Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rocket Science To Disciplined Success Capturing! By Andres Agostini

Dr. Vernon Grose, D.Sc.:

“DISCIPLINES OF THOUGHT….As might be expected, the first set of disciplines involves thinking. The systems approach employs orderly inductive logic. That simply means to think or reason by going from particular facts to general conclusions. This type of thought is also the backbone of the scientific method. The inverse – deductive thought, which reasons from general principles to specific conclusions – is also used at times. But it is of less importance …. A second mental discipline seeks totality of understanding. The objective of this discipline is omniscience, or unlimited knowledge of a system, its use environments, and its risks. This idealistic goal is never reached, of course, even though is vigorously pursued. Two quite different kinds of understanding are combined …. Theoretically understanding is related to comprehending how all the elements in a system (for example, physical plant, products produced, personnel employed, management policies, and accounting methods) are intended to interact with one another. In contrast, practical understanding is knowing how these factors actually work together in a real world …. The third discipline of thought – continued challenge in depth – emphasizes the fact that professional managers can never relax in the comfort of all their analyses. Constant vigilance and sustained questioning – ‘What if such and such happens?’ – is essential …. The three disciplines of thought collectively identify the problems that must be solved in the system. They also produce a qualitative picture of the system … DISCIPLINE OF TECHNIQUE …. The problems that have been identified by disciplines of thought are next resolved by a second set of disciplines – those of technique …. Specific mathematical tools used in risk management are not expounded here. However, Boolean algebra and set theory – as well as probabilistic logic, statistical mechanics, and other calculative modeling methods – are widely employed to solve complex problems in a system …. Complexity of most systems also forces the use of system analysis methods to solve difficult problems. Several types (for example, Fault Tree Analysis or Hazard Mode and Effect Analysis) that are used extensively in risk-related issues …. Automatic processing capability by computers makes a considerable technical contribution to solving system problems. For example, many functions formerly performed by people can be much more rapidly and efficiently done by computers …. These three problem-solving techniques, taken together, also produce quantitative assurance that the system is adequate for its intended objectives …. DISCIPLINES OF PROCEDURE … One of the greatest differences between the systems approach to problem solving and other choices lies in this third set of disciplines. In fact, it is the easiest way to tell whether a problem has been attacked systematically or not …. stimulated the establishment of procedural disciplines. Paperwork and records are anathemas to everyone who has to create them. Yet, because of complexity, it is necessary to have a documented trail, for several reasons. First, in complicated situations, objective review by someone other than the person who perform a function is generally required. Second, …, you need it not only for failure analysis but for success analysis as well! Otherwise, you have to always start over at ‘square one.’ …. There are two major disciplines of procedures. The first – system engineering procedural requirements …. Results of work completed – such as Functional Flow Block Diagrams, resource allocation sheets, and trade-off studies – are documented and retained for future reference …. Complete, unambiguous technical writing is another ideal never reached. But to the degree that the documented information is both complete and free from misunderstanding, the decision-making workload is reduced. This is true both at the time of decision and at later times of reconsideration…..”

Incidentally, many people erroneously think of computers whenever they hear the word “system.”

Graphics and source corresponding to these three disciplines are viewable at http://bit.ly/9XR8IO