Sometimes we struggle to make a change, finally get it done, and just a short time later find ourselves back where we started again.
I've seen these loops over and over again.
It makes me think of a quote that has become famous in process engineering circles:
“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”
The quote was inspired by – and often misattributed to – W.E. Deming, the man considered the father of quality management.
Deming's insight was that when a factory produces a faulty part it is because the system to make the part is broken.
There's no other blame to go around — just fix the system.
What can this teach us?
Life and work is just a factory: we have inputs, systems, and results.
The systems are perfect for the results they get.
So if we keep getting bad results it's time to diagnose the system.
Here's a system I discovered about my own health:
This process whipped me back and forth for years.
I never noticed how obvious it was until I wrote it down.
Once sketched out, it was clear that the highest leverage point was to remove step 3.
Today I'm healthier than I have been in a long time because I focus on never getting injured.
Do you have a loop that keeps producing broken results?
Consider drawing it out: inputs, systems, and results.
Use your drawing to see where it's broken, and then break the loop.