Is the USA 'Out of the Crisis'? Those that do not learn from history...

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
I read this post last week and thought it would be a good topic here in the Cove. Let me know your thoughts folks. Here it is:

Subject:Influence of Demings "Out of Crisis" From: Marino Montani - Thu Mar 18 3:25:25 US/Central 1999<Picture>
It is claimed that American economy is now in very good health and that the crisis is over. What is the influence and impact of Dr. Deming's "Out of the crisis" and his 14 points on the present very good condition of American economy? Do his ideas changed the attitudes of managers and helped to change the organisational cultures? Are there any empirical data or at least opinions or experiences.

Marino Montani, Slovenia

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Don Winton

I found this post thought provoking, but somewhat disturbing as well. Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

…and that the crisis is over.
Really?? I wonder?

There are many companies that use the Deming Management Method with great success. There are also just as many who do not. During times of economic good fortune, many managers tend to get spoiled, resting on their laurels and enjoying the good times. They tend to get lax.

But, economies are cyclic. Things will turn down, and the ‘crisis’ will again be upon us. When? Who knows. But when it does happen, Deming’s readings will just as significant as they were during the original ‘crisis.’

Do his ideas changed the attitudes of managers and helped to change the organisational cultures?
Absolutely! But only when used as a whole, rather than a sum of parts. Organizations will select a portion of OOTC or TNE and apply it with vigor. But the result is, more often that not, no improvement. Why? Because they are linear thinkers. They fail to realize that Deming (I believe) saw items as ‘systems’ rather than ‘singular.’ His 14 points are a system, a whole, if you will. Trying to apply any one or a subgroup will not work. The same goes for OOTC. Any single chapter or subgroup of chapters are useless. It is also a system, and must be applied as such.

Short term results must never be confused with long term goals.

Just the ramblings of an Old Wizard Warrior.



[This message has been edited by Don Winton (edited 03-30-99).]

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Agreed. Holistic thinking must be applied.

The crisis is not over, at least in my opinion. As you pointed out, different economic times can create the appearance that the crisis is over. But time challenges everything. Vanity in the USA seems to get the best of us often. I hope that we do not rely on our laurels, a hazardous proposition at best.

I was struck with the thought that folks outside of the USA really feel this way. Could it be? Well I am not sure who has made this claim, but I claim otherwise.

"Deming’s readings will be just as significant as they were during the original ‘crisis.’ " Perhaps more so, if we are to learn anything from our past mistakes.

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Bryon C Simmons

Ok. I would like to meet those who claim that the crisis is over. Are they in the middle of the crisis? Or maybe just sitting on the outside looking in.....

I agree 100% Economics are indeed cyclic....and so now we are riding the crest at this point, but this too shall pass....

I have a copy of the 14 Points pinned to my wall, just above this I sit here typing, I am reading the list....I am sure that each and every one of us can cite a personal example of violation of at least one of the points, if not more, (and indeed all..) In fact, I see (and have seen ) examples of them almost daily.

I have a personal copy of "Out of the Crisis", which was given to me by the man that gave me my start in management, (damn him and bless his soul, all at the same time...) Shortly after that, his employment was terminated by the powers that be.(he was, at the time, Number 3 man in the organization)...

I have read that book with vigor many many times since then, and always seem to glean something more each time I read it.

Is the crisis over? Hardly......As long as the Taylor mentality exists, we will be in crisis.....this may be a bit exaggerated, but the basic premise is valid....

The crisis is over?????? WIshful thinking..the diseases are as prevalent today as they have ever been..we are merely being blinded by large quarterly profits....

Thoughts anyone.......??


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

I've got my copy of the 14 Points in a small laminent (sp) resting on my computer. What's that saying: Sick minds think alike (hahaha)!

