Systems or brains?


The inspectors think that assuring the management system is ISO-compliant will assure the output quality.  However, John Seddon’s evidence says,

“- in most systems, as much as 95% of performance can be attributed to the system (the design and management of work) and as little as 5% is affected by the behaviour of the individual worker.”

Inspectors might say that this comment validates their views of the ever-evolving but strangely ever-perfect ISO management system.  But being ISO-complaint doesn’t mean the performance is optimised for either the workers or users.  Or that it can deal with the variations life is full of.  So much of the ISO system is about standardising the behaviour of the workers…at least outwardly.

Watch this video to see how understanding the work improves the output in a way that the ISO’s demands don’t: How do we change thinking?

The Witchdoctor also dislikes protocols.  She prefers using brains and explains it thus:

“…What form of learning could be inferior to rote learning, My Black Cat?

Learning by protocol!

That is not a form of learning, stupid cat. Assuming an individual can read, following a protocol requires no learning at all so it cannot be classified as a form of learning.

Protocols originate from the Schoolroom for Zombies.

Protocols are not related in any way to Aide Memoires.

Aide Memoires originate from the user’s brain not from a distant committee of pontificators.

We never, ever use protocols. Brains are much better.

Protocols replace brains.

Protocols are composed by committees.

Protocols are owned by committees.

Protocol users must obey the committees.

Protocol users must disobey their brains.

The brain follows the rule “Use it or lose it.”

Protocols are never wrong because protocol committees are composed of experts.

Experts are never wrong.

When a protocol goes wrong, it is because it was not followed properly.

When a protocol goes wrong the committee is not to blame.

Experts are never wrong.

The minor protocol user with the atrophied brain is to blame.

The minor protocol user with the atrophied brain is dispensible.

The major protocol committee is not.

Experts are never wrong.

No one of any importance will take the blame.

Accountability is lost.

Experts are never wrong...” 

Protocols that go beyond technical issues into the control of human behaviour (that only affects 5% of performance) are part of the system designed to enable inspection:

It’s time to engage the brain and learn what is happening.

It wasn’t designed for doctors, it was designed for factory operatives in the mid-20th Century.  And it’s not the best thing in factories either.

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One Response to Systems or brains?

  1. Jim L. Williams says:

    I just stumbled upon this blog and it is reassuring to find other people in the universe who understand what I understand about the fallacies of ISO standards and other so-called quality activities. I have written a couple of ebooks that are free on Amazon that go into much of the same thinking.

    They are at:

    True Product and Process Excellence Versus Fake Quality and Gimmicks

    http://www.amazon.com/Product-Process-Excellence-Gimmicks-ebook/dp/B008C48XO6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340131878&sr=1-1&keywords=true+product+and+process+excellence

    Process Integrity in Engineering and Manufacturing

    http://www.amazon.com/Process-Integrity-Engineering-Manufacturing-ebook/dp/B008C41DZ2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340131808&sr=1-1&keywords=process+integrity+in+engineering++and+manufacturing

    Thanks for the refreshing insightsl

    Jim Williams

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