Guest post by John Hunter, author of Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability.
Kat Vanden Heuvel, Executive Director at Sawtooth Botanical Garden, shares how Deming principles have changed the way people think and work at her nonprofit organization in this video with Nicole Luisi of Aileron.
Kat discusses how the 2.5-day Deming seminar she attended helped her to appreciate the importance of making things visible as well as interactions between components of a system. She came to the seminar already practicing these ideas in her work, but the seminar helped her refine and enhance how she made those ideas effective in her organization.
She mentioned how while she appreciated the importance of interactions within a system, she also believed in giving people independence in how they did their work. And while that freedom to act as they believe is best is good, without the proper appreciation by everyone for the systemic impacts of their decisions, such independence can lead to systemic problems.
Leaders should create a management system that lets people take pride in their work (which includes giving them the tools, education and management system that let them be successful). The balance between trusting people and setting the stage properly to help them succeed isn’t given enough focus, in my opinion. Letting decisions be made by those closest to the work is great, but you need to prepare those people with the tools and understanding of the organization as a system. Doing so puts in place a strong and effective management system that reliably produces great results.
Related: Transformation Paradox – How to Lead From Any Level In the Organization – Application and Lessons of Deming’s Perspective on Leadership – Paula Marshall’s Presentation at Our 2015 Conference on Using Deming’s Ideas at The Bama Companies