Professor Ravi Roy, Director of the W. Edwards Deming Incubator for Public Affairs at Southern Utah University spoke at the Deming Management in Public Administration Conference earlier this year on Public Administration: Past, Present, and Future.
Systemic transformations are rooted in a profound shift in shared mental models.
Ravi Roy discusses the importance of trust in building an effective organization:
leadership creating relationships, building trust.
And Ravi discusses how important Deming’s integrated System of Profound Knowledge is to build trust and thus build organizations capable of transforming to adopt better management practices. As those familiar with Deming’s ideas know, psychology is one of the 4 elements making up the system of profound knowledge.
Those organizations that can delight customers today and take the steps today that position the organization to delight customers in the future will prosper and grow. But building and maintaining a management culture that reinforces delighting customers and long term thinking is quite difficult.
I have trouble finding businesses that are focused on delighting customers. It is easy to understand the results I see from the businesses I interact with coming from a company with a short term focus on spreadsheets, without respect for customers or employees and without an appreciation for the organization as a system.
There are many reasons I support and wish to see the wider adoption of Deming’s ideas. And one of those is purely the purely selfish desire of wishing to cast aside the businesses that I must deal with that don’t succeed (or even try) to delight customers.
If I can just do business with an alternate company that is fine with me. Unfortunately companies that reliably delight customers are so rare that often I can find no alternatives for a given need that I have.
My life would be better if I could replace companies that force me to put up with the results of their poor management system with companies practicing Deming’s ideas. For that reason, and others, I hope that those that have been following this blog over the years are successful in transforming their organizations to adopt the management practices Deming promoted.
And Sharon states the data available can be used to understand the system but the data is very weak for evaluating individual teachers. However school systems throughout the country as using the data in order to evaluate individual teachers.
I really enjoyed this presentation and the questions and answers at the end. I imagine quite a few of our blog readers won’t be as interested in the first half of the presentation (it is a very focused on some statistical details). If that is the case for you, I suggest moving forward to middle and watching it from there.
There are quotes you can pick to make it seem like executives are responsible for the system and individuals workers have little impact on overall results – “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” This shows the limitation of isolated quotes more than anything else.
Complex systems have many leverage points and can be influenced in many ways. It is unreasonable to have a broken management system and blame those working within it for the naturally poor results than such a system creates. And executives have more authority and thus more responsibility for creating a good management system that is continually improving. But such a management system requires that everyone in the organization is contributing.
Those with authority must modify the management system to allow everyone to contribute. But that doesn’t mean everyone else just sits by waiting for those with more authority to transform the organization. Transformation doesn’t work that way. It is a dynamic, interconnected process. It isn’t as simple as turning on a light (or declaring this is our new transformed management system).
He returns to the Deming Institute podcast again (download) and he shares his approach for using innovation or leadership to improve management practices.
Doug talks about command and control management being too slow for businesses given the competitive markets today. Which is exactly what people have been saying since, at least the 1980s.
The challenge is how to get organizations to adopt better management practices. Doug proposes getting “wins” and building momentum for change. Doug states that finding “new markets” for products and services are probably the biggest example of “wins” his company helps their clients with.
Doug finds the attitude of executives that prevents adopting a better management system is that of focusing on cost cutting. He finds that mindset common and almost impossible to turn around.
Some of the methods that have worked for Doug in convincing those who are looking to improvement management:
Reframing what managers should focus on from controlling to enabling.
Asking “what is the thing you are most worried about?” Lets try to work on that.
That quote is from The New Economics, published in 1993. Still today many companies would benefit greatly from adopting this thinking. So often companies fail to focus on the needs of customers. So often companies focus on the short term to the detriment of long term success.
We would all be better off if more companies would focus on the needs of their customers and how to continual improve their products and services to meet those needs.
This requires planning ahead. A company must have the foresight to know when incremental improvement will not meet their customers needs in the future. And then the company must use their knowledge of customer needs and the possibilities to innovate.
One of the challenges is that the implications of his quote naturally fit into an organization with a management system built with an appreciation of Deming’s ideas but often run into challenges in other organizations. If short term budgets dominate it is difficult to invest in the long term. If performance appraisals punish and reward people for results on short term targets it isn’t sensible to expect people to focus on the long term needs of the customers or the organization.
It is a challenge to anticipate the future needs of customers and plan for meeting them even with a Deming based management system. It is much more difficult with a management system that is not focused on continual improvement, viewing the organization as a system, delighting customers, long term thinking and respect for people.
Ian Bradbury presented on Exploring Measurement at our 2016 annual conference. As usual his presentation is packed with great information. I strongly recommend watching (also see links to more presentations by him below).
At the very beginning of his talk, Ian says
Stuff happens a lot and nothing results from that. But sometimes stuff happens and there is a perceptive observer, combined with the stuff that happens, and out of that comes inventions, discoveries and so one.
The idea of the importance of a perceptive observer intentionally paying attention to the process and results of the process is captured extremely well in a presentation by George Box: Quality and the Art of Discovery.
In the presentation, Ian provides a good overview of understanding how to manage using control charts to understand processes. The value of control charts to organization is not about the math or even the chart but in how the organization uses the knowledge they can gain from using control charts to understand and to manage the process.
At the Deming Institute, we honor the legacy of Dr. Deming by bringing his teachings to life today and for the future. We’re introducing his teachings to a younger generation, developing new Deming leaders and ensuring the transition of knowledge from Dr. Deming’s trusted colleagues.
Indeed, joy flourishes when leaders drive out fear and the forces of destruction from an organization. When cooperation supplants competition, and people know what their jobs are and how they contribute to the system. When it’s understood that people learn in different ways–reading, listening, and watching—and that learning is a lifelong endeavor. When these and other teachings and practices of The Deming System Of Profound Knowledge® (SoPK) are embraced and applied, not only do organizations improve and thrive, but people experience a greater sense of purpose, fulfillment and joy.
We are offering 2 new seminars in the UK this May: The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Organisations as Unusual Workshop (Shift from Big Problems to Great Opportunities) and The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Sustainability Strategy Program.
The first is a workshop over two half days. The second includes both those half days and fills out each full day with additional material focused on sustainability.
The objective of the Organisations as Unusual Workshop (presented in two 4-hour parts, over the course of two days) is to demonstrate and explore the unlimited potential of “Organizations as Unusual,” with a very practical focus on how we think, learn, and work together, built upon a foundation of Dr. Deming’s Management Method.
The Sustainability Strategy Program includes the Organisations as Unusual Workshop and with two extra 4 hour sessions focused on sustainability. The morning of the first day begins with the Sustainability Strategy Program then continues in the afternoon with the Organisations as Unusual Workshop. The morning of the second day starts with the Organisations as Unusual Workshop and concludes with the Sustainability Strategy Program.