Paul is trying to reduce the number of strokes he swims over 100m. If the tempo of his strokes remains the same while he reduces the number of strokes, he’ll go faster.
‘When you have two data points, it is very likely that one will be different from the other.’
W Edwards Deming
Random variation affects everyone in everything we do. Take two work days, and the length of our commute will vary by a few minutes. Count calories, and it’s highly unlikely that we’ll consume exactly the same number on two different days. Swim 1500m at two triathlons, and your time will not be the same.
To make real, lasting improvements in anything we do, it’s not enough to be an expert in our field of activity, we also need to understand and apply the System of Profound Knowledge. W Edwards Deming initially developed this framework in relation to management of organisations, whether they deliver products or services, in private, public or third sector.
As an Improvement Advisor, I learn every day of the impact that an understanding of Profound Knowledge can have on improving health and social care, and other public services.
So why talk about it here? It can be applied to any area of our lives. To the daily school run; to losing weight and maintaining weightloss; to managing the household budget; to the kids’ bedtime; and yes, to swimming.