Leading by Example

"Quality is everyone's responsibility."

—Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is one of the Infinitum Transformation Team's favorite lean leaders. He was a business consultant, statistician, engineer, author, and professor. As a leading management thinker in the field of quality, he played a major role in the post-war WWII recovery in Japan and worked closely with leaders of Japanese industry. Dr. Deming is credited for launching the Total Quality Management movement.

In his book "Out of Crisis" Dr. Deming writes about his "System of Profound Knowledge" which contained four points of views: appreciating a system, understanding variation, psychology, and the theory of profound knowledge. The theory of profound knowledge is a management philosophy grounded in systems theory. It is based on the principle that each organization is composed of interrelated people and processes that are the components of a system. His 14 point Total Quality Management Principles are:

  1. With the aim to be competitive and to stay in business, create jobs and consistency of purpose toward improvement of product and/or service.

  2. Adopt the new management philosophy because the times have changed and America needs to wake up to the challenge, learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

  3. Stop dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection and build quality into the product/service.

  4. Cease the practice of awarding business on the basis of the purchase price of a product/service, and instead minimize total cost. Business relationships are long-term and are built on loyalty and trust.

  5. Constantly improve the system of production and service and drive down cost.

  6. Institute training on the job is a must.

  7. Leadership should aim to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job.

  8. So that everyone may work effectively for the company, drive out fear.

  9. Break down barriers between departments to create cross-functional teams to foresee problems of production/service.

  10. Eliminate slogans and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity as they create adversarial relationships because the main cause of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and beyond the control of the workforce.

  11. Remove barriers that rob hourly people of their right to have pride in their work. It is the responsibility of leaders to provide focus on quality first.

  12. Remove barriers that rob salaried people of their right to have pride in their work. This means the termination of annual or merit rating and of management by objective.

  13. Institute a robust education and self-improvement program.

  14. Everyone should be working on accomplishing transformation as it is everybody’s job.

In addition to the above philosophy and management principles, Deming is the creator of the Deming Cycle, also known as a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) or PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act). This lean methodology is a continuous quality improvement tool consisting of four repetitive steps in a logical sequence for continuous improvement and learning. This lean tool is best used for small rather than complex problems.

Dr. Deming was certainly a leader in the quality management field. He led by example over a lifetime of teaching others that there is a better way to lead. We believe that part of his success was that he understood people and how they worked. We recommend watching the Red Bead Experiment. The Infinitum Transformation Team understands people and how they connect to the complexities of a healthcare system and their required involvement in quality.

"All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride."

—Dr. W. Edwards Deming

References

  • Brainy Quote. W. Edward Deming, "Quality is everyone's responsibility." Web Address: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/w_edwards_deming_378714

  • Brainy Quote. W. Edward Deming, "All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride." Web Address: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/w_edwards_deming_380787

  • Dr. Barbara Berry. 2011. Web Address: http://www.berrywood.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/DemingPaper.pdf

  • Mind Tools. 14 point Total Quality Management Principles. Web address: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_75.htm

  • Wikipedia. Last updated January 18, 2019. Web address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming