Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Initial Motions

  1. The Mission of the Apostle Paul (1st Century A.D.).
  2. The Great Black Death Plague of Europe (starting in 1347).
  3. Napoleon’s conquest of Europe (c. 1806).
  4. The introduction of “The Pill” as a reliable form of birth control (1960).

These four significant moments in history are all tied together. They each appear on the U.S. News and World Report "Nine hidden turning points in history."

It is the ninth member of this list that is regarded as the most intriguing.

In 1950, General MacArthur asked one man to assist the Japanese in rebuilding their war-shattered economy. Within two years, that man had taught his quality theories and methods to business leaders representing over 80% of Japan’s total GNP. Meanwhile, the US focused only on quantity production, turning a deaf ear to the processes, called the Total Quality Movement, and the repeated attempts to introduce his quality wisdom to post-war corporate America.

After 50 years of statistical study number 9 pointed out that in every process there is a beginning and an end. When you focus on the first 15% of that process and
get it correct, you ensure at least 85% of your desired outcome. By focusing on the first 15% of anything, the remaining 85% will effortlessly follow.

Not necessarily the first man to ever create a system and reap the rewards of consistently delivering the same result but definitely the first to turn a country bereft of an economy after World War II into a world power by using the power of systems.

What it is interesting is that he believed that the first 15% was the most important. He believed that the initial motions that were taken would lead to the fulfillment of the original idea or goal.


W. Edwards Deming was the man behind creating the Total Quality Movement and like so many who have taken his lead after him, he spent his life showing others that if a process could get in motion and get moving in the correct direction the power to create greatness was virtually guaranteed.

Plan your work, work your plan and get yourself in motion. The rest will surely take care of itself. Just ask the Japanese or our friend, number 9.

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