May I have the talking stick?

Joe Kilbride (
Thu, 3 Nov 94 08:33 CST

Thanks to Richard, Charlie and IA for hosting this list. It is exactly what
I have been looking for: kindred spirits in cyberspace.

I do training/consulting for organizations, primarily in Quality and
Process Improvement. In the future, I hope to make greater use of System
Dynamics (SD) in my client work and would love to get back into coaching

My current focus is the interconnections between TQM and SD. While both
obviously derive from similar underlying assumptions about systems, I have
had difficulty making linkages between some of the more visible and widely
known tools of the two fields, namely SPC (statistical process control)
charts and SD models.

This linkage offers a way to talk with knowledgeable TQM/SPC types about
System Dynamics and its potential as a way of understanding and improving
the complex, highly interdependent processes that abound at the highest
levels of most organizations. Most TQMers admit that quality tools like SPC
have been used with great success in production/manufacturing environments,
but have proven less useful when looking at processes that are:
- upstream, like product development, or
- up the organizational ladder, like strategic planning

I hope to be able to show clients wanting to extend their quality
improvement efforts to such decision-intensive areas that SD models are the
tool of choice.

Anyone who has figured out the linkages I have been struggling with, please
feel free to unmuddle and enlighten me. Isn't that what the Learning Org
list is for?

P.S. -- For what it's worth, I'm not wild about the L-O abbreviation being
propagated here either. (Was it Emily who had the same reaction?) Think the
reason is that while there is efficiency in acronyms, there is also danger.
Creating Learning Organizations will require a profound shift and the L-O
acronym somehow suggests a simple, cookie-cutter, initiative-of-the-month.
I believe the quality world has suffered from its multitude of acronyms. It
is somehow easier for non-believers to dismiss "TQM" than "Total Quality
Management." Is there something we can learn from that experience?

Bye for now as I return the stick...

Joe Kilbride

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