Deming’s Point No. 12 – Remove Barriers to Pride of Workmanship

Deming’s Point No. 12 – Remove Barriers to Pride of Workmanship


W. Edwards Deming’s 12th point is a problem that haunts many organizations.


We hear it all of the time in the news and news articles – “Businesses are finding it hard to recruit talent”. It is difficult enough for an organization to find qualified workers that believe in giving an honest days work for an honest days pay and want to grow with and learn the business to help it grow. Organizations cannot afford to stifle the attitudes and creativity of the workforce as it does in many cases.  


What are some of the symptoms that are felt when this problem exists?

a)      Lack of enthusiasm for the job (“I just want to put in the hours and go home to do something I enjoy”)

b)      The feeling that goals, objectives or expectations cannot be realistically achieved.

c)      The feeling that management does not know or care about their problems.


What are some of the causes of this (List is not all inclusive)

a)      Constantly changing goals. Not able to focus on completing any. (“Busy work mentality”)

b)      Lack of feedback, reviews, etc.. (“How are we doing and do we need to do it differently?”)

c)      Not given the resources (equipment, training, personnel, etc..) to adequately perform the task or objective.


 No conversation would be fit or complete without some discussion on some methods that will correct some of these causes? In my opinion there are some approaches that can help:


Making Work a More Enjoyable Place To Be

  • Work cannot always be “all fun and games” but we can try to make work a more enjoyable place to spend your time at by simply reducing these “hassles” as Phil Crosby referred to them as. Many organizations offer “employee outings” such as baseball games, picnics, softball leagues, etc… This can also bring about a more team friendly and cooperative workforce.
  • Work based games
  • Teambuilding sessions (outdoors for example – not in a stuffy meeting room)  


Giving Clear Goals and Objectives

  • Many organizations and supervisors do not give adequate direction, goals and measureable objectives.
  • Goals should be achievable and have some manner of being measured and tracked for progress.
  • The “annual review” trap – organizations that only give feedback to their employees once per year at the review are essentially losing out on the employees maximal talents because they have no idea that they are not performing as well as you would like. Waiting an entre year to give feedback is second on the “naughty list’ only to not giving them at all.
  • We also have to be careful not to “over manage” employees where the measures become the only focus and as much time is spent preparing for and being in meetings as is time spent working. This can also lead to “adjusting the numbers” which is almost as bad as not reviewing performance.  
  • Lastly, conflicting goals between personnel or departments is a problem.


Provide Resources And Tools To Perform the Task:

  • Another discouragement factor is assigning a task, job, and goal. Etc… and not giving the time to complete it. As Managers, Supervisors, “bosses”, we have to accurately plan out how long a task should realistically take. I like to “try it myself” first when possible to make sure it is feasible.
  • We have to ensure that we give our employees the equipment and tools to do the job properly. Equipment that is “band-aided” or breaks down regularly can show that we do not value the task to be completed. This will definitely have an effect on moral as well.


Here is to improvement.



About markqualitynetzel

Quality Management professional with over 30 years experience in manufacturing (metal stamping, assembly, fabrication, welding, coatings, molding) and training.

Posted on July 20, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Mark, I think you bring up an extremely interesting point about pride of workmanship. I think the concept extends far passed just doing the job. It is one of the things that is at root cause of some of America’s problems. We don’t see kids doing a good job in school because there is not pride of workmanship in it. We see teachers being frustrated and some slacking with the same lack of pride.

    A while back I worked for a guy named Michael Alter who instituted a “My Best Mistake Award”. After the peak quarter, where we would bring on 35% of our new customers, we would debrief. Michael instituted the award. People would self nominate and the finalists presented in front of the company. The presentation was simple: What mistake did I make? What was the impact on the customer? What changes did I make to prevent it from happening again? What did I learn from the experience? The finalists were awarded cash prizes. But what was truly remarkable was the look in people’s eyes as the process went on. The engagement was palpable. Imagine working in a place where you were free to learn from your mistakes and were awarded for learning. The concept of pride in workmanship was reinforced. It was a great process. But, Michael did a lot of things well.

  2. Highly energetic post, I like that bit. Will there
    be a part 2?

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