The 64 year old answer performance reviews

by on June 5, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Edwards Deming and the proven answer to the performance reviews

The gentleman who helped me get out of the mess, with performance reviews is W. Edwards Deming. Prof. Deming was really more famous overseas than he was in his own country until very, very late in his life. He had some ideas about management. And as a matter of fact, he said, he had some ideas about running an organization differently.

The 14 points of organizational transformation and performance reviews

He called them 14 points of organizational transformation. He said if you follow these 14 points, you will lead the world in quality. The world will beat a path to your door. He couldn’t draw a crowd.

After WW2, Japan was asking for volunteers to go over there to help them resurrect their business. If you recall, we flattened the place. And if you also recall “Made in Japan” pretty much meant bad quality. That meant cheap. Okay, very low production standards. Dr. Deming went to Japan after the war. He said, “Follow my 14 points of organizational transformation and the world will beat a path to your door. You will lead the world in quality.”

They did. They took away most of our manufacturing industry before somebody over here in North America said, “What the heck is going in Japan? And isn’t that an American leading them? Why don’t we get him back here?”

So, at the age of 80, we rediscovered our own export, W. Edwards Deming. Next thing you know, (Nashua) Corporation in Connecticut followed by General Motors and Ford brought him back. And Dr. Deming in his 80’s and up to age 93 at his death was the bomb.

One of his keys points of transformation was: Don’t do performance reviews. They rob workers of their essential pride of workmanship. Too much of what you attribute to the end of the individual is really a function of the system or process management created the worker must work within. Bad idea. End of discussion. Don’t do it.

Performance reviews: a deadly business idea
If that was too subtle. Dr. Deming had what he called seven deadly diseases he said America was spreading. The other country is trying to copy our business success. One of the seven deadly diseases was performance reviews.

So, this disease that we got over here, according to Dr. Deming – he called it a disease not me, okay he was right. It spread all over the world. They’re all copying America — our good stuff as well as our bad stuff. He considered this a bad thing.

Now, we got to day three of the four-day course on quality. Then he’s teaching his 14 points and a gentleman next to me asked if he could ask a question because they’re walking around with the microphone.

Anyway, I was perplexed. So, I went back to my boss and I told him my little dilemma and he looked at me and he said, “Gary, you know, hey, you’re sweating too much. You got 13 things to teach people. Get busy. Why are you worried about things you can’t control?”

So, I started teaching that 13 points of organizational transformation. The things are kind of like this. All work is done by process — inputs, throughputs, outputs. All processes can be improved.

And if you want to know the value of a process, who’s the ultimate judge? Well, the ultimate judge of the quality of a process is the customer. At the end of the process, the outputs go to a customer. And so, if you’re wondering if you’re doing a good job, you ought to ask somebody at the end of it, “You know, do you like what I’m doing for you?”

Okay, now the interesting thing about all this is that when you ask that of customers of performance reviews process, if you ever consider that perhaps employees are a customer, you’re going to find the answer is not really great, okay? They’re not big fans.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar “No More Performance Reviews! – A Revolutionary Approach to Performance Feedback” by Gary Markle

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.