Deming’s 14 Points Revisited: Part 8

leadershipThis post picks up on Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and examines the seventh of Deming’s 14 Management Points, which urges:

Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.”

Leadership – The Context for Improvement

In his seventh point, Deming connects the idea of leadership with the role of supervision to create a context for continuous improvement.  “Help people and machines and gadgets (dare we say, information technology?) to do a better job.”  This really represented a break from the thinking of Frederick Winslow Taylor who believed that management’s role (as the “educated ones”) was to define best practice, the supervisor’s role was to make sure the workers followed that process.  I guess Taylor’s thinking was appropriate during the early industrial revolution, but was clearly not the way to really empower those closest to the job to improve the ways that processes worked.

Note also that Deming distinguishes between “supervision of management” and “supervision of workers” with both needing “overhaul” as he says with characteristically understatement.

Here Comes Everybody – Improving Everything!

Translated into today’s Enterprise 2.0 world, with the words of Clay Shirky – “Here comes everybody” ringing in our collective web-enabled heads, we all have the opportunity (responsibility, even?) to figure out how “gadgets” as well as people and machines can continuously improve the way products and services are conceived, designed, created and brought to market.

Image courtesy of Women PR Wire

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