“Our Problems Are Different” – Not Really

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).

image of quote by Dr. Deming; "A common disease that afflicts management and government administration the world over is the impression that 'Our problems are different.' They are different, to be sure, but the principles that will help to improve quality of product and of service are universal in nature."

It is very common for people to see their situation as special and so different that they can only learn about management from some situation identical to the one they face. But this is a misunderstanding of what learning about better management practices is about. It isn’t an effort to find practices to copy. It is an effort to learn about managing organizations made up of people so that you can apply those ideas to your specific situation.

It is easier to explain why you cannot learn and improve than to put in the effort to learn and improve. But that isn’t a good reason for accepting excuses.

What are the best practices for your organization will differ a bit from another organization. But the principles are the same. No having a recipie to copy is why the iterative nature of the management improvement theory and stratgy Dr. Deming provided is so important.

We must test improvements on a small scale in our organization and adjust and adapt to make it work within our organization. We use the ideas to create a management system that is best for our organization. The principles will be similar across various organization but the details will vary. What we need to learn are the principles and how to iteratively apply those priciples to improve the management of our organization.

Related: Do We Need to Find Management Ideas from Our Industry? No.Deming’s ideas are focused on principles and knowledgeThere is No Instant Pudding, You have to Show Up to Disrupt

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