Reality Check: Quality for Life

My introduction to Dr. Glasser’s work was accidental.
Wherever there are miserable people, Dr. Glasser encouraged learning and using choice theory. He counseled and wrote about relationships, marriage, families, addictions, health, and schools.
There’s also plenty of misery in workplaces. When Glasser turned his attention there, he came across the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
Now, Deming is well known in manufacturing and management circles as a “quality guru.” Much of his work was statistical; for example, he used statistical charts to improve the quality of manufactured goods. However, it was not all about numbers for Deming.Deming recognized that it is more satisfying to do quality work that we can be proud of rather than shoddy work that we are ashamed of. To that end, he created a 14 point management method.
You don’t need to be a high-powered manager to benefit from Deming’s work. As managers of our own lives, we can use those points to improve the quality of our lives.
An example comes from Deming’s first point: “create constancy of purpose.” We all have the problems of today, but being clear about what we want for tomorrow—the long term—can guide us toward making more effective decisions today.
This long-term view is harmonious with Glasser’s and with many others. The current popular interest in sustainability, for example, is simply taking the long term view.
For a company or organization, constancy of purpose is often defined in a mission statement. For example, the Community College mission is “building Nova Scotia’s economy and quality of life through education and innovation.”
What about individuals? How might each of us create constancy of purpose in our lives?
If a mission statement sounds too official, just ask yourself, “What do I stand for? What matters to me? What do I want to accomplish?” It’s worth taking a few minutes, (now is a good time) to think about those questions and write down your answers.
For example, I wish to continue living on the south shore, amongst thriving businesses, where there is workforce with the education and attitudes to support and grow those businesses. Thus, my purpose is to help people become members of an employable and well-employed workforce.
For a mission statement to be effective, of course, it needs to guide one’s actions.
Back to my introduction to Dr. Glasser. His book, “The Control Theory Manager” combined choice theory (then called control theory) with Deming’s quality wisdom. The goal was to improve workplaces.
As I had already studied and respected Deming’s quality and statistical methods, this reference to Deming gave the work credibility in my eyes. Subsequently, as I studied and practiced Glasser’s choice theory and found it effective, his work began to stand on its own merit.
I continue to be grateful to Richard Nichols for telling me about the Deming-Glasser connection. Had choice theory not been introduced to me via Deming, I would likely have dismissed it as too “touchy-feely” for me. A nice reminder of how perceptual filters work, eh?
Do you have constancy of purpose in your life?

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