelligent and lucky survive to procreate and build. We came out of the caves to hunt and gather eventually moving into production by mastering the art of farming. I’m not debating the point just building a case. This concept of trial and error is reinforced because each of us from infancy on, to some extent, learned from trial and error. Even though we were told from experienced elders to never stick a wire in an electrical socket, some of us had to test it. As if the laws of electrical current were different for us than for all preceding mankind. Our jails are full of testers. But yet again that’s another book. Anyway my point is that this historical approach results in an overall continuing attitude of “everything is trial and error.” My experience is that most companies, products, services and decisions are a result of trial and error and it continues unabated with every new product, service and employee. There are a lot of reasons for this. Most often it is centered on technology improvements and knowledge transfer issues however; it no longer needs to be this way. To explain, what if we create a parallel universe for ourselves where quality reigns and call it “EDEN”. We will have the ability to step from one universe to the other at will, let’s say 7:00am and leave no earlier than 6:00pm at least four days a week.
Since it is a foregone conclusion that EDEN will have people associated with it we won’t have to worry about creating and applying the laws of physics we’ll just borrow those that already exist in our native universe. Now that we have a duplicate to our universe what needs to change in the EDEN universe to ensure that products, services, decisions and actions are always correct?
We need to diverge for a moment and examine the importance of the underlying concept of right and wrong. You see there is another aspect to existence in our present universe that hinders our ability to produce quality. Quite a few people believe the concept of “quality” actually springs from it. It is, for lack of better words, a spiritual or moral aspect. It is the concept of conscience or the ability to understand right from wrong and the degrees thereto. Regardless, it is interesting to me that some of these rights and wrongs seem to be universal or innate to mankind’s existence. Murder, adultery, stealing, etc are pretty universal no no’s. The adherence to contracts whether in marriage or some other oath is preferred and expected. There is some part of the human psyche that understands that truthfulness is preferred over lies. Someone that always did right used to be referred to as “righteous”.
In our native universe this concept of freedom to do wrong is often referred to as “free will”. We all have the free will to do what we want but there are always limitations given the laws that govern our existence. Step off a ten story building just because you’re free to make that decision. The result is immediate banishment from this universe. Likewise in some cultures if you break moral laws, say murder, you may also be banished from the universe. Breaking moral laws that carry the known penalty of banishment for some reason don’t seem to carry the same weight or responsibility as breaking physical laws. There are always those people that will look at a fence and see restriction while others see protection. Stepping off the building is viewed as self banishment while murdering someone is viewed by some as trial and error. Lying is another example. If we define lying as a statement designed to mislead, even though it is frowned upon today, lying is pretty much an excepted practice. Over time that practice may well have the same result as murder for products, services, individuals, governments and societies. It is interesting to contemplate the effect of duration, the time taken from incident to result and what effect it has on the human psyche. I think it only logical to believe that if the duration for actions taken were immediate then wrong choices would be eliminated. Unfortunately immediacy is not always possible, after-all the situation must be investigated and the perpetrator must be caught. Then there is a trial and always a chance that some technicality will taint the evidence. So it really comes down to how much risk the perpetrator is willing to take before he acts and oddly how much risk is the employer or business owner willing to give the perpetrator (worker). For example, it just makes common sense that someone is less likely to steal items that are known to have RFID tags attached. To some extent the business owner has eliminated free will for his patrons.
So, what if we just take away free will in the EDEN universe, what results? Animals don’t have free will they have instinct that assures their survival. This is another concept hard to understand even with years of trial and error behind it. Animals are endowed with programmed actions and reactions to specific stimuli or circumstances. And it would appear that not all activities of animals are programmed as in robotics. What if we take away free will and replace it with programmed action? In actuality isn’t that exactly what all the training, seminars and webinars are trying to accomplish?
Now, just what does all of this have to do with quality? Well, in the preceding chapter we learned that quality is conformance to requirements. Conformance to requirements just means “doing it right”. If we say quality is “do it right” then the requirement is the “it”. Not conforming to the requirement would generate mistakes, faults, blunders, oversights, errors, omissions, gaffes, goofs, sins, etc. Let’s take sin for instance, it actually just means to “miss,” in the sense of missing the mark or not reaching a goal, way, or right point. This insinuates a known requirement whether physical or moral.
Therefore, if one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him. (James 4:17)
Now the term sin would never be used in the workplace but the rest certainly are. In the EDEN universe none of these terms will exist. Why? Because the choice to do wrong, will be eliminated.
This brings up another important issue for discussion. Does it really matter whether the worker wants to do his job correctly if he has no alternative? Seems to me it will just come down to how long it takes him to perform. We will not take free will away from the EDEN universe it’s just that the available choices will already be selected and they will always be correct. The EDEN universe will have all the knowledge accumulated in the present universe to utilize and determine what is right. Therefore the EDEN universe will not have “trial and error” as its basis but wisdom. Righteousness will reign in the EDEN universe because there will only be right choices.
To demonstrate, who of us has gone to an ATM machine that’s working and not come away with the $20 bucks that we intended to get? Did it ever cross the mind that this machine is robbing us of our free will? Do we demand to have the ability to make a mistake and perhaps ruin our finances costing us time and money to resolve? No. So why do we tolerate it in other situations especially work?
Why is it that we’ll tolerate “the equivalent of 390 jumbo jets full of people… dying each year due to likely preventable, in-hospital medical errors, making this one of the leading killers in the U.S.,” said Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades vice president of medical affairs.
In the EDEN universe it won’t be possible.