Whether you’re a supervisor with many subordinates to review and evaluate, or you’re an independent that has to rate your accomplishments against your department, company or other goals, I’m fairly confident that you all have some involvement in this activity. Oddly enough, I began re-reading the book “Out of the Crisis” by W. Edwards Deming just this past week. This great work, which I’m sure you all have read (if not, it is highly recommended), comes right out of the gate in chapter 3 talking about the value of employee evaluations. I believe the book was published in 1982, and way back then the guru of quality and business excellence talked about how this system does more damage than good. That system being the process of employee evaluations against goals that, in most cases, you as an employee or individual have little effect or influence upon. Seriously, can you really prove that you were responsible for the overall reduction of PPM rankings among the suppliers within your commodity? How can you truly reduce customer complaints by 30%? (One way to achieve that goal is to just not answer your phone). Deming talked about the ramifications of creating an atmosphere of competition rather than cooperation among people who are supposed to be on the same “team”.
Competition among people in the same company is non-value added. Now granted, there is, in most cases, something at stake. Employee bonuses are predicated on their accomplishments, as compared to an arbitrary or perceived goal. In a time when the economy is so fragile, and the giant monster mega banks are still paying out ridiculous bonuses to their executives after government bailouts (paid for by tax paying citizens like you & I) then, naturally we all want to get back as much as we can, when we can. After all, we in the middle class are the engine that runs this economy, at least in the U.S.A. One comment made on p.103 chapter 3 states, “Traditional appraisal systems increase the variability of performance of people. The trouble lies in the implied preciseness of rating schemes. What happens is this. Somebody is rated below average, takes a look at people that are rated above average; naturally wonders why the difference exists. He tries to emulate people above average. The result is impairment of performance. “(Contributed by William W. Scherkenbach of the Ford Motor Company)
Yes, there are some really great companies out there operating to please all stakeholders, the shareholders, the communities in which they operate, their customers, as well as the employees. Yet 29 years later, most organizations have still not grasped these basic concepts that have improved and been proven by many successful companies utilizing his, and the other quality guru’s, strategic operating processes to improve the total customer experience. Business is in existence to make money. I have heard this more times than you can imagine, especially after recently completing a Master’s Degree program in business. I realize that if they are not profitable, they will not survive (with the possible exception of government funded businesses such as the US Post Office, oh and the afore mentioned big banks). However, if the company trusts its leaders to make the right decisions, then they should also trust the people they have hired to perform the necessary functions of day-to-day operations? I agree with Deming on this idea, and some day, if I am ever at the top spot and responsible, common sense will rule my leadership. Common sense will be the foundation of the operating process. Trust will be a part of our every day operation, and reliance on team effort from individual input contributing to the total output of the process. If the company is profitable, all the people should be as well, and rewarded equally.
Speaking of great companies, you should be proud of the excellent team of volunteers that are responsible for the Winnebago Section of your Society. The same measurement I rant about above still is a part of our own organization, however I do believe the measurements are important in this case, and the rewards are not financial, but more like bragging rights. We are measured against our on time delivery of required aspects of the business plan and satisfaction of the members. (So please complete the feedback surveys!) The many hard working women and men of the 1206 accomplished last years goals to the full satisfaction of the ASQ Quality Management Process to achieve the Gold Award with all of its glory and use of the Mark of Excellence as approved by Headquarters. Our section will be recognized for an award during the next World Conference on Quality Improvement in May 2011 in Pittsburg, PA.
CONGRATULATIONS! Oh, and Happy New Year!
Section Chair / Winnebago / # 1206