A Key Reason Why Total Quality Management Worked: Trust

January 24, 2012

A colleague shared the following instructive story with me.  It has apparently been circulating around the internet via email so I can’t identify an author, and while it may be completely fictional or simply exaggerated, the story suggests some key reasons why Total Quality Management (TQM), prevalent in the 1980’s but mostly forgotten today, actually worked.  First, the story, taken verbatim (with spelling errors) from my email: A Short Story for The Engineers Read the rest of this entry »


Replace Pay-for-Performance and Annual Reviews with Leadership for Meaningful Improvement

May 25, 2011

Pay-for-performance, merit pay, and annual reviews have not worked out well.  W. Edwards Deming started as a statistician but became one of the greatest business thinkers in human history. His ability to penetrate common business issues and get to the fundamental truths and fallacies behind them was amazing. His research clearly illuminated what most of us had already felt, if we took the time to think about it: pay-for-performance and periodic performance reviews, while often yielding us pay increases and other rewards, almost always left us feeling mistreated and angry, and sometimes in competition with our colleagues – not a good feeling.  Why is this? Read the rest of this entry »

Why Office Surveillance? Are Employees Handling Loose Diamonds?

May 9, 2009

The drive for teamwork in business organizations that started in (or before) the 1980’s was based in the recognition that people are more productive and do better quality work when they feel like part of a team with shared over-arching goals.  Teamwork relies on a sense of trust.   Unfortunately, many people are not trusting by nature, and, even more unfortunately, some of them are managers. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Does Bad Corporate Culture Come From, and Can It Be Corrected?

August 19, 2008

Bad corporate culture arises naturally from human nature, lack of management savvy, and bad or clueless management behavior. Corporate culture is built from the combined experiences of the members of the organization, the quality of their interactions with each other and outsiders, the results of the organization’s efforts, and the psychological tone set by top management and every level of management beneath it. All of these factors are expressed in, and some are caused by, management behavior, and poor management behavior will always affect the culture negatively. The good news is that you can work to correct and improve the culture at your own level. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Problems with “Command and Control” Management

March 1, 2008

What is “command and control” management? Many good articles have been written on this by smart folks like Joel Spolsky and Bruce Nussbaum. A good description is included in the Traditional Management Model page of www.1000ventures.com in the section (near the bottom of the page) labeled “25 Lessons from Jack Welch“. Much has been written decrying “command and control” management, but what makes it a bad thing? Read the rest of this entry »