I still remember it. In early 1985, shortly after I began what would turn out to be 16 years at Micro Motion, the president of the company read the book, Out Of The Crisis by W. Edwards Deming. This reading profoundly changed him and would change the way the company was led more than any of us realized at the time.
Deming argued that improving quality improves productivity which, in turn, reduces costs making the company more profitable. A more profitable company can stay in business, creating lots of jobs for people.
The problem was that “Deming leadership philosophy” required a fundamental change from organizational leaders of the time. And, as I’ve written many times, real change is extremely difficult. Especially when the change must be made by those at the top of the organization.
Deming came up with “14 Points.” Here they are:
- Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service.
- Adopt the new philosophy.
- Cease dependence on mass inspection.
- End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone.
- Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
- Institute training.
- Adopt and institute leadership.
- Drive out fear.
- Break down barriers between staff areas.
- Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce.
- Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and people in management.
- Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship.
- Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone.
- Take action to accomplish the transformation.
So, what does all of this have to do with church leadership? Good question.
If you study the 14 points in detail, you will begin to understand the profoundness of the change in organizational leadership. Much of what I’ve come to understand about leadership, people, and the accomplishment of the mission by leading said people, can be traced back to what I learned while working at Micro Motion all those years. The culture of the company was shaped by Deming and the president’s desire to build a world-class organization that would succeed in a BIG way.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll do some writing on some of these points and how they translate from a production/service organization to the church.
Stay tuned …