Quality Systems Inevitably Proliferate
How Systems Evolve
When I first learned to ski in the 1980s, nobody wore a helmet. If you saw a person wearing a helmet you might think they had something wrong with their skull.
Today everyone wears a helmet. If you see a person not wearing a helmet you might think they need to have their head examined.
If you plotted the percentage of people not wearing a helmet over time from then until now it would look like this.
Initially, nearly 100% of skiers didn’t wear helmets. Now nearly 100% of skiers do wear helmets.
The curve from 100% to 0% (or vice-versa) is called a logistic function. Underlying the logistic function is a normal distribution. In a normal distribution of skiers, some were early adopters of helmets and some were late adopters.
New Technologies, New Biologies, New Stories
This kind of change across a population is common.
We see it in the decades of transition from landlines to mobile phones.
And in the transition from early humans to Homo Sapiens.
It is similar in the adoption of electricity, housing, and sanitation systems. There was a time before everything in your life.
How Ideas Proliferate
Sometimes stories seem to be instigated by a single founder. As it seems with religions.
Frequently legend and myth make that process sound like a single person created the movement. Reality isn’t quite that simple.
Founders rely on the ones who came before them.
Founders invite others to their stories.
This transition from one system to another happens similarly for companies, cultures, and people.
What you pay attention to is driven by what you value. What you value creates the system to allocate your attention.
Changing What You Value Changes the System
Here’s how it works in a company as an example. A founder has a business and values something for that business. I’ll leave “values something” just sitting there for a moment. The founder looks at the results of the business as measured by data that the system is producing. The founder uses a value system to decide if “Good” then keep going. If “Bad” then Do Something. “Doing Something” means first figuring out if your mind has to change or the system has to change. figuring out where the Intention and the Rowset aren’t well enough defined to get the results you were looking for.