Transformation of the Individual – How To Apply Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge To Your Own Life

“The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge.

The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people. Once the individual understands the system of profound knowledge, he will apply its principles in every kind of relationship with other people. He will have a basis for judgment of his own decisions and for transformation of the organizations that he belongs to.”

~ W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics

Changes to culture and society come from significant transformations in how people think. Whether within the context of an organization or in the general context of the world in which we live, change must always be happening. The clinical term for something that is not changing, or growing, is death. So no matter how uncomfortable constant change makes us, it is necessary for survival.

In order to develop a lifestyle that enhances your effort to continually improve, you must create systems that propel you in that direction. Included in those systems will be continual assessment, determining areas that need transformation and growth combined with figuring out solutions to get you there.

Taking a systems approach (appreciation for a system) results in the individual viewing himself or herself in terms of many internal and external interrelated connections and interactions. When all of these connections and interactions are working together toward a common goal the individual can achieve tremendous results.

The knowledge of variation is the next element to implement, which requires asking important performance-related questions, finding the correct answers and then taking the required course of action. This is key to overcoming problems or barriers in your life, and will contribute greatly to your transformation.

What do I know that isn’t so? How can I avoid the mistakes I am in danger of making in my thinking? These are two of the questions that led Dr. Deming to include the theory of knowledge in the System of Profound Knowledge. It is vital to understand how one thinks and acts based on what one believes to be true. Examining one’s own confirmation bias, optimism or pessimism, learning styles, variation in processes, and other self-evaluations will enable one to continue moving forward in one’s transformation.

Finally, a deep understanding of your own systems and the humanity incorporated into them is an implementation of the psychology element of Deming’s SoPK. You are not a machine. You are a human being. You bring extraordinary and unique talents and abilities to everything you attempt. Awareness and acceptance of the value that you alone represent is key to your growth. Motivation can be achieved by utilizing this understanding to remove obstacles that stand in the way of your ultimate life goals. Moving away from fear of failure and instead toward creating an environment where people in one’s life are free to question, experiment, learn, fail, cooperate, and innovate will significantly contribute to an individual’s self-improvement and continual growth.

In conclusion, there are definite benefits to applying Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge to one’s own life. Although originally intended as a business management philosophy, the basic principles of Deming’s SoPK can greatly strengthen the individual as well, leading to important transformation that will positively impact one’s life, surroundings, and the world. If you want to be the change you want to see in the world, why not start within yourself by applying these keys to how you live and begin witnessing the impact they will have.