To win in the Olympics it takes perfection and practice of a certain event in which you train for most of your life . . . or does it? Nothing more controversial then in 1968 when Dick Fosbury broke tradition and method with a better way. So, if you went to the Olympics that year having perfected the Straddle technique, Western Roll, Eastern cut-off Scissors jump you would have lost . . . no matter how good you were.
You see Dick Fosbury was the inventor of a new method and better way called the Fosbury Flop. The controversy he started had athletes, commisions and countries trying to ban his method. An unfair advantage and call for protecting the high jump was the case.
When W. Edwards Deming met with business leaders in Japan on July 13th, 1950 he told them that if they would follow his teaching and method that manufacturers the world over would be screaming for protection in five years (they did it in four). Dr. Deming new that in manufacturing a better way than the productivity mentality existed and had exhausted himself in America trying to prove it to disinterested Americans. The rest is history, manufacturing has been on a decline since 1968 (according to Dr. Deming).
Why? Because the new method Dr. Deming taught has never been fully accepted by Americans. Sure we have had our run in lean, TQM, etc. but the thinking never changed. All of these efforts have been focused on the front-line while Dr. Deming focused his System of Profound Knowledge on management. American management unwilling to change has led us to our current state.
Americans have become masters of manipulation with the wrong-headed ideas that attention to financial and productivity measures is the key. Nothing could be further from the truth and each time there is a promise to manage costs better . . . costs go up and productivity goes down. Ignorance is killing us.
I have found that service organizations and governments are still managing in the old style – doing the wrong thing, righter. Doing things the old way is not only ineffective, but damaging. Stuck in the re-frame of “Hey, Jude.”
Maybe these service industries have no pressure, but performance is poor. We have seen it in banking, HVAC industry, auto repair and many others. Management believing there is only one way to manage and continuing to make things worse in the eyes of their customers. Soon a reckoning is coming to every service industry in the same manner that manufacturing was rolled.
Just as with the Fosbury Flop, service industry faces new method in the coming years. Where the old ways are being replaced with new method in the design and management of work. The size or current stature of an organization matters little as large service companies operating under old method will fall to those with new and better methods no matter there size.
The good news is that thin service change is rapid, there are no machines or inventory like manufacturing. Organizations adopting better methods containing the thinking of Dr. Deming and Taiichi Ohno can capture market share quickly while reducing costs (without a focus on costs). But remember, it is the thinking and not the tools that will make things better.
Change is coming to America, will you have your company ready for the next Fosbury Flop?
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Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.