W. Edwards Deming’s leadership and management method includes a healthy dose of organizational transformation at its core. Throughout his work Deming focuses on 7 Deadly Diseases and 14 Points Way back in 1992 I cross-walked both to the US Forest Service. The Forest Service didn’t fare well then, and still doesn’t in terms of Deming’s essentials. Maybe EMS will help. Maybe it won’t. We’ll have to see how we do with this next big thing for the agency.
My emphasis then and now is to help the Forest Service and other organizations to embrace responsibility for self-improvement in the simplest of ways. Deming’s dreams was similar I believe. In recent years both Peter Senge, e.g. The Fifth Discipline and Margaret Wheatley [pdf] (e.g. A Simpler Way, coauthored with Myron Kellner-Rogers) have followed in Deming’s footsteps. They follow a leadership/management path with a heart, but don’t include or advocate an auditor’s trail—as it may at once violate notions of simplicity and trust.
EMS, on the other hand seems to be a management model that embraces Deming as well, but emphasizes auditing and associated data and information requirements--what used to be called the "paper trail." Does EMS have a heart as well? We’ll see, as our journey continues.
Right now I continue to be very concerned about the data/information systems needed to make EMS work. Will we once-again bury ourselves with process? I also am concerned about whether or not the Forest Service can convince its managers and employees that trust (e.g. Deming's "Drive out fear") is at the core of EMS along with process improvemement.