The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Institute Training on the Job

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“Institute training on the job” is point 8 in W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points for management.

Dr. Deming’s management system was focused on creating a work environment that allowed people to take pride in their work by letting them contribute fully. So many workplaces waste the abilities of people and in doing so demoralize them and create organizations that are ineffective.

In creating a management system that focuses on allowing people to contribute everything they have to offer it is important to invest in those people. People can do wonderful things if given the opportunity. But you can also set people up to fail by relying on them to succeed but not giving them the proper tools to succeed.

A quote from W. Edwards Deming from Out of the Crisis is included in our previous post, People are Part of the Management System:

People are part of the system; they need help… Many people think of machinery and data processing when I mention system. Few of them know that recruitment, training, supervision, and aids to production workers are part of the system.

While training is important, make sure your training is part of a management system that works. The type of training shown in the red beads experiment doesn’t help. Telling workers to do what they are trained to do, and not to think, question and experiment is the opposite of what is desired.

The training that is needed is how to successfully experiment to improve the results created by the organization. To do this an understanding of variation is critical. And training in how to understand the organization as a system is critical. The training needed is that training that allows people to succeed when given the opportunity to use their brains to continual improve.

People naturally want to do well. But as Dr. Deming said (quoted by Brian Joiner):

Best efforts are not enough, you have to know what to do.

Always remember that each point in Deming’s 14 points are part of one system. They must be understood within that entire system. “Institute training on the job” is meant to be part of a system with all the other points and Dr. Deming emphasized that idea as he updated how he expressed his management system over time.

Good practices to institute training on the job include, training on:

  • understanding variation (understanding what data does, and does not indicate is critical to data based decision making)
  • how to use standard work instructions
  • creating and understanding process flowcharts
  • how to use PDSA to experiment, learn and improve
  • job skills (so for example, training new managers and team leaders on how to coach effectively)
  • quality tools (control chart, fishbone diagram, value stream map…)

Related: Knowing How to Manage People Is the Single Most Important Part of ManagementRespect People by Creating a Climate for Joy in WorkGive People Enough Rope (and the Right Rope) to Succeed


Categorised as: education


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