“Can you blame your competitor for your woes?” he would intone to groups of corporate managers. “No. Can you blame the Japanese? No. You did it yourself.” – W. Edwards Deming
The bruising of egos for those in management was a staple when Dr. Deming would speak to such groups. A certain disdain for those in management that didn’t or couldn’t understand the new philosophy. He lacked the natural charisma to charm his audiences and little effort to do so.
The most damaging single group to American lack of competitiveness is management. Labor gets all the headlines as this group has been maligned by all to many . . . anyone for a scape goat? Look to management.
The use of arbitrary numerical goals coupled with the focus on short-term profits are only part of the problem. My recent article in Quality Digest illustrates the need for management to become leaders by getting knowledge through understanding the work and the system in which they work in and influence. This is not someone else’s job, it is the job of management. Boys to Men, girls to women and management to leaders. The right of passage.
The incessant copying of the Japanese is mostly comical at this juncture. We have to speak Japanese to improve? Did Deming ask the Japanese to use American words and phrases in July, 1950? No, he asked them to learn. This requires different thinking than that seeks management to set arbitrary numerical goals. Deming’s famous quote is, “By what method? Different questions lead to different answers.
Management’s active engagement is a requirement, not a like to have. The ignorance of current thinking has to be replaced with knowledge. There is no other way.
Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Learn more about the The 95 Method for service organizations. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.Share This: