Profound Knowledge

Deming Communities
Profound Knowledge

Fire Sermon and Deming's Profound Knowledge System


(A speech by Hanching Chung on May 2 , 1998 at Chinese Deming Center Taipei )

The purpose of this talk is to address some key beliefs of Dr. Deming's legacy in terms of his personal and organizational transformation viewpoints. I'll propose in order to get an deeper understanding of his profound knowledge system, we need to study his faith , hope and love in people.

Starting points: In Peter R. Scholtes's new book The Leader's Handbook, the author gave a profound A Final Thought. He said:

Intrigued by the optimism of Teihard de Chardin, Bill Hunter and I would explore how Deming's philosophy can help humankind evolve into systems that create better places to work and learn, better government, better institutions of health care, and improved organizational pursuits of every kind.It is part of a new renaissance (emphasized by H.C ).

The author also quoted Teihard de Chardin's famous Omega Point. in The End of the World:

The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, and gravitationafter all the scientific and technical achievements, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And then, on that days, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire!

First, I like to say that I love this kind of soft thinking or poetic expression. But we are in a dilemma that one of Shewhart and Deming's legacies is operational meaning or definition, so we also love many metaphors without operational meaning but maybe with profound meaning( somebody said one of its origin meaning is Moan!) for the religious man like Dr Deming and many of his friends including something of you.

I know Some of you are Buddhist. Never mind, I believe Deming will appreciate The Fire Sermon by T. S. Eliot(1888-1965) in which he mentioned

Burning burning burning burning

O Lord Thou pluckest me out

O Lord Thou pluckest

O Burning


According to most notes ,we need to refer to Buddhism in Translation by H. C. Warren to understand the fire image and I was shocked to find

the moments of truths in both great religions.

Information, Knowledge, Insight and Understanding

I believe Deming's Philosophy put a lot on the understanding which many people think is equivalent with wisdom. I love the old translation of Bible for the word understanding. The Chinese characters for it means that in order to understand something or somebody, we must listening, with heart, with open mind and to let light in. What a wonderful translationthis is nearly exactly the requirements of Dr. Deming's definition of a leader.

We really need to understand our modern culture is a information cult and information anxiety culture to appreciate ( this word is very meaningful in our context and Deming community) Deming Philosophy.

When I mentioned information cult and anxiety, I actually want to refer two books by Theodore Rozak(The Cult of Information, by the way, Theo used I. F. Stone's Newsletter as an example of his preference and I think many of you may like Stone's last masterpiece which we have a good translation and I like Stone attitude of copyright so that OUP could not trace it.)

Many people will surprise that I quote another T. S. Eliot's work as follows:

Where is the life we have lost in living;

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge;

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information.

(quoted from Choruses from The Rock)

Well, maybe too many Eliot for this talk but we should remember Dr. Deming chose one Japanese poem to express his quality triangle.

We as a manager or an educator, in this age of www (or world wide mess), need to be very careful in Ultimate Resources(Henry Simons term), that is in people and their time. I believe Deming's significant contribution to Shewhart's legacy is to emphasize on the people. So he mentioned about the most important application of control charts principles is in people. We'll appreciate his concern with people life in organizations so that he talked about destruction forces ,Fear, training and education , Trust , cooperation, money and other havingness as the means of motivation?

I believe in our last transparent film we can appreciate some of Deming's Faith, Hope and Love. But I think some of his stories can help us understand my points.

(Stories skipped.)

Let's review some of Demingism as our understand of Deming Philosophy.

We'll have two group discussions for Transformation and Leadership and Continuous Improvement today and I wish we have a good conference.


1. 用什麼方法?By What Method?




2. 知識無可取代There's No Substitute For Knowledge


資訊 + 理論 = 知識

在戴明循環(PDSA,Plan, Do, Study, Act)中不斷地應用知識,可造就持續改善。



3. 他們要如何領會?How Could They Know?




  • 部門間存有相互學習的障礙時,可用戴明的哲理進行教育訓練。
  • 未對方法作明確的解說時。
  • 對員工不知道的事情不宜有所苛責。
  1. 為什人不知善用紙筆?

Why is it a pencil and a piece of paper seem to be so scarce?


  1. 一個大家都視為理所當然的例子A Stupid Example

有時候顯然易見(Stupid)的案例案例最好,因為它很容易記住。戴明博士曾用許多案例來證實此論點。一位沒有數學中組合概念的人,縱使儘其全力,也無法打開六位數的號碼鎖。組織的存活並無必然的保證(Survival isn't mandatory.),每個人都知道這個道理,每個人都知道要合作才能生存。你可想像當火災發生時,人人都想第一個奪門而出的混亂場面

6. 錯誤Wrong



  1. 盡心盡力的員工只是儘其所能地工作

Willing Workers Just Doing Their Best

戴明博士在紅珠實驗中創造了「盡心盡身的員工」(Willing Worker)一詞,他覺得一般人儘全力工作,然系統之內在限制卻妨礙了其績效。系統控制大部份可能的改變;但是有一人(按:經營管理負責人)能影響它。所以不要處分員工,而應把注意力集中在系統內的所有元素上。


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