Tag Archive: Personality

Prepared for the 18th International Deming Research Seminar at Fordham University, NY, NY

Frank J. Lucatelli, Personal Intelligence, LLC; Frank@Lucatelli.org

3 January 2012

Abstract (Click on the word “Abstract” for a full copy of this paper)

A fresh look at Deming’s “Profound System of Knowledge” demonstrates that additional systematic development of “Psychology” and a “Theory of Knowledge” on a par with the study of “Variation” and an “Appreciation of Systems” accelerates the application of Deming’s Quality system in business and industry.


Executive Summary

Linking the psychology of personality with Deming’s Quality system promises to be a source of wealth for manufacturing and other organizations because it resolves long-standing issues regarding the acceptance of the Deming Quality model as the default method for productive organizations. For example:

The impression that Quality systems are too complicated to implement is resolved by training practitioners to focus upon easily comprehensible roles within the system, without simplifying the overall Quality system and losing the benefits of its complexity and comprehensiveness.

High performing executives and managers are offended by the implication that somehow what they know in their gut to be effective is not useful within a Quality system. This is resolved by connecting innate strengths with the appropriate role within the Quality system and showing how what they know deeply can be used more effectively.

The perception that the Deming Quality system is a lifeless, robotic, rule-driven operation, lacking crea-tivity and individual initiative is resolved by tapping into unique individual capacities and aspirations. The most effective use of Quality systems is to harness the inherent wealth-creating potential of every member of the organization; not to force people to perform unnatural and difficult to understand procedures.

The expectation that training will be too expensive and time consuming is resolved by initially connecting Deming’s principles with the personality characteristics of key staff, and eventually through modeling of this new approach, all members of the organization will appreciate the common sense of the system.

This new blended model also has the effect of making the Quality system a much more robust method at a time in history when it is timely for the restitution of manufacturing to its position of primacy in the Unites States. It is the author’s premiss that the urgent and important need for the equitable treatment of workers and salaried employees will drive the re-invigoration of US manufacturing. These are game-changing shifts in attitude that become possible with the integration of practical psychology into this system of profound knowledge, as W. Edwards Deming himself, has originally envisioned.

A simple version of this is presented, which leads to Deming’s principles organized according to the same logical scheme used in the Personality Insight model. The parallel relationship, between personality archetypes and principles of Quality systems, is examined. A-Priori Modal Analysis (APMA), a new method for logical analysis and systems development, reveals that there exist two diametrically opposing, but complementary, sets of principles within Deming’s list, and that their effective application must be sensitive to the timing of the work process. The careful use of one principle should not cancel the effect of another. Think of this timing as if you were pushing a child on a swing. The principle of pushing sends the swing higher, the principle of gravity brings it back for another push.

APMA analysis is used to organize W. Edwards Deming’s Quality system principles. It is shown how the principles outlined by Deming have a one-to-one correspondence with a set of personality modes, and how recognition and use of this information can greatly accelerate training in Deming’s Quality system.


A significant discovery regarding W. Edwards Deming‘s Total Quality Management has been made. Personality Insight, a personality assessment instrument of Personal Intelligence, LLC, is able to correlate an individual’s personality modes with W. Edwards Deming’s TQM principals. This breakthrough makes it possible to link individual creativity with an established method for excellence in production. The promise that this holds is that American individualism may be harnessed to reinvigorate American manufacturing by re-energizing the connection between the worker and production on the one hand and infusing creativity into management and Deming’s continuous improvement on the other. The following discusses the implications of this discovery.

PSYCHOLOGY: A key to accelerating the implementation of Deming’s TQM

An Introduction

Frank J. Lucatelli, Principal; Personal Intelligence, LLC

6 November 2011

Historically, there has been a disproportionate development of Deming’s “system of profound knowledge,” favoring attention to systematic understanding and application of the “knowledge of variation” in a context that engenders an “appreciation for a system;” at the expense of “psychology” based upon a sound “theory of knowledge.” Further advancement of Deming’s system of profound knowledge may be had by giving balanced attention to the latter two foci. The author claims that a similar in-depth effort in psychology and a theory of knowledge that matches the work already on-going in systematic variation analysis can begin to re-energize the fading interest in Deming’s work.

