Deming's 14 Points Were Created for 20th Century Quality

Improvement Insights Blog

Deming’s 14 Points Were Created for 20th Century Quality

Most quality consultants still quote Deming’s 14 points, but the U.S. economy has shifted. Corporate CEOs are traded like running backs in the NFL. Time for a 21st Century approach to quality that factors in the new reality.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“You know, in the Quality world, we still bring up Deming’s 14 points quite a bit. That’s kind of 20th Century Quality. Now, not that those ideas are extinct or anything, but a lot of it was about that time period.

“When I was working at the phone company we didn’t change CEOs but once every 10, 20, 30 years, right? The leadership team did not change that often. Now CEOs are more like some sort of coach for an NFL team, right? If you don’t produce results in the first year or two you’re out of there and somebody else is in there, right? Their job when they come in is to throw out whatever you did, so it doesn’t matter if you have Quality Improvement as part of your thing… if you didn’t succeed, you’re out and all that stuff is out because we can’t do the stuff that you did because that would be bad, right? Then I’m not really making a change or a difference.

“So if you think about it, you have to be the leader you want to see. If you want to lead Quality, lead Quality. If you want to make Quality Improvements, make Quality Improvements. Let your leadership team catch up to you. This is the new now, which is “Everybody has to lead it themselves.” If your leadership team sticks around long enough for this to all to become part of the marrow of how your business runs, great. Otherwise you can have a lot of fun making improvements right now.

“You don’t have to spend days, weeks, months, years and whatever doing it, right? With something like the QI Macros Data Mining Wizard you can come up with an entire improvement project in a matter of minutes and then figure out who ought to be on the team to fix it, and then get some improvements going and move on. Do that every week. So that’s it. You know, if you want to institute leadership, start here. Don’t wait for those people to get going because you’re going to be waiting a long time and your job may depend on it because your company may not survive.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s create a hassle-free America. Let’s create a hassle-free world where everything works flawlessly.”