Quality transformation scapegoats and mavericks pq systems – quality blog college confidential american university

After nine months’ absence from my classroom, I was recently reminded of the contradictions of how I teach my students to be managers and leaders versus how they are actually treated in the workplace. That reminder prompted this blog. I was specifically reminded of some of the most basic ways that dr. Deming advocated that western style management needed to treat employees more than 35 years ago. Don’t get me wrong…I believe we’ve come along in fits and starts, but we’ve still got a long way to go. American university class schedule this blog focuses on how managers and leaders deal with common and special causes.

We still find someone to blame, call out, punish, and even fire for a systems problem. Scapegoating is still alive and well. It is still common for management to set unreasonable goals, provide inadequate resources, rank front line employees, and fire those employees who don’t meet the goals.

GE’s former CEO, jack welch, had a system like that in which he annually ranked his employees and fired the bottom 10 percent of his workforce. He claimed that approach accounted for much of GE’s success, but others have studied those kinds of systems and, not surprisingly, found that forced ranking resulted in lower productivity, inequity, skepticism, negative effects on employee engagement, reduced collaboration, damage to morale, and mistrust in leadership” ( http://guides.Wsj.Com/management/recruiting-hiring-and-firing/should-i-rank-my-employees/) how could it be otherwise when many employees are focused more on making other employees look bad, so they themselves don’t get fired?

We also still see one, two, or even a few people (I’ll call them mavericks in this blog) in our workplace who consistently under- or over-perform and receive no special attention other than the water cooler conversations about why those underperformers are still around or how those overachievers do it. The absence of that special attention toward the underperformer can increase a sense of unfairness that can even result in reducing performance by nearly everyone, because the underperformer is getting away with it. In fact, some managers even make system changes that affect everyone as a way to deal with a low-performing maverick. Those system changes are seen by the other employees as disrespectful and a way to get punished for someone else’s behavior. This is a great way to expand that sense of unfairness that already exists.

The absence of that special attention toward the overachiever provides no encouragement to overachievers to continue or even increase their efforts. It provides no encouragement or guidance for everyone else to “beat the system” by emulating the overachiever’s performance.

Let’s consider an alternative approach to “scapegoats and mavericks.” remembering that dr. Deming said that “most troubles and most possibilities for improvement…94 percent belong to the system (responsibility of management),” start by looking at system performance using control charts to separate special from common causes. Then look at individual performance using the same approach. If the performance of an individual employee or group of employees is “out of control,” investigate. One of my favorite stories about investigating still comes from professor david chambers, in the early 80s, when dr. Deming told us that david might be the only person who could teach us the statistics we needed to understand how to transform american management.

David was asked into a textile plant to deal with a group of workers who were underperforming. For purposes of this blog, I’m calling them mavericks. When discussing the issue with the workers, he first found out that no one had ever told them that the specific quality characteristic at issue was important. Their newfound understanding resulted in immediate improvement, but the problem still existed at a lower level.

Further conversation and observation by david yielded another cause for the poor performance. Some of the employees could not see the work well enough to detect the quality problem. They needed glasses at a time when they could not afford them, and the company did not provide any sight-related health benefits. When they were given new glasses, the problem went away. American university application no firing was required. When employees are underperforming at the level we can define as a special cause, then investigate to see why these employees are not performing up to system levels and provide them with the information, training, and resources to perform like the other employees. Problem solved. When we asked dr. Deming what to do when no cause could be found, he said to train or retrain them…we might even, from time to time, need to train them for a job in another company.

There is another kind of maverick. We also have some employees who perform as if they are the special cause because their performance is so outstanding. We should also investigate this situation. These employees are somehow beating the system. They should be encouraged and rewarded. Their brains also need to be picked. They should be encouraged to share what it is they do to beat the system in such a way that they outperform everyone else. This sharing is likely to result in system-wide performance improvements. Washington university missouri remember this may be difficult if there is an individual performance incentive system in place that makes employees feel as though they are in a win-lose competition with their peers. This sharing was, by the way, one of the unanticipated results when mike cleary negotiated to essentially eliminate the old individual bonus system for the sales arm of PQ systems years ago.

Finally, after we’ve dealt with the “special cause” folks (not the ten percenters), get on with the common causes that will probably make the biggest impact on quality and performance after all is said and done. Some of my favorite ways to begin that work are: