The Talent Mirage: How Systems Shape Our Success

Learn to see the world where our success isn’t dictated by innate talent, but by the powerful, often invisible forces around us. Discover how systems and culture play a crucial role in shaping our abilities and why the whole idea of talent is but a captivating illusion.

Let’s talk about the idea of talent and how it’s actually a total illusion. We often attribute a person’s ability, productivity, and success to their innate talent. But, in reality, around 95% of an individual’s accomplishments can be linked to the system in which they operate. Crazy, right?

Think about it this way: the way work works, the environment we’re in, and the support we receive all have a significant impact on an individual’s performance. The right context, resources, and opportunities can make all the difference in unlocking someone’s potential. So, when we see someone excelling, it’s not their raw talent at play, but the entire ecosystem around them. and especially the culture, that’s driving their contribution.

We may choose to recognise that the system plays a massive role in shaping folks’ abilities and contributions. When we do that, we can focus on creating more equitable systems that enable everyone, not just the “talented” few. After all, we’re all missing out on some incredible potential simply because we’re not nurturing it properly!


Unleash Your Inner Maverick: Find the Courage to Think Different

Dare to think different,
Brave the road less traveled by,
Find success ahead.

n business, as in life, it takes a lot of courage to think different. It’s easy to fall into the trap of following the status quo, copying what others have done, and playing it safe. But true innovation and success come from challenging norms and defaults, and taking calculated risks.

Thinking different in business requires the courage to break free from conventional wisdom, challenge assumptions and beliefs, and push boundaries. It means being willing to try new things, even if they haven’t been done before, and being okay with risking the possibility of failure.

And with great risk comes great reward. Businesses that embrace innovative thinking are the ones that stand out from the crowd, attract loyal customers and employees, and ultimately succeed.

So if you want to make a name for yourself in the world of business, don’t be afraid to think different and take bold steps towards the future.

“Have you heard of Bill Deming?”

At every opportunity I ask this question, and the answer is always overwhelmingly “No”.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is a highly influential figure in the world of business, management and quality control, yet many people have never even heard of him.

This is a surprising fact given that his ideas and principles have helped to transform countless organisations around the globe.

Deming’s philosophy is centered on the idea of continuous improvement, where businesses are encouraged to constantly improve their products, services, and processes. His 14 points and System of Profound Knowledge have become a blueprint for achieving this goal, emphasising the importance of appreciation for a system, quality, and employee engagement.

Despite his impact, many people remain unaware of Deming and his contributions to modern business practices. This makes me sad, as his ideas provide a roadmap for businesses struggling to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing world. By learning more about Deming and his principles, organisations gain valuable insights and strategies for success.


Deming’s 14 Points – The Proven Path to Excellence in Business

Deming’s 14 points is a management philosophy developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, which emphasises the importance of continuous improvement in the workplace. The 14 points provide a framework for improving the quality of products and services, reducing costs, and increasing productivity.

The 14 points include concepts such as creating constancy of purpose, adopting a new philosophy, breaking down barriers between departments, improving communication, eliminating numerical quotas, and promoting education and self-improvement among employees.

Deming demonstrated time and again that by implementing these points, organisations could not only improve their bottom line but also create a culture of excellence that would benefit both employees and customers.

Deming’s 14 points have been widely adopted by organisations around the world and have had a significant impact on modern management practices. They continue to be relevant today as businesses strive to remain competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace.


HR Professionals: Well-Meaning Angels, Incompetent Fools

Are HR professionals well-meaning but inept? As crucial as their role may be, their lack of competence in key areas can lead to disastrous outcomes. From misunderstanding company culture to botching employment law, the consequences can be far-reaching. Read on to discover the pitfalls of HR ignorance and its impact on employees and the company’s bottom line.

It is often said that HR people are universally well-meaning, but this does not necessarily translate into competence. While it is true that HR professionals may have the best intentions, their lack of knowledge and understanding in key areas can lead to disastrous outcomes.

One of the main areas where HR professionals fall short is in their lack of understanding of company culture. HR professionals are often brought into an organisation to help maintain a positive work environment, but they may not have a good grasp of what makes that environment positive in the first place. This can lead to policies and practices that are at odds with the company culture, and can ultimately cause more harm than good. Ignorance of even basic psychology and human motivation is lamentable.

Another area where HR professionals may lack competence is in their understanding of employment law. While HR professionals are expected to be experts in this field, many do not have the necessary training or experience to make informed decisions. This can lead to legal issues for the company, and can put employees at risk.

HR professionals may also lack competence in communication. They may not have the skills to effectively communicate with employees, leading to misunderstandings and confusion. This can create a negative work environment and can damage the company’s reputation.

In conclusion, while it is true that HR professionals may have the best intentions, their lack of competence in key areas can be detrimental to both employees and the company as a whole.


Who Was Peter Scholtes and What Did He Say About The System?

Peter Scholtes was a respected author, consultant, and expert on quality management and leadership. He was born on August 29, 1939, in Madison, Wisconsin, and passed away on February 7, 2009. He is best known for his work on quality improvement and management, particularly in the context of the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement.

One of Scholtes’ key contributions to the field of quality management was his emphasis on the importance of understanding and improving the system (the way the work works). He argued that problems are often the result of flawed systems, and that in order to truly improve quality, cost, etc., organisations must focus on improving their systems rather than blaming individuals.

Scholtes also emphasised the importance of involving all employees in the quality improvement process, not just those in leadership positions. He believed that by empowering employees to identify and solve problems within the system, organisations could achieve significant and sustainable improvements.

In his book “The Leader’s Handbook: A Guide to Inspiring Your People and Managing the Daily Workflow,” Scholtes famously stated, “95% of the performance of an organisation is attributable to the system (processes, technology, equipment, materials, and environment) and 5% is attributable to the people. The role of management is to change the system rather than badgering individuals to do better.”

Note: This is often attributed to Bill Deming as “Deming’s 95:5”.

Overall, Scholtes was a significant figure in the field of quality management, and his emphasis on understanding and improving the system continues to be influential today.


ChatGPT on Bill Deming

Photo of Dr. W Edwards Deming

Bill Deming

Request to ChatGPT

Write, in the style of dylan thomas, a lament for the West’s continued ignorance of Bill Deming and his works.

Response from ChatGPT

Do not go gentle into that good night,
West, oh West, in all thy ignorance bright,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light,
For still thou dost not know the name of Deming,

His works, oh how they were ignored by thee,
While others praised and built upon his theories,
Thou wast content to let his wisdom be,
Lost in the annals of history.

How could thou, oh West, be so blind,
To the insights that Deming had to offer,
His writings, oh how they were ahead of their time,
Yet thou didst not see their worth,

Oh West, how thou hast missed the mark,
In thy dismissal of Deming’s work,
For now, oh how we see the truth,
In the failings of thy industry and economy.

But still, oh West, do not despair,
For there is time to learn from Deming’s wisdom,
To embrace his teachings and to mend thy ways,
And to join the ranks of those who thrive.

So do not go gentle into that good night,
West, oh West, in all thy ignorance bright,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light,
And seek the knowledge of Deming.

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