Do You Understand the System of Profound Knowledge?
W. Edwards Deming said "without theory there is no learning" while Taiichi Ohno said "understanding means doing." Deming left a great legacy with his Theory of Profound Knowledge which if followed allows the wayward Western organization to transform itself into one that excels and improves continuously. It could be said that Ohno and others valued practice over theory and transformed Toyota.
Deming explains that Western organizations must transform themselves, and that a system cannot transform itself without first understanding itself. One who is part of the system cannot understand the whole without first stepping outside of it and looking in. Deming called this developing a system of profound knowledge:
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