It is timely to take a fresh look at Deming’s work through the eyes of psychology, based upon a full, more robust, implementation of an inherent theory of knowledge. American industry needs to be rejuvenated to recover from the current economic malaise; reintegrating a decimated industrial base.

The author’s opinion is that TQM has stalled in the United States because of issues pertaining to the acceptance of Deming’s system by individual industry leaders. There is a paradox to Deming’s work: in that it is a complex system of ideas, necessarily so, in order to grapple with the actual complexity of organizational activity; this very complexity prevents industry leaders from embracing Deming’s system. However, complexity is unnecessarily seen as complicated or cumbersome.

The plethora of specialized applications of Deming’s ideas such as “continuous improvement,” “Six-Sigma,” “Total Quality Management (TQM),” “Toyota Production System (TPS),” “Operational Excellence,” “Lean Production,” etc. are each attempts to simplify the complexity of Deming’s ideas, hoping to foster broader acceptance in the workplace, but risk oversimplification of TQM.

Current psychological applications for enhancing Deming’s work are typically externally-focused exercises presenting how all people think, for example, the “Six Hat” method by Edward de Bono, among many others. From a psychological perspective, the author has found a set of personality types, within the Personality Insight™ assessment instrument of Personal Intelligence, LLC™, each favoring a specific principle among Deming’s Fourteen Principles; a one-to-one correspondence. This means, rather than simplifying the general content so all people can easily understand a complex system, it is possible by assessing an individual’s personality, to learn which of Deming’s Fourteen Principles is most likely to have deep, profound, meaning for that specific individual. Not all people think alike; even, not all people favor thinking as a primary mode of coping!

Instead of all key leaders in an organization being trained to understand Deming’s system at the same level of depth and with the same approach, the author proposes that individual leaders be coached to use the specific aspect of Deming’s work, that profoundly resonates with that specific person. Namely, facilitate the particular principle(s) that matches one’s personality type(s).

Because Deming’s system IS profound, the Fourteen Principles are deeply inter-connected. The result is, whichever principle that a person uses to acquaint him or her self to Deming’s system, it will ultimately lead the person to an in-depth understanding of the whole system. Further, specialization in aspects of Deming’s system within an organization will foster a higher level of personal creativity in application, and result in a more productive, safer and livelier organization.

The systematic application of profound psychological information, in concert with established knowledge about systems and variation that benefits individual leaders and their organizations, is an opportunity to jump-start the American economy and likely lead to out-performing past accomplishments.

Our research in applying the Personality Insight assessment instrument has uncovered counter-intuitive results. Much advice to career seekers points them to develop and work in areas of their strength. While this is good advice for some people to follow, we have found that a far stronger motivation for many career seekers is to seek out areas of employment that expose them to areas where their strengths are less than average; areas where learning and applying what was learned does not come naturally. Career seekers of this type might ask: “Why am I not so interested in doing those things that I know that I can do well?” “Why do I keep working at something that hardly ever works out for me?”

There are a few terms that should be clarified, so this realization about the ideal work world for many people makes sense. The terms: core modes, dominant modes, blind spots and sensitivities don’t refer to specific personality characteristics, but rather the relationship that one has with their own personality characteristics.

A “core mode” is a strength that is so obvious to a person that he or she can’t not use it. (The double negative is intended.) This is a major strength and everyone has two such strengths, one that is dedicated to learning and one that is dedicated to applications. Sometimes the two different approaches are the same for a given person. These are the serious issues for a person; they are the things one finds oneself doing in emergencies when there is no time to waste.

