How I Came To See Work Differently

Deming book

I admit that I’m simplifying, but one guy saved Japan after World War II and essentially threw down a challenge to the world: learn a new approach to business or get crushed by the competition.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming taught Japanese businesspeople—starting in the 1950s—how to produce better quality products. At the time, the words “made in Japan” meant “bad quality.” By the 1980s, American businesses were struggling to keep up with the Japanese.

It was in the 1980s that I met Dr. Deming. I was studying with two consultants closely associated with him, and through them I met the man himself. I learned from him. I never forgot.

Management desperately needed what Deming was selling—but was terrified by it as well.

But his ideas were too revolutionary for American business culture. It threatened hierarchy, and the command and control structure. Management desperately needed what Deming was selling—but was terrified by it as well. Some businesses used the minimum amount of Dr. Deming’s ideas to get back on their feet. Then, they morphed his ideas into yet another foolish business fad. American business recovered and then largely reverted to form.

I never reverted to form. I learned. I changed. I couldn’t ever again believe in “conventional wisdom” about business. But the world had passed me by.

Today, money rules and big business makes money by financial manipulation—buying and selling companies and doing deals. Products are made overseas, sometimes competently and sometimes not. Because the financial aspect of business is so dominant, our backwards, foolish and I would say cruel approach to management is good enough. As a result, both business and— for most people—work life is worse than it needs to be. People dread Mondays.

I want to change that. I want to change work culture and management so that nobody wants to work for a badly managed company that treats employees and customers as a means to an end. I want the choice of working for a well-managed humane company to be an option. No, I’m not against profits. Profits are good and necessary. But never at the expense of people, and never as an excuse for people wasting decades of their lives suffering when they could produce better work and higher profits while everyone has a great time.

I’m here to complete Dr. Deming’s work. I will focus on the human aspects of his ideas; how to work with and manage people. I will explain the roles of manager and non-management workers—as they should be. I will provide enough technical information for you to be better at what you do. It’s actually not that difficult. I’ll point you towards more in-depth information so you can go further if you wish.

I want to change your life and the world. There’s no reason not to. It’s well past time. The rest of your work life can be better than everything that went before. Starting now.

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