Unum: God, Civics, Quality

e pluibus unum

E Pluribus Unum
 Out of many (states, colonies, interests), One Nation Under God,
With Liberty and Justice for All

Updated (unedited) Aug 7, 2022 flad pledge of allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag – Getting to Unum
Presented and Explained by Red Skeleton

      • I — Me; an individual; a committee of one.
      • Pledge — Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
      • Allegiance — My love and my devotion.
      • To the Flag — Our standard. “Old Glory”; a symbol of Freedom. And wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts “Freedom is everybody’s job.”
      • of the United — That means we have all come together.  
      • States — Individual communities that have united into 50 great states; 50 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided by imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that’s love of country —
      • of America.
      • And to the Republic — A Republic: a sovereign state in which power is invested into the representatives chosen by the people to govern; and the government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
      • For which it stands
      • One Nation — Meaning “so blessed by God.”
      • Indivisible — Incapable of being divided.
      • With Liberty — Which is freedom; the right of power for one to live his own life without fears, threats, or any sort of retaliation.
      • And Justice — The principle and qualities of dealing fairly with others.
      • For All — For All. That means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

For a general overview and context for the information provided below to include application relevance to Brown County, Indiana, might be helpful to review the main page of my website:  SuccessThroughQuality.

God, Civics, Quality
Foundational Terms and Concepts

Overall Strategic Concept. Reducing variation from the ideal results in better quality and lower cost to the individual and society. “When  American  military  men  approach  some  serious  situation they are wont  to  write  at  the  head  of  their  directive the  words, “overall  strategic  concept.” There  is wisdom  in  this, as  it  leads  to  clarity  of  thought.”– Winston Churchill

Civics (Citizenship): The branch of political science that deals with civic affairs and the rights and duties of citizens. 128 Civics Questions and Answers for the Naturalization Test 2020 version (PDF)

Quality. Excellent Quality is the result of people doing the right things, right. Efficiency is doing things right; Effectiveness is doing the right things.

    • God is Love. God’s Love is Light. God is Perfect. Perfect is the Ideal. Jesus the standard of perfection.
    • Secular Context: Man defines the ideal. In America by Law, We the People (citizens) define the ideal (more perfect). In Science Fiction, the technology defines the ideal.

Perfection. The ideal. All needs are met “Heaven on Earth” (Garden of Eden). No harm being caused to people because their needs are not being met. An https://asq.org/quality-resources/variationacceptable level of variation.

Evil. The opposite of Perfection, Causing harm to others

Variation. The gap between or difference between the ideal and actual situation.

    • An acceptable degree of variation.  Positive Emotions, Love and Happiness, Some needs being met, People are are happy – Lights are on.
    • An unacceptable degree of variation. – Negative  Emotions – Hate, anger… People are sad or depressed?  Lights are off.
    • Variation is reduced through Continual Improvement by the Individual and by Continuous Improvement by a Group.

Actual Situation. Not perfect; unacceptable degrees of variation. The greater variation from the ideal, the higher the cost to the individual and society.

Spiritual (nonsecular)Context:

    • Actions motivated by Love (meeting the needs of others) result in outcomes where everyone wins, or at least, they are not any worse off in the long-term.
    • When you reduce variation (close the distance) from the actual situation to the Ideal, you are nearer to God, His Love, and His Light, because, more needs are being met, and there is less harm on people because of needs not being met.
    • Anyone that has reduced variation has gotten closer to God – His Love and His Light.
      • Common Example. Showing or receiving an expression love – a kind word, hug, kiss, social media post, inspirational movie or song. It could be just a one-time (fleeting) moment or more routine and common. For Mother Teresa, it was “routine.”
      • Joe Kovacs, in his book: Reaching God Speed: Unlocking the Secret Broadcast Revealing the Mystery of Everything, supports the point.
      • Personal Example – Movie. The movie  I can only imagine” tells the story behind the song with the same name. The song  became one of the most  top-selling (Triple
        ) and listened to singles in Christian music history.  The “lryics ” took about 10 minutes to write and the music another 10.  On the Story that created the conditions that led to the  song  – “It took a lifetime.

