To Achieve Success Focus on Improving the System Not On Individual Performance

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A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.

W. Edwards Deming in his last interview: ‘Management Today Does Not Know What Its Job Is.

This quote is a wonderful view of Deming’s focus on the organization as a system versus the focus on individuals that is so common today. The annual performance appraisal process and individual bonuses (including massive amounts of money given to senior executives) are tangible examples of the individual focus in so many organizations today.

Creating a management system that focuses on long term continual improvement is much more difficult than repeating nice quotes though – unfortunately.

The related links below provide some ideas. Basically though all of Deming’s work is focused on how you create an organization that is successful and is helping provide people opportunities to create as much value as possible.

From our previous post: Managing the Organization as a System

It is fairly easy to appreciate that optimizing components within a system can easily create problems for the overall system. But it is hard to accept that we have to manage the entire organization in a coordinated way instead of just assigning responsibility for certain areas to executives and holding them accountable for optimizing their areas.

Related: A Bad System Will Beat a Good Person Every TimeA Good Management System is Robust and Continually ImprovingHow to Improve Your Management SystemThe Idea of Performance Rating to Capture Merit is AlluringQuality is Made in the Board Room

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