In the early 1980’s I climbed out of my teens, I entered the workforce and started to learn how business worked. As part of a company following the flavour of the month management philosophy I was put through W. Edwards Deming Institute’s training program. Being young and impressionable I thought the philosophy was excellent. I still do. I was tasked as a lower middle management employee to champion the new philosophy through the company.

I knew these sorts of things needed to be championed from the top. I thought that upper management were all committed. I found to the subsequent demise of my employment how wrong I was. A lesson learned. Don’t challenge the boss by pointing out where they aren’t following the philosophy they are committed to following.

There were two things that particularly stuck in my mind from my Deming Training.

  • Firstly, that “Fear” was an impediment to good business.
  • Secondly, that random remuneration was infinitely more motivating than the current systems of remuneration.

Like all good business management philosophies the relevance of their wisdom extends beyond the business context.

Many systems have stemmed from Deming’s teaching; Kaizen (Tony Robbins calls it Cani), Just in time, Six Sigma and many more have tweaked and branded their way to successful consultancy service models. Almost without exception they all tended to avoid what Deming had to say about remuneration.

It wasn’t that they avoided the question of Money and how to dish it out. It’s just that of all Deming’s wisdom, this was the piece that was most consistently ignored.

I came to realise over the years that the reason for that was probably “Fear”.

The following video is old but still true. It is worth watching in it’s entirety but if you don’t have time skip through to the 3 and a half minutes starting at 5 minutes in.

This part is what Deming regards at his third Deadly Sin and what I remember most vividly from my training.  As with many people who have been trained along these lines I have come to realise, it applies not only in business but in every day life. Life just isn’t fair

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