        • I can relate.  This post (the song), took a little longer than 20 minutes to put together, but “it took a lifetime.”  Like millions of others, I love the song but The Story was the inspiration that led to a breakthrough.
        • Clip from the movie by the actress playing Amy Grant who introduces the songs and the writer/singer- Bart Millard. How Amy Grant Helped Make MercyMe’s ‘I Can Only Imagine’ Top Christian Song.
    • Darkness. Left Behind. People experience the harm caused by increased variation.
    • Conundrum for Christians? “75% of students leave their faith behind during college.” Ratio Christi.
      • Faith:The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition or statement for which there is not complete evidence; belief in general.”  
      • Given that variation is a constant, “What is being “left” behind?”
Secular Context
    •  Actions include outcomes where some win, some lose, or everyone loses.

Barriers to Improvement: Fear, Motivation, Cognitive Dissonance,  Paradigm Paralysis, acceptance or support for the Status Quo – “The way we always do things around here.”

If you always do what you always did, “on average,” 
you will usually get what you always got. – TJC

References: Quality, Civics, God

Quality Management 

  • Aim of Quality Management: Reduce Variation.
    • W. Edwards Deming: “If I  had  to  reduce  my  message  for  management to  just a  few  words, I’d  say  it all  has  to  do  with  reducing  variation”  (6  Henry  R.  Neave,  The Deming  Dimension  (Knoxville,  TN:  SPC  Press  Inc.,  1990),  p.  57.)


ASQ, The Law of Variation is defined as the difference between an ideal and an actual situation.

    • An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence.
    • The ideal is defined by stakeholders, including direct customers, internal customers, suppliers, society, and shareholders.
    • Reducing the variation stakeholders experience is the key to quality and continuous improvement.
    • Variation usually occurs in four separate areas:
      • Special causes
  • According to the law of variation as defined in the statistical process control fundamental text, Statistical Quality Control Handbook:
    • “Everything varies.” In other words:
      • No two things are exactly alike.
      • “Groups of things from a constant system of causes tend to be predictable.”
        • We can’t predict the behavior or characteristics of any one thing. Predictions only become possible for groups of things where patterns can be observed.
      • If outcomes from systems can be predicted, then it follows that they can be anticipated and managed.
      • Systems determine the majority (85%) if not all (100%) of the result.  When you place good people in a flawed system, the system wins most if not all of time.
        • To improve the outcome, improve processes and systems.
        • Top Management (We the People): Work “ON” the system;
        • Citizens (Employees, Children in School, work “IN” the system.

Consequences of Action and Inaction

    • Variation either gets better or it gets worse
    • The Taguchi Loss Function. The more a product deviates from the ideal (nominal, target, optimum), the higher the cost to the customer and society.
    • “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)

Transformation vs. Spiritual Conversion

    • “The word Metanoia is more suitable than transformation. Metanoia is a Greek word which means penitence, repentance, reorientation of one’s way of life, a spiritual conversion. Transformation means a change of form, shape, or appearance.” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, 1st Edition, p.53)
      • Transformed leadership starts with a transformed individual (and that means you!), by Timothy J. Clark, Apr. 8, 2013.
      • Putting Deming’s principles into action to transform individuals, communities and organizations. Deming’s Individual Transformed, Part II, by Timothy J. Clark, Apr. 10,2013.
        • Includes a follow-on story (Education) referenced below – See  Deadly Diseases, “Are Grades Effective and Fair.” When I told this story in a seminar and brought up the question about common and special causes, she had a student that represented a “special cause.” She took the right actions that resolved the issue. The child’s mother thanked and hugged the teacher – finally, a great solution for her son.
      • Note. Deming was a devout Christian and supported a secular approach to improvement. The word “metanoia” was the only word I recall coming across in his published work, that referred to a non-secular concept – “spiritual conversion.” His conclusion that improvement “all has to do with reducing variation” was also somewhat obscured. I mention this along with some speculation as to reasons in the article referenced above, Transformed leadership starts with a transformed individual.”  I think I now know (high probability) why and I can certainly relate.  Time will tell.

