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Making things run well

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Most of us don't want to lug around a guru dictionary of the latest quality fads and acronyms or to pour through one to figure out how to start making sense out of work systems made up of various technologies, a myriad of material resources, and a variety of work groups and individuals doing dozens of different tasks. I sure don't need that kind of baggage on a daily basis, but I do need something handy, potent and portable to help me understand complex work systems.

It was 1979 when I first seriously started thinking about how to make things run well, I was then the QWL coordinator for my local union at Chevrolet Gear and Axle Plant in Hamtramack, Michigan. What I needed then, and still find useful, was the philosophical and practical equivalent of a doctor's bag.

The bag had to be portable and contain what would be needed to meet a wide variety of specific organizational needs; keeping in mind that doctors treat all human beings as human beings regardless of age, race and gender, shape or size, because they are all, in essence, human beings, not their unique characteristics.

From the doctor's perspective, all human maladies are diagnosed and treated in much the same way. So it is with organizations; regardless of size, age or products/services.

From the perspective of workers attempting to fulfill their organizational role by doing their assigned task(s), the same organizational diseases (as noted by Dr. Deming(1)) are possible and/or exist in all types of organizations, and are diagnosed and treated in much the same way. Even though most organizations proclaim their absolute uniqueness; all organizations are at the same time different and the same. Organizations, after all are structured to get things done.

That idea/theory/knowledge bag is expressed in the adjacent boxed...