Deming to the Editor of Time Magazine 1981;

Dear Sir,
Your article about Japan in TIME for 30 March 1981 is excellent, but the paragraph concerning my work is ridiculous and can do a lot of harm to American industry at the very time when they need guidance.
Dr. Deming did not just give a lecture in 1950. He gave 35 lectures in the summer of 1950 to engineers and to top management. Six months later he was there again, and six months after that yet again. He has made 19 trips to Japan.
One trouble with American industry today is that top management supposes that one lecture or one day will do it.

“Come, spend a day with us, and do for us what you did for Japan, that we too may be saved.”

It is not so simple. Few people in top management in America understand their responsibilities and know that they must serve a life term on quality and productivity from now on, under competent leadership. (Emphasis added)

My Thoughts

This is still prevalent today. With many managerial and organizational professionals operating in a manner similar to Alchemy. The idea of a ‘quick-fix’ the ‘magic method or tool’ that will save the company is sought after and we still pay for this search, even after repeatedly failing to find it.

It is not so simple.

The organizational structure must be one that releases peoples capacity to be creative, solve problems and exercise their competency. This comes from a consistent effort and the proper systems-in-place to attract trust and for people to follow along in conjunction with, where the organization and management is heading.

  1. Slow Down and take some time to determine how whatever idea, method, training, coaching, tool, etc… can be used to move closer to your target condition (what you want to achieve).
  2. What’s currently happening that makes you realize that this is not working? (what is the actual condition right now)
  3. Once the organization or people are using this, how will we know that they are using it? What will the organization, people be doing – that they are not doing now? What Else?
  4. If you effectively use this to achieve the results you want, how will you know? (in what way will you measure progress / regress)
  5. What is our 1st step in using this to move closer the where we want to be?
  6. When can we go-and-see what is happening and how it is being used?

There are NO quick fixes to Management and Quality. There are smart methodical successes that you can learn from, understand and then master to create small improvements within your organization and managerial-leadership.

 What do you think?

Are Deming’s ideas still applicable to today? How do you move to create improvements with management in you organization and life? Do you have any examples of systems that continuously create improvements?