Written by Sean McPheat |
Dr W. Edwards Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant – an all-round clever guy.
He is regarded as having had more impact on Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage.
So , he might be someone we could learn from.
I came across a list of what he called ‘Lesser category of obstacles’, which back up his Seven Deadly Sins.
They make interesting reading, and I’ve listed them here:
Neglecting long-range planning
How appropriate for us in sales that his first obstacle is the lack of planning.
Without it, we’re lost. If you just concentrate on short-term planning, you run the risk of losing sight of the vision for the future.
Deming saw lack of planning as an obstacle; I see it as a foolish waste.
Relying on technology to solve problems
Deming died in 1993, so he wouldn’t have seen the technology we enjoy today.
But you can see his point in his day. And we can also understand how, if we leave decision-making and problem-solving to non-human interaction, we miss out on the ability of people to deal with real-world problems. .
Seeking examples to follow rather than developing solutions
What Deming was envisaging here was the lack of solution-finding by simply relying on what’s happened before and replicating the lessons from them.
Instead, Deming is saying we need to think of every solution as being unique, and not think that we should just copy what we’ve done before.
Excuses, such as “our problems are different”
Excuses can cause us to miss out on new ideas, as they mainly focus on why things can’t be done, as opposed to what can be done.
We can learn from ideas previously practiced and it can be an obstacle that we are different and unique from others.
Reliance on quality control departments rather than management, supervisors, managers of purchasing, and production workers
Here, Deming doesn’t want quality control to take the place of humans.
Instead, he approves of individuals taking personal responsibility for getting things right first time.
Placing blame on workforces who are only responsible for 15% of mistakes where the system designed by management is responsible for 85% of the unintended consequences
This is an interesting observation that Deming has made in identifying that processes often are the reasons for poor performance as opposed to the users being blamed.
Relying on quality inspection rather than improving product quality
Again, an obstacle Deming is identifying is that, instead of making people responsible for the quality of what they do, we put in checks that account for people not taking care.
These are interesting viewpoints that we can learn a lot from in sales.
If we recognise that they are warnings for us and make sure we take responsibility for our actions, we build reliability on our own skills and strengths and overcome these obstacles that Dr Deming was referring to.
Originally published: 9 March, 2016