The 14 Point Deming Management Method

This post is a continuation of my second guest post for Adelaide Universities MBA Blog. If you haven’t read my summary of the Deming Management Method, start here first.

Deming’s Fourteen Point Management Method

Deming’s 14 Point Management Method was first published in 1982. A statistician by trade his ability with numbers enabled him to challenge many traditional management practices, resulting in his fourteen point plan:

1. Create Consistency of Purpose for the Improvement of Product and Service

Deming and others, such as (Stephen R Covey) believe that one of the difficulties facing humankind is that we are too easily focused on the problems of today, at the expense of those of tomorrow.

“It is easy to stay bound up in the tangled knots of the problems of today, becoming ever more and more efficient in them” – Deming Continue reading

Motivational Slogans in the workplace – Deming v Zuckerberg

One of Deming’s pet hates was motivational slogans in the workplace – things like “Do it right first time”, and “Zero defects”. Two from the IT world that come to mind are “Real Engineers Ship” (Steve Jobs), and “Stay focused and keep shipping” (Mark Zuckerberg, see article here, which has an interesting photo of his desk).

Jobs and Zuckerberg make pretty powerful examples of sloganeering. I find it interesting that Deming was so against slogans, they’re everywhere. So let’s dive a little deeper.

Deming stated that slogans should eliminated because they do nothing but “generate frustration and resentment” in the workforce.

“Implicit in such sloganeering is the supposition that employees could, if they tried do better. They are offended, not inspired by this suggestion”   – Deming Continue reading

Innovating from the Boardroom

Innovating from the Boardroom – Cultivating a future quotient

Amplify talk by Lucy Marcus

This is my second blog post from the AMP Amplify festival. The speaker for this session is Lucy Marcus. Some background:

Lucy is the founder and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting which helps build sustainable success for funding organisations. She is also Professor of Leadership and Governance at IE Business School focusing on corporate governance, ethics and leadership. Lucy writes an opinion column and hosts a TV show, “In the Boardroom with Lucy Marcus” for Reuters on the intersection of boards and leadership.

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Leadership Lessons From Game of Thrones

With the start of Game of Thrones Season Three only hours away it is a good time to revisit and update one of my old blog posts 4 Leadership Lessons From Game of Thrones.

When I originally read the five available books in George R.R Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ I found myself thinking about the leadership and life lessons that could be extracted from the series. Quotes like ‘Kill the boy’ haunted some of my more boy-like decisions, and Ygritte’s ‘You know nothing Jon Snow’ played through my head whenever I took issue with a management decision.  I would reflect on the possibility that many more factors were at play than I could see, and that I still had some distance to travel in my journey to be a more effective person (and leader).

So here is my list of seven leadership lessons from Game of Thrones, expanded from my original list of 4: Continue reading

MBA Reading List

MBA Reading List 2013
From a studying perspective, the more widely read you are, the more possible sources of information and references you will have. But the reason to read is bigger than just better marks or an easier time finding references-

Reading is one of the ways you can level-up

By level-up, I mean, improve yourself, to be and contribute more. Think and grow.

Are you reading something currently? There are so many books that finding the right one to start reading can be hard. So if you’re currently without a read, don’t worry here’s my reading list. I’m sure you’ll find something worth your time.

The MBA Reading List

1. The Startup Owners Manual – Steve Blank and Bob Dorf Continue reading

Alfie Kohn Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work

In 1993 Alfie Kohn wrote an article titled ‘Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work’. For the time it was a radical piece critisising any attempts of increasing employee productivity via incentive plans. Even now, it is still more on the radical side of management and leadership theory.

Kohn said that “rewards typically undermine the very processes they are intended to enhance” and that they secured, at best, only temporary compliance.

Before getting further into Kohn’s reasoning, it’s worth hitting pause to revisit some motivational basics. Firstly, motivation is classified into two types, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from the self, whereas extrinsic motivation is supplied externally, usually by the manager. There is a large amount of research that shows that the highest performing people are intrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation is a form of behaviour modification, whereby a manager will use techniques to motivate the individual to do something that they would otherwise not want to do. It may be that the employee theoretically wants to do the work, but in practice they’d rather take it slower or more relaxed than you’d like. Continue reading

Complex Systems and Change Management – Guest Post

Complex Systems and Change Management – A guest post by Philip Southwell

I used to think that I could drive change like Michael Schumacher used to drive a Ferrari. If I drove with consummate skill I would take the corners smoothly, overtake competitors and win the drivers’ championship. How wrong was I.

This approach led to frustration. Why wouldn’t people do what I wanted? Why couldn’t people see that the change I was advocating would further the aims of the organisation?

My frustration came because I didn’t realise one simple fact: Continue reading

Victor Vroom Expectancy Theory

In 1964 Victor Vroom developed his Expectancy Theory to explain observations on the motivations behind decision making. It has become one of the most dominate motivational theories in use today, and can be used to explain common workplace strategies such as performance reviews and financial incentive schemes.

Vroom believed that employees were more likely to be highly motivated when they perceived a link between effort, performance and rewards. Sounds fair enough.

He proposed that the link between motivation, effort, performance, and reward could be explained via the following formula:

M = E x I x V

where M = motivation, E = Expectancy, I = Instrumentality, V = Valence. Continue reading

It motivates the workforce to do what, exactly?

As managers we will be asked to play a part in the application of company endorsed motivational techniques.

We might be asked to improve motivation by:

  • Holding annual performance reviews
  • Applying and setting incentive payments/bonuses
  • Cracking the whip, pointing out poor performance
  • Setting aspirational goals and KPI’s

When considering any motivational technique, it is important to ask- Continue reading

Top 9 Employee Values

Why do employee’s stick it out with companies, even when the renumeration is poor? Why do overpaid employee’s still leave? There are a many things to consider here, and it will be the subject of another blog post, but for the moment, lets keep it simple. Let’s focus on values.

Values can be defined as:

“Important and enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.”

from :

To meet the needs of their employees, managers need to consider their staff’s values, and think on how they are delivering, or enabling those values. As a manger you need to be aware of all the core values. So what are they? What are the Top 9 Employee Values?

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