You are right on the point that oragnizations make money in spite of themselves. Blind to the troubles within. I worked for a 1.286 billion dollar organization which had trouble paying their bills in the end and were taken over. How could that happen? Simple. Management forgot that they actually had to manage so when the bottom dropped out of the market, they would stay at the top. Several large loans, several layoffs, and the buy out, they are still on top. Wonder if they think that the Crisis is over? The management morons there probably think so, but come on!!! Same record, just keeps skipping! The only way they will realize their folly, when the whole structure finally collapses on itself. Hasn't happened overnight, but the mighty empire that once was is now a sinking ship with many scared rats!

The poor soul who got you on the path, you are right. A mixed blessing. But hang in there. We may be several miles apart, but there are a few of us out here trying to bring our organizations out of our crisis.


Disturbing? And how!!

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I always thought that it was "great minds think alike."

Frustrating is the word on the homefront. Here, I dig and ask questions getting the right words, but actions do not line up. I guess I realize that it's not an overnight process, old habits are hard to change. Especially coming off three record years in a row. I'm asked how did we do so well? We must be doing something right managment says. Still trying to get them to show me some measures, besides the bottomline.

Big picture,it is disturbing. Are we (USA) being successful in presenting a facade to the rest of the world. Just hope we don't fool ourselves. Things do not always look so rosy from the inside. The whole attitude of "we've arrived" is suspect.


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Hang in there! Don's suggestion is a good one. Show them. To steal a line "Make the invisible, visible." Management in your organization needs to step out of the "euphoria", take the blinders off, and make some good decisions. I guess it could be argued that we are wrong and they are right, I mean after all, they made profit! Three record years to boot! But what measurables are shared with management to coroborate senior management claims? The bottom line? Making statements without quantifiable measures is purely guess work. We would all like to think we make great decisions everyday. I would. Reality though, so long as you know your place in this world, is that you are probably right as often as you are wrong. So how could we collectively believe that we are so right, and in fact are? I think what leads me to believe that we are correct in our perspective is because of its objectivity and that it is constantly evolving. While statements are shared here and often delivered as "a matter of fact" is because there is underlying understanding of both sides of the story, and continued learning. Stating "We must be doing things right. Just look at the past three years!" which is based solely on the bottom line and not how you got there is a "matter of opinion" only. Don's words, "Rubbish." I agree. Opinion is always subjective.

crisis - 1 the turning point of a disease for better or worse, 2 a decisive or crucial time, stage, or event.

Both definitions are appropriate here I feel.

Marshal Thurber showed me something (perhaps he got this from Deming himself) about the word EMERGENCY. Within that word is the word EMERGE.

emerge - 2 to become visible or apparent, 3 to evolve. Again, very appropriate.

He spoke to the point of organizations emerging through emergency, specifically FORD. Only when the mighty empire was in danger of being demolished did management take action. Better for an organization, especially an organization with three record years of profit, to emerge without emergency unlike FORD. Funny thing; Ford's senior management was the stereo typical Western Management zoo. 80's purists through and through. They went to Deming, Deming did not go to them. In fact, when they sought his expertise, they sent the Number 2 or 3 man in the organization. He asked, "Are you number one?" "No." replied number 2 or 3. Deming's response, "I'll speak to number one." He sent number 2/3 back and told him to bring the message "I'll speak to number one only." FORDs CEO soon followed. Result: FORD is arguably the best Domestic automobile manufacturer (certainly in the late 80's and early 90's). Soon GM and Chrysler were knocking on Deming's door. Interesting I think.

So what about the caretakers (the one's who believe that the old rules still apply, ie Taylorists)? They are the ones who will look back at the past performance, as if that is an indicator of future performance. Rubbish, rubbish, more rubbish (I am working on not swearing)! You will need great patience, but you will need to lead them out of the darkness. Hurt feelings abound. People do not accept that they are wrong well, I don't anyway. But I am improving on that as well (remaining objective). The crisis is never over. It just changes shape. That's all.

Enough of my babble here. Time to shut up and listen (read). Back to the group...


Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Another Deming 'story' is where GM went to him and he agreed to work with them and then came the negotiation for charges. Deming sald to just open an open ended PO and that he would bill them whatever he felt was appropriate. GM balked. Deming said no problem - no agreement. GM eventually gave him his open ended PO.
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