Dr. Deming’s Seven Diseases Still Haunt the US

W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am reading Joyce Orsini and Diana Deming Cahill’s new book, The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality.  I have not read the entire boo, but thought it would be good material for a series of posts.  The book is an accumulation of Dr. Deming’s articles, papers, etc.  As Out of the Crisis was not a “How to” book, neither is this book.

Early in the book, I am reminded of American managements’ failures.  The decline of American competitiveness and how managing by visible figures alone is fundamental to this decline.

The seven diseases and obstacles that went with Dr. Deming’s 14 points still ring true:

  1. Lack of constancy of purpose
  2. Emphasis of short-term profits
  3. Evaluation of performance, merit rating and annual review.
  4. Mobility of management
  5. Management by use of visible figures.
  6. Excessive medical costs
  7. Excessive costs of liability

Go into any organization worldwide and you are bound to see one or more of these diseases and obstacles obstructing the path to transformation of management.  The real issue is most organizations see these as good things.  The damage is to far removed from management blinded by a combination of financial and operational reports.

I am also reminded that unemployment is a direct result of bad management.  Management is good in finding excuses for their inability to manage.  Reorganization and downsizing is often the answer for managements failure or if you are a consultant you become the target – you have to blame someone.

As many of you know, I am long disappointed with the fads of quality that are steeped in copying the Japanese or even using them as the standard by which we measure good and bad.  Seems we would be better off going to Rosetta Stone and just learning the language as this creates as much value as these fads.  They create a smoke screen to real improvement.

Dr. Deming warned against models for improvement, “none are perfect, some are useful.”  Having seen many methods I have learned the same – all methods can be improved upon.  This, after all, is the challenge of continual improvement.

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 column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn atwww.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

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