Civics – Citizenship

  • Constitution of the United States: The Preamble. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    • We the People – Citizens, are “Top Management.” “Top Management” is responsible for working “ON the system ” to improve it;  Other stakeholders work “IN” the system to improve it.
  • Article IV, Section 4. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
    • Successfully working towards more “perfect” requires that “We the People” work together to reduce variation.

State of the “Republic” ? 

 The Problem – Represent US

    • “Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people?”
      • “Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of 90% of Americans have essentially no impact at all.”
    • Media Reaction – BBC News: “Study: U.S. is an oligarchy, not a democracy

      What in the world?”

A System Problem – The Prevailing American Style of American Management

    • What is the world’s most underdeveloped nation? With the storehouse of skills and knowledge contained in its millions of unemployed, and with the even more appalling underuse, misuse, and abuse of skills and knowledge in the army of employed people in all ranks in all industries, the United States may be today the most underdeveloped nation in the world.”  W. Edwards Deming

Quality Management. Provides methods and tools for reducing variation.

    • The 7 Basic Tools of Quality can and have been applied by children and adults to resolve 95% of problems.
    • Scope of Change: Three general options. The greater the change, the higher the risk.
      • Sustain and maintain the current system, e.g. status quo.
      • Incremental Improvement.
      • Radical, Revolutionary, Reengeneer, Redesign.

Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ). In general, can range anywhere from 20-40% of budget or sales on the high end and 5-15% on the low. (Reference: Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement.)

Assessment of System PerformanceCounty/Community Capability Maturity Model (CMM).

    • Assessment Scale: (1 – Low; 5 -High).  An assessment at a Level 2 can be acceptable for many. There is a correlation between a Level and the COPQ.

Getting Started – “Critical Mass” of leaders required? Deming estimated that the number of leaders needed to achieve critical mass could be calculated as the square root of the number of people in the organization. So a critical mass for a hundred-person organization would be 10 people.

God  – Christianity

  • God defines perfection – the ideal. Jesus is the standard of perfection.
  • Perfection is described as all needs being met. This results in no harm to people when their needs are not being met, Heaven on Earth – a perfect (acceptable) degree of variation.
  • Earth and Humanity. Unacceptable degree of variation. People’s needs are not perfectly met; People are harmed by unmet needs.

Consequences of Action and Inaction 

Moral Costs:    “…. there  has  been  an  emerging  convergence  of the  two  ways of thinking  that includes  the  consequences  of action  and  We  can  now  do  great evil  without intending  to.  What we need  today  is  more  awareness,  a  wider recognition of how  vast systems  we  are  caught up  in  can  do  terrible  things  and  how  we  can  contribute  to  evil without even  being  conscious  of it.”  (Harvey Cox,  When  Jesus  Came  to  Harvard,  Making  Moral  Choices Today,  Boston,  MA  Houghton  Mifflin Company,  2004,  p.  245-246.)

Organizations Costs – Seven Deadly Diseases of Management – WED

In the third chapter of Out of the Crisis, titled “Diseases and Obstacles,” Dr. Deming explores, in great detail, the diseases listed below:

1. Lack of constancy of purpose to plan a product and service that will have a market and keep the company in business, and provide jobs.

2. Emphasis on short-term profits: short-term thinking (just the opposite from constancy of purpose to stay in business), fed by fear of unfriendly takeover, and by push from bankers and owners for dividends.

3. Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review.

    • This includes the Destructive Effects of Grades in School – Are-grades-effective-and-fair? by Tim Clark
    • Imagine that grades and individual performance appraisals (deadly diseases) were immediately eliminated and everyone  understood “the why.”  This would quickly eliminate the destructive effects (people being harmed), there would be more joy, increased productivity, learning, and innovation. It would send shock waves throughout the world. It would be like flipping a national light switch from off to ON.

4. Mobility of management; job hopping.

5. Management by use only of visible figures, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable.

6. Excessive medical costs. As reported by Dr. Deming in Out of the Crisis (pages 97-98), executives shared with him that the cost of medical care for their employees was amongst their largest overall expenses, not to mention the cost of medical care embedded in the purchase price of what they purchased from their suppliers.

7. Excessive costs of liability, swelled by lawyers that work on contingency fees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s