The following is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of The New Economics, second edition by W. Edwards Deming:
A system cannot understand itself. The transformation requires a view from outside. The aim of this chapter is to provide an outside view-a lens-that I call a system of profound knowledge. It provides a map of theory by which to understand the organizations that we work in.
The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge. The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people.
Once the individual understands the system of profound knowledge, he will apply its principles in every kind of relationship with other people. He will have a basis for judgment of his own decisions and for transformation of the organizations that he belongs to. The individual, once transformed, will:
- Set an example
- Be a good listener, but will not compromise
- Continually teach other people
- Help people to pull away from their current practice and beliefs and move into the new philosophy without a feeling of guilt about the past
As I re-read this excerpt, I could not help thinking about my discussion, A New Approach to Lean – Robert Fritz, with Robert and my thoughts on how the typical organization chart and how we must change to more of a Venn diagram type of structure to meet the ever-changing world. More of that in the blog post, The New Org Chart for Customer Engagement. Dr. Deming’s statements, “The transformation requires a view from outside and The first step is transformation of the individual,” are so true.
Taking this a step further, I think of how in sales and marketing that we must also understand the customer’s organization. The influencing of our customer requires a change for our customer’s organization. How many of us spent time identifying influencers and critics within the customer’s organization? It sounds like a very daunting task but most of us realize that it is becoming a collaborative decision process in most organizations. The day of the single decision maker is becoming rare. However, according to Dr. Deming, we have an advantage; “The transformation requires a view from outside.”
How do we leverage that advantage? Can we have control of the transformation? First, we must understand it is not the decision process that we must understand, rather the individuals involved. I have recently become quite intrigued by Outcome Mapping. Excerpt from the book, Systems Concepts in Action:
Outcome Mapping is a method from the evaluation field that explores the way in which interventions contribute to a result and in particular the way in which changes in behavior of certain stakeholders contribute to a result. It addresses the following questions:
- How does our intervention contribute to an ultimate goal?
- Whose behavior can we influence in terms of that contribution?
- What is a realistic strategy to achieve that behavior change?
- How do these behavior changes affect our role, and which changes do we have to make to be an effective partner?
This approach is very similar to Verna Allee, co-founder and CEO of Value Networks LLC approach to Value Network Mapping. You can read more about it in this blog post, Is Relationship Mapping the new Critical Path? and a Dr. Deming discussion, Sub-optimizing your Social Collaboration.
The advantage to the Outcome Based Mapping approach is that it uniquely identifies, what they term as boundary partners. Boundary partners are described as “those individuals, groups, or organizations with whom the program interacts directly and with whom the program can anticipate opportunities for influence.” This approach is very aligned with my efforts on how to discover and influence the participants in our customer’s networks and organization. Have you experienced Outcome Based Mapping?
You can look forward to more discussion on Outcome Based Mapping, Boundary Partners and of course, Dr. Deming.