Work and Love

31 min read

Never mind that it hasn’t turned out quite as Matsushita predicted.  What’s important is to recognize that Japanese industry, inspired by Deming, made a discovery and instituted a transformation so radical that it was enabled, at least for a period of several decades, to lead the world in technological and manufacturing excellence. Japanese business leaders used to joke among themselves that delegations from the West would come to visit their factories, taking photographs of everything in sight, but missing the only thing of value because it was invisible.  The key words in Matsushita’s interview are “mindset” and “intelligence”, neither of which can be captured by a camera.  When Matsushita said, “We are beyond your mindset”, he meant they had made a leap in consciousness, which enabled them to operate from a different context.

Successful managers in the early part of the 20th Century were those with keen analytic minds, able to draw rational and logical conclusions based on their observations of the individual elements of linear work processes.  By the end of that century, analysis and logic, though still necessary, had become insufficient.  Optimizing the present was no longer enough; creating the future had become essential.

Deming’s profound knowledge, and his 14 points for management described in Out of the Crisis (1982), led to more than just an improvement in productivity.  For example, his approach demonstrated that enhanced quality could be achieved with lower costs.  This shift produced a breakthrough in contextual thinking, which redefined the nature of an organization and the essence of leadership.  An organization is that emergent whole, which is greater than the sum of its parts; and leadership is the ability and the commitment to capture and mobilize “every ounce of intelligence” in the organization.

Emotional Intelligence, published by Daniel Goleman in 1995, became an overnight best seller in the United States and many other parts of the world.  It obviously struck a receptive nerve.  Mobilizing intelligence now meant not only marshaling facts nor even analyzing those facts to produce insight.  Suddenly a new domain of intelligence had been brought into play.

Where Fitzgerald’s characterization of superior intelligence spoke of a mind that could hold two opposing ideas at the same time, Goleman had made the matter even more complex.  Now we must consider a mind that can hold two apparently opposing domains – the abstract mental and the sensory emotional.

Harmonizing opposing ideas and opposing domains are, of course, very different from each other.  What they have in common, however, is the necessity for a kind of consciousness that transcends a dichotomy inherent in the usual way of perceiving the world.

To avoid any appearance of New Age mysticism in this discussion, let’s consider a very down-to-earth understanding of what a leap of consciousness actually is. 

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