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Tools, compliance, inspection, targets, standardization . . . and the list goes on.  Service organizations mired in the command and control structures first seen during the industrial revolution.  Left in the wake of this thinking are an assortment of workers and managers disillusioned by the great hope of improvement.

Yet, year after year improvement programs come and go but the wait continues.  The names of the improvement efforts have changed but the carnage left behind piles up.

As a US citizen I have witnessed the disappearance of manufacturing and government dysfunction on a colossal scale.  The mentality is always familiar . . . reduce costs to improve profits and balance budgets.  Instead we get more costs, less control and lower morale.

I’ve made a career out of studying and understanding the path W. Edwards Deming laid out.  Rejected twice in the US; once after WWII and then a shun of his ideas for redesigning management thinking in the years since his death.  Too individualistic some will say and so the undoing of an old Tayloristic way of thinking is stymied.

A different way of thinking is upon us again, with a continuation of Dr. Deming’s principles for service industry.  The thinking about the design and management of work as presented by John Seddon challenges us again.  Mr. Seddon did not come to what Deming discovered from the same path and in the process found a new one.

It’s not for everyone, but for those in service that seek new hope I have a message . . . “The first step is curiosity.”Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at