What if every firefighter followed the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and 18 Watch Out Situations? Would there ever be another firefighting injury? Or, what if standard plans and processes were followed by every operator, to the letter; would defect-free parts be produced time and again? Would the resulting parts be identical and then "fit" into a sub-assembly and the many sub-assemblies into an airplane, smart phone, or fire truck? The planning model of interchangeable parts, with major contribution often given to Honore Blanc, who resided in France in the late 1700's, offers such a vision, with an outcome of products, processes, and services that "work" (as planned), including zero fight fighting fatalities. The American System of Manufacturing followed shortly thereafter when Thomas Jefferson's implementation vision was shared with Eli Whitney, leading to the first-ever contract with the US Congress for a product made with interchangeable parts. Make that perfectly interchangeable parts, including those who fabricate them and those who fight fires.
Such a simple model is founded upon assumptions that include no variation in the interpretation of the standard processes and no variation in how the steps are followed; leading to no variation parts and, further along, no variation in sub-assembly fit and no variation in system performance. For firefighters, add the belief that reaction times are faster than changes in fire conditions. Other than constant daily reminders of the existence of variation, from non-identical twins to non-identical snow flakes to finite and variable reaction times, one might lapse and believe such a Utopian tale of a digital universe. For clarity, such a system could be referred to as a Macro System Model, which, like all models, can be said to be wrong, but, at times, extremely useful for planning. As a fitting complement, consider the existence of a Micro System Model, in which variation is acknowledged, monitored, and maintained, if not purposely reduced or expanded. In such a model, parts are acknowledged be "parts of" something larger and then again so, with the Macro System Model offering an ever useful frame of reference for views from a distance.
If you're interested in exploring the limitless implications of the awareness of managing both Macro and Micro System Models, we invite you to join with peers at the In2:InThinking Network 2012 Forum in Los Angeles, California on April 19th through 24th. This year, our ever timely focus will be;
"Leading with Better Questions"
For reservations or more information, visit our 2012 Forum website at www.in2in.org/forums/2012 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Forum registration fee is $400 for the weekend Conference, with free attendance (without paid weekend Conference attendance) for 16 Pre-Conference sessions and 5 Post-Conference sessions, plus one Post-Conference for $40.