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The Seven Deadly Diseases of Management.


Whilst Dr Deming is rightly famous for his 14 point plan to improve quality management, he also listed what he saw as The Seven Deadly Diseases of Management.

Deming Point 1
Lack of constancy of purpose to plan product and service that will have a market and keep the company in business, and provide jobs.

Constancy is necessary if long-term improvements are to be brought to fruition. Short-term savings can risk the organisation's long-term future.

Deming Point 2
Emphasis on short-term profits: short-term thinking (just the opposite of constancy of purpose to stay in business), fed by fear of unfriendly takeover, and by push from bankers and owners for dividends.

Maximising short-term results encourages actions which are at the expense of prospects, for instance by slashing training or maintenance budgets.


Deming Point 3
Personal review systems, or evaluation of performance, merit rating, annual review, or annual appraisal, by whatever name, for people in management, the effects of which are devastating. Management by objective, on a go, no-go basis, without a method for accomplishment of the objective, is the same thing by another name. Management by fear would still be better.

The need is to reward process improvement, not short-term operational results.

Deming Point 4
Mobility of management; job hopping.

When top management changes this often results in a change of management philosophy.  There is then no continuity of purpose, no commitment to long-term goals and little long-term thinking.

Deming Point 5
Use of visible figures only for management, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable.

The feedback theory of management says that a situation cannot be managed if it cannot be measured. However, many decisions have to be taken on the basis of incomplete information, especially when they involve intangible factors such as customer loyalty.

Deming Point 6
Excessive medical costs.

Medical and pension costs have risen as a percentage of overall expenditure, creating a number of crises.

Deming Point 7
Excessive costs of liability.

Litigation was a costly phenomenon during Dr Deming's lifetime, and has continued to grow.  The cost of liability insurance has risen commensurately.

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