Thrive in a Down Economy II

Alan Pippenger – Deming Collaboration

American management is at it’s core all the same. Top down, command and control, and whatever you do, WHATEVER you do, never ask the workforce what they think. Dr. Deming said any manager can succeed in an expanding economy. So what happens to American style management when things get really bad? Well, the story of Pharoah, the Children of Israel, and brickmaking comes to mind. Cut more costs, work harder, faster, leaner, all top down, all American, and all wrong. I am given to stories, here is one.

A giant food conglomerate decided to introduce a new dog food. No expense was spared in the packaging, every detail carefully thought out. The advertising campaign was astounding, millions were spent to make sure American shoppers knew every detail and within weeks of the roll-out sales predictions had been wildly exceeded. Then a strange thing happened. Sales started to slide downward. Management threw millions more into advertising but the slide continued. Next the advertising agency was fired and a new one brought in to turn things around. Management was angry with everyone involved. “We did everything by the book and we have lost millions!” “Find out why this happened!”
Now in the mail room there was an employee of more than 30 years. Having heard of the failure of the new product and seeing the blame going all around, he decided to act. He asked for a meeting with the CEO and would have been brushed aside but for his 30 years of service to the company. Ushered into a staff meeting to save time, the CEO asked what was on his mind. “Sir, I know why the new product failed, why the company has these loses, and why the sales have stopped.” Angry, the CEO demanded to know how a mail room employee could know what the best minds in the food industry did not.
“Gentlemen, the old man began, the answer is simple, the dogs don’t like it.”

The failure of the food company is simple, profound and repeated thousands of times the world over. It is the failure to implement Point 1 of Deming’s 14 Points for the Transformation of Management. Stated here.

Point 1 – Constancy of Purpose – Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service. With the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.

The food company simply forgot why they were in business. Had their purpose centered about creating a food dogs liked, the product would have sold itself with a fraction of the advertising, worry, and dare I say “management” that was brought to bear.

Deming Philosophy is all about transformation. The first transformation, Deming said, is that of the individual. That is why we are here. To point you to these truths so you can transform your business to thrive in a down economy, then join us in transforming management worldwide.