I was at a speaker at an nGenera Executive Summit recently where one of my co-speakers, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University cited Deming’s “Drive Out Fear” dictum, from his 14 Management Points.
This reminded me of the genius and timelessness behind Deming’s teachings, and inspired me to tackle a couple of posts examining his 14 Points in the context of today’s economy. Dr. W. Edwards Deming was an interesting and key figure in the quality movement. He taught statistical process control (SPC) techniques to World War II workers and applied these methods to help improve crop and food yield during the war.
Regrettably, in the post-war frenzy for American products, he was largely ignored (rejected, even) by American industry. However, due to his early work on the US census, he was invited to help with the census in Japan. As a result, his work became visible to Japanese industry, and was wholeheartedly embraced and built upon by the Japanese, whose cultural inclinations were very compatible with Deming’s teachings. The rest, as they say, is history!
Out Of The Crisis
In 1982, Deming published Out of the Crisis, a classic text that resonates especially strongly today. Deming posited that,
Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.”
As one who has been involved in dozens of organizational transformations over the years – both as a consultant and as a “victim”, I say, “right on!” Out of the Crisis offered a theory of management based on Deming’s 14 Points. I will list them below, then pick a few to examine in each subsequent post. From the perspective of 2009, and our Twitter/Facebook culture, Deming’s language may seem heavy and stilted, but, please, don’t let that put you off!
Deming’s 14 Points
- Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and stay in business, and to provide jobs.
- Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
- Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
- End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
- Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
- Institute training on the job.
- Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
- Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
- Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
- Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
- Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
- Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia,” abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
- Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
- Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.
We will examine each of these in subsequent posts, and place them in the context of the current global economy.