This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.
Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2008 ISSN # 1545-8873
“All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.” — W. Edwards Deming
“The worst part about focusing on keeping out crappy people, however, is that it reflects a belief system that ‘the people make the place.’ The implication is that, once you hire great people and get rid of the bad ones, your work is pretty much done. Yet if you look at large scale studies in everything from automobile industry to the airline industry, or look at Diane Vaughn’s fantastic book on the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the well-crafted report written by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board the evidence is clear: The ‘rule of law crappy systems’ trumps the ‘rule of crappy people.’” —
“The average American worker has fifty interruptions a day, of which seventy percent have nothing to do with work.” — W. Edwards Deming
“Every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it does.” — W. Edwards Deming
In our teaching at the Center for Continuous Improvement, we used the story that, “People generally do not come to work thinking, ‘What can I mess up today?’” They go to work hoping to do their best, in systems and processes that are broken. All their “best efforts” will not overcome poor quality.
Leaders must commit themselves for life to quality and productivity; they cannot delegate it. That means that they understand the systems they own, the meaning of variation, and barriers to pride in workmanship. They must design systems that build in quality and innovation. There is no substitute for knowledge.
Exercises and Action Items
Holding in hand Deming’s 14 Points and System of Profound Knowledge, target a discussion on these questions:
(also refer to questions on pp. 90-92, 156-166 of Out of the Crisis.)
The best educational opportunities are in the works of, and about, W. Edwards Deming (see Publications below).
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement now has free On-demand Courses and and an Open School, which teach many Deming- and quality-related topics.
Key Associates facilitates group experiences that teach Systems Thinking and the harmful effects of internal competition; also holds on-site courses on a number of quality topics.
When queried about “Bad Systems, Good People,” a Google search revealed these prominent themes (thus little education mentioned):
Dr. Deming defining a system: Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Profound Knowledge - Part 1.
Blog on when bad systems happen to good people: When Bad Systems Happen To Good People.
In defense of “business people”and an antidote for bad systems: Why Good People Do Bad Things in Business.
Keyzines on related topics: Spirit at Work, Organizational Culture, Lean Does Not Have to Be Mean, Employees as Customers, Dialogue: Thinking Together, Bureaucracy, Whither Quality, Picture of a Process, and Lean Organizations.
copyright ©2012 by dr. m. k. key on behalf of key associates
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