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Focus on what you want

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a great speech by Russell Ackoff about systems thinking. The video is “old” (from 1994) but the message is still relevant.

The video features several classic quotes, e.g.

The system is not a sum of its parts. It is the product of their interactions.

I would like to highlight another message in the video: Ackoff talks about importance of the correct motivation for improvement.

Defect is something that’s wrong. Now this should be perfectly obvious: when you get rid of something you don’t want, you don’t necessarily get what you do want. And so, finding deficiencies and getting rid of them is not the way of improving the performance of the system.

Take a look at the part from here and enjoy his great story about TV programs and “fixing” that problem.

I share Ackoff’s opinion about quality improvement programs: they tend to focus on unwanted behavior (defects, waste, cost) rather that desired outcome. And by doing that, they are doomed.

Focusing on the system, its interactions and customer need is much better starting point for an improvement.

You can see the full video in YouTube (about 12 minutes).

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Categories: Agile and Lean, Team work