The People vs. System Conundrum
I’ve seen recently that some folks have difficulty reconciling Deming’s 95% rule:
“Dr. Deming taught me that 95% of the performance of an organization is attributable to the system (processes, technology, work design, regulations, etc.) and [only] 5% is attributable to the individual.”
~ Tripp Babbitt
with Jerry Weinberg’s Second Law of Consulting:
“No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem.”
~ Jerry Weinberg
I can appreciate the dilemma, but resolve it myself thusly:
Even better is having the people (the workers) change the system themselves (with the active participation of management, so everyone can share the normative learning experience).
“It’s easier to act our way into a new way of thinking, than think our way into a new way of acting.”
~ Jerry Sternin, The Power of Positive Deviance
And how might we all decide what changes to make to the system? Just apply the Antimatter Principle. The most effective knowledge-work system – and organisation – is one in which eveyone’s needs get attended to.