Deming’s Point No. 9 – Break Down Barriers Between Staff Areas
W. Edwards Deming’s 9th point is what organization leadership is all about.
To quote Deming himself – “Management Creates the System” which simply means that the culture, focus and goals of the company start at the top.
I want to begin this blog topic with a few quotes that are very relevant:
a) “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, even if that vision becomes extremely blurry” (author unknown).
b) “Talent wins a game, but teamwork wins championships” (Michael Jordan).
This topic is near and dear to my heart, as I truly believe that we achieve more as an organization working in teams than individuals. Teamwork has a strange effect called “synergy” in which the whole becomes greater than the sum of the individuals. I do not believe that any initiative can be effectively and permanently implemented if it is not supported by the other staff or departments. In many instances organizations develop goals that are not supported by all staff areas and can actually result in conflicting departmental goals. This can be devastating to the organization and can lead to moral issues, departmental rifts and outright battles that can tear apart the very fabric of an organization.
Having worked in quality for over 20 years I have been part of different initiatives from developing procedures, processes, systems, etc… and in my experience when this can be done in a non-adversarial way the result is much more effective.
At times and in many companies there is an antagonistic relationship between quality and production. This can be a result of a perceived difference in objectives or goals. Quality may feel that production is trying to ship product that is not to standards and production may feel that quality is only a roadblock that creates problems of rigid standards that are not needed. This “gap” between the staff areas can be made worse when a clear goal or stance by Upper Management is not communicated and adhered to. If organizational goals are not made clear, then each may feel that they are right and the other wrong which is usually not the case in reality. Sometimes personalities can come into the equation. If the personality issues are not dealt with, these types of problems will persist.
An example related to quality is the development of a new process or even a quality system. If the process or quality system involves inter-departmental linkages (which most do) there needs to be involvement and “buy-in” by all involved areas. To create these processes in a vacuum will not result in an optimal implementation usually.
Bottom line is that as Deming stated – “Management Creates the System” and thus the organizational goals as well. Fuzzy goals equal an ineffective organization.
Here is to improvement.