The Bible isn't normally the first place I'd go to check continuous improvement, and the concept of God as Quality Manager is a little mind-blowing. But I'd got soaked - again - on arrival in Chicago and all I wanted was a long, hot, deep bath with something to read. The hotel room had every luxury bar books, but, hiding at the extreme, darkest, deepest corner of the bedside cabinet, I eventually found a Gideon Bible.
I opened it at random first, and found a double-edged maxim in Proverbs: "Where there is no vision, the people perish". There had to be a very strong vision for major projects like the Garden of Eden or the Temple of Solomon. Genesis shows how God compared his creation with his vision and decided that the results met specification ("behold, it was very good"). The major divergence of opinion I'd have regarding God as Quality Manager, would be his reaction to projects which had not met his expectations. Noah shows how a project can be re-engineered after several unsuccessful improvement attempts, but destroying everything apart from Noah, his ark, his (very extended) family and a selection of animals strikes me as overkill. Understandable, though - there are many times when I'd like to have done the same. Still, God did look for elements which could be saved from disaster - he gave Noah detailed instructions and when it came to the cases of Sodom and Gomorrah later, God did negotiate with Abraham to prevent unnecessary loss of righteous lives.
Skipping forward to the Book of Exodus, I sighed in sympathy with Moses' managerial overload. Fortunately, he had a father-in-law who was brave enough to suggest delegation as a solution ("this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone"). The twin tools Jethro (that's the f-i-l) suggested were organisational structure and training. Everyone had to work in a team and stick together - and agree to all this. Since it was God who provided the Ten Commandments, Moses could demonstrate his own neutrality in the matter and could suggest an external standard for adherence. Somewhere in Exodus, Jethro also emphasies the benefits of training. I'm not sure where, because I was dozing off by then (it had been a very long day). The Bible dropped in the bath and when I'd finally wiped all the foam off it, the place where it fell open was The Song of Solomon: "the joints of thy thighs are like jewels; the work of the hands of a cunning workman". Hmmm.
Did Jethro really invent the Pareto Principle when he said "that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge; so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee"? Or had I got beyond the stage of finding quality principles into a haze of fatigue where anything is quality related? It was obviously time to stop reading and start sleeping - after getting dry, of course.
posted by Dovya R @
11:49 AM : discuss