A “dominant mode” is a high strength, sometimes stronger than a person’s core modes, but one in which the person does not feel compelled to use, even though great enjoyment is derived from using it. This is the place where one likes to play.

A “blind spot” is a mode in which a person has no natural interest. Like the blind spot in one’s eye, it can be experienced but not without great indirection. This is a mode that is not obvious to a person. Here is where people bump into walls.

A “sensitivity” is a mode that is known to the individual, but one in that is problematic to the individual. It is a less than average capacity. It seems to the person, that no matter how hard one tries, there is always something that seems to slip through the cracks. These are the characteristics where one can expect parents and teachers to complain most about performance.

All of the above may be applied to either one’s approach to learning or application. Most people favor different personality characteristics when learning compared to applying what is known.

It’s the core modes and dominant modes that most advisers will identify as pointing to a successful career. Why not work in an area where you have naturally high capacities? Here’s why. For some people, there can be nothing more boring! This is not applicable for all people, because of differences in personality structure, but for those with a particular personality structure, choosing a career could become very easy if they realized just one small thing about themselves. The best career choice is the area where one both has a sensitivity in the way one learns in the area and also the way one applies oneself.

So why does this backwards idea make sense?

Sensitivities are the areas of activity that are like mysteries to to the person who has this relationship to a given personality characteristic. One knows what is happening in these areas is real because there is a sense of the need for it. Although the person is able to function in this area; success is hit and miss. In spite of all the trouble one has in this mysterious area, sensitivities are sources of endless fascination. It feels like gambling when one operates here. Most of the time the person gets by, breaks even. Often they lose, things don’t quite work out. But every now and then, the person hits the jackpot here. It is overwhelming and surprising how well things worked out, and it’s imagined, “I can do this again!” These sensitive modes are below average ability where most of the corrective advice that was received growing up occurred; the areas where the same mistakes were repeated, over and over.

The technique for making this seemingly backward approach to a career work out, is to let the area of double sensitivity be the field to enter as a career, but use one’s core and dominant modes to serve that field. This places the worker in an environment that will never be dull, while using higher capacities to serve that environment. Boredom never sets in because the outcome is never fully certain, which is challenging to ones strengths. Every success, reveals more of the mystery. Although, the mystery is deep, one’s strengths are capable of meeting the challenge. By establishing this relationship between one’s strengths and sensitivities, this type of worker will always go the extra mile to ensure success. There is a deeper appreciation of the real nature of each problem tackled in a sensitive area. By not working directly on the area of sensitivity, the core and dominant strengths overcome the difficulties that arise. Because of the deep interest in the results, the client is served well, and the insights gained in the process are usually insightful in a way that focusing purely on one’s strengths can never be.

The Personality Insight assessment instrument, is able to measure a person’s fascination with certain kinds of activity; not a specific career, but any career where the qualifying activity is a central experience.

Imagine workers who are expert in Total Quality Management (TQM) who are personally unable to make things on demand. They think that the ability of systems and machines to make the same part, over and over within tight tolerances, for as long as one wishes, to be nothing short of miraculous. Each new part to be produced is a new and exciting opportunity to make the world better in some way, not just for one other person but for many people.

Also there are career counselors who finds it problematic to make long-term decisions, but are captivated by the decision processes that others go through to make life decisions for themselves. Every career client is a new and unprecedented search for life meaning.

Consider family counselors who are baffled by the choices that families or groups might choose for themselves. The family counselor sees each group or family as an opportunity to find a new and exciting way for people to interact creatively and beneficially with each other. Each family situation is seen in terms of the specific individuals involved, not just a formulaic service.

Those career professionals who maintain a high level of excitement and enthusiasm about their work over the life of their career, communicate that excitement to their clients. The very people that you think might be the worst person for a career are paradoxically the best. Not because they directly work with what to them seems miraculous, but because they use their best skills and abilities in the service of the mysterious, turning numbing drudgery into contagious joy.