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W Edwards Deming

Immediately post second world war W Edwards Deming went to Japan to create order from the crisis that was the Japanese economy.

In Japan he found fertile ground for a set of ideas that had been around since the twenties.

"Quality doesn't cost, It pays"

What Deming taught the Japanese was largely common sense.

1. Make sure that people can take pride in what they do.

2. Make sure that you use the intelligence of the workforce.

3. Treat them like human beings.

By using a set of basic principles Deming began through his teaching to build quality into Japanese industry instead of having it as a post production bolt on. Deming was hugely influential in Japan but largely ignored in America until the airing of a TV programme in the 1980's called "If Japan can, why can't we?"

As he said in 1992, America was in more trouble than Japan had been at the end of the war because at least Japan had known how much trouble it was in, America did not.

Deming's teachings began to gain credibility in Europe not only for their common sense but for the demonstrable history of achievement that he brought from Japan.

Deming died in 1993 a disappointed man. He thought his teachings would be a virus that would take off on their own. He was frustrated that industry in Europe and North America was still largely ignoring what he knew to be true in their pursuit of traditional control and individual status.

In the UK today there is centred in Ampthill, Bedfordshire a forum called the Deming Forum. The locus is a group dedicated to the preservation of the Deming Legacy and the continued implementation of his ideas.

The forum use the same language that we have now become accustomed to.

"Deming feels instinctively right"

"You cannot change people but people can choose to change"

"Human capital is the most important capital"

"3% of problems have figures, 97% do not. It is people who count not the figures"

"Explain Gently"

"Everyone is a leader"

"Remove the barriers that stop people from being as good as they can be"

"Get rid of the Slogans"

Deming espouses a different way of working that is about people and developing people.

It is about understanding the relationships between the soft issues and the hard facts to transform the way that a business is run.

It is about reaping the huge financial and personal benefits when we give people the respect and support that as valuable individuals each member of the workforce deserves.

Remove the fear and measure the number of smiles on Monday morning.

Peter A Hunter
Author of "Breaking the Mould"

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