Lead By Example - Do The Important Things Better
Modern management practices are often imposed by the forces which require short term results. Back in the 1980s, W. Edwards Deming, a statistician by training, led the charge in seeking to implement a positive alternative for transforming management from this short-sighted objective. We now remember Deming as the philosopher of the ?quality movement".
Deming developed a 14 point program for focusing everyone?s attention on doing the important things better. This program is just as apt today as when he first recommended it to both corporate leaders, who were caught up in shareholder value; and small business owners, who were being too nice to people.
If you have an inkling that your management practices may be creating waste, maybe it?s time to consider these tried and true principles.
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product/service ? becoming competitive, providing jobs, etc. The enemy of constancy of purpose is short-term profits.
2. Adopt the new philosophy - that it?s time to transform management from top to bottom. The enemy is tolerating systems that turn out waste and turn off clients.
3. Cease dependence on mass inspection. The assumption here is that work will be defective. The better (and cheaper) alternative is to build in better quality from the start for every step of the client?s experience with you, your product, and your service.
4. Stop awarding business to vendors on price alone. Deming says, ?Price has no meaning without a measure of the quality being purchased?. Total cost is what matters.
5. Improve constantly and forever the systems of production and service. Improving quality and productivity will constantly decrease costs.
6. Institute on-the-job training. Other kinds and sources of training may be good. But it can be wasted. What people need is on-demand training, just-in-time training on the issues that prevent people from doing a good job, or from meeting customer?s needs.
7. Institute leadership. Plain and simple. Help people and machines to do a better job.
8. Drive out fear. Fear makes people stupid. Arbitrary targets in your business make fear the biggest hidden corrupter of the data to improve systems and processes in the first place.
9. Break down barriers between departments ? that is, look at the process as a whole. We?ve renamed this one ?reengineering? over the years.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce. What do targets accomplish? They stifle teamwork, create adversarial relationships and along with fear, they corrupt data. Drop them.
11. Eliminate quotas on the production floor, and management by numbers and numerical goals. Scary isn?t it? What do you do instead? Substitute real leadership. And this came from a statistician!
12. Remove barriers that rob both workers and management of their right to pride of workmanship. The enemy here is the ever present and ponderous performance and merit rating, and annual review. As he says, statistically, a fair rating is impossible because of the overwhelming determinant of performance ? everyone puts themselves forward as the best and the organization loses.
13. Encourage education and self-improvement. The company will benefit from their expanded knowledge, expertise and contributions. The fear of losing your best people is there whether you support them or not. You win on many counts if you support them.
14. Put everyone to work to accomplish the transformation of management practices. It?s everyone?s business, not just the CEO.
Some of these points are too simple on the surface. Others are counter-intuitive to what we?ve settled for. Which ones will you add to your mission statement for 2006 to do the important things better?
About the Author: Kerri Salls, MBA runs a virtual business school to train, consult and coach small business CEO's and entrepreneurs in 10 key strategies to make more profit in less time. Learn more at http://www.breakthrough-business-school.com/products.html or sign up for a free weekly newsletter at http://www.breakthrough-business-school.com/newsletter.shtml