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Paula Marshall's Blog

The musings of a female CEO, trying to change the way business is done.

Tag Archives: Management

Stay tuned for more Vlogs about de-linking Pay and Performance.


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I want to elaborate on W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points of Management. The 14 Points are “a signal that the management intend to stay in business and aim to protect investors and jobs.” (Deming Institute) Deming’s goal is not to find cheaper jobs overseas, it is to maintain existing jobs. Shipping jobs overseas may save money in the short run, but it demolishes morale and internal structure. There can be no cohesion when half a company’s employees are on the other side of the world, when they don’t speak English, and when they are being paid a fraction of what American employees make. This breeds insecurity. “When will my job be outsourced? Am I worth keeping” It’s only a matter of time.”

Deming’s points must be integrated wholeheartedly to make any effect.

These are the first 7 of Deming’s 14 points.

  • Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs. This is the cornerstone of any Deming-infused system. At Bama, we implement the Six Sigma business management strategy which focuses on eliminating defects on the product line. There must be a system in place dedicated to constantly improving our products. We can’t be complacent, or think that something is “good enough.”
  • Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change. When Deming was writing, the U.S. was losing a lot of manufacturing business to the Japanese. It was important at the time to recognize that we couldn’t just keep forcing a system that wasn’t working. A lot of businesses today are still stuck in those old ways.
  • Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place. Inspection is fixing what you’ve done wrong after the fact. It causes waste, and is an acceptance of existing problems instead of curing the problem at the root. Fixing problems at the root eliminates the need for over-inspection.
  • End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. Having suppliers that you can trust, and trust you, is priceless. At Bama we try to have only one supplier for each product. It cuts down on paperwork, and gives us more time to cultivate a relationship with the supplier, and keep them happy.
  • Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs. Improvement doesn’t always mean eliminating defects. It means making your product the best choice for the customer. If your product doesn’t have the most competitive price, then it isn’t the most competitive. You could have the best product, with no defects, but that does the customer no good if they can’t justify paying the price.
  • Institute training on the job. No one person has all the education needed for any one job. On the job training is vital to your employees’ success.
  • Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers. See my post on Organic Leadership for more tips on how to integrate true leadership into your organization. Bosses are mentors, not time-keepers. We must teach each other how we feel comfortable being led and the most productive ways for us to be managed.

Stay tuned for the next 7 points, coming next blog!

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Here’s my second vlog. I know some of you are missing the more text-heavy blogs. More are coming very soon. They are just time consuming to write. I am working on more about Deming, and EQ! Look for those soon!

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In a few days I’ll  be posting my video blog about the philosophies I learned from W. Edwards Deming, my mentor. If you are unfamiliar with his teachings, these videos are a great introduction to Deming’s history and teachings.

P.S. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

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“The misnomer is that for people to be proficient and to rise to the top of their profession, they must be driven. It has been my experience that inspiration is more enduring than drive and that balance is what allows people to pursue excellence over a long period of time rather than getting burned out by always feeling driven.” Finding the Soul of Big Business, pp. 103

The way we speak about traditional corporate jobs is always in terms of drive. “Wow, she can really burn the candle at both ends!”  “I saw you working late last night, great job!” “Thanks for coming in on Sunday to get that project done!” It seems that we only value employees who are willing to go above and beyond, those who we say are “driven” “dedicated” “intense” and “passionate.” The truth is these employees are most often the ones who suffer from burn out. They are ashamed to come forward and say that they are tired, overworked and stressed. They have build up a reputation for working harder, and so they must live up to their own standard.

When we live in such a manic business world, driven by stock prices, profits and dividends, we tend to create a manic working  environment. An environment in which it’s every man for himself, climbing the ladder to the top, stepping on whoever gets in the way. We reward this kind of thinking, and we reward those who sacrifice time with their families, because it means they really have their head “in the game.”

What does this kind of thinking get us? Disgruntled spouses and children, divorces, loss of friendships, mental breakdowns, and health problems. It’s been medically proven what stress does to the body, and not only that but the company risks losing a competent, dedicated employee to burn out.

The best way to avoid burn out, as upper management, is to inspire our employees. Inspiration is a much longer term fuel than just driving on for self-improvement purposes. When someone is driven, it is usually to further their own self interests. Promotions, pay raises or pats on the back are what they’re looking for. However, when a person is inspired, either by your mission or by the way you do business, they will work hard toward that common inspiration. This type of fuel will burn for far longer than just that of self-advancement.

Then the initial question is, what can you do to get your employees inspired? Here are a few ideas:

  • Initiate a volunteer program, such as delivering for Meals on Wheels or Tutoring in local schools. This will help your employees feel as though they’re giving back, and also see how fortunate they are. It also helps them feel as if they’re working for a greater purpose. But, you can’t punish them for being less productive due to having to devote hours to volunteering. It will all come back to you in the long run.
  • Promote Life-Work Balance. At Bama, we have classes that instruct our employees in having a more fulfilling family or home life. Encourage them to be social, have dinner with each others families, and be there for their children’s activities.
  • Allow Flex-Time. Flex-Time is a program which allows employees to clock in hours whenever they are most comfortable, which allows them to fit in family responsibilities. As long as the employee reaches 40 hours in a week, then they are within their Flex-Time.

These are just a few suggestions to help employees avoid burn out, and lead more enriching and full lives.

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This video is from 1984, but it is still so relevant today. It is amazing that Deming foresaw these huge problems in our system!

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One of the things most sorely lacking in today’s business climate is true leadership. There’s enough management to fill all the cubicles in all the world, but leaders? Leader is a much more intimidating word.
Managers tell subordinates what to do and how to do it. Leaders show their team how to behave, what their roles are, and how they can all work together to make their customers lives’ better.
Organic leadership involves cooperating with other members of the organization, listening to everyone, and valuing every contribution. One of the core principles of Organic Leadership, and the one that is the hardest for most people, is confrontation. Most people in our society today  fear daily confrontation so much, that they avoid it until an issue grows into an elephant in the room. They vent to their spouses, friends and other coworkers about issues in the workplace that could have been resolved with a small conversation.

Leaders take daily confrontations and turn them into the possibility to educate and learn. When someone is making a small mistake, take that opportunity to confront them early on when the problem is first noticed. Don’t reprimand the person, but explain the problem and the solution. Explain why it is better for the customer if the task is performed this way. Use the confrontation as a learning opportunity. Don’t use it as a power trip, or an excuse to demonstrate your superior knowledge, but as a way to share your knowledge with others and listen to others.

So much of Management Principles are about group dynamics and Organizational Behavior. These principles still apply to leadership, but they become much more simplified when one principle is understood. People are not born under whelmed, removed and checked out. The natural state of the human mind is to be contributing, creating and engaged. By listening to and valuing our workforce, we can return them to this natural state of participation. When a workforce is heard and respected they become uplifted and ready to fulfill their tasks to the highest of their ability. This removes the necessity for complex competing relationships in the workplace. When workers are bored and removed from their jobs, they search for workplace drama and gossip to fill the void. When problems are neutralized from the beginning, and everyone is involved in the teaching process, because they all want the best for the customer, then there is no room for excess drama. 

In closing, here are the core principals of becoming a leader in the Bama Companies, regardless of your position: 

1. Willing to listen to others.


2. A belief that everyone in the organization wants to make a contribution.


3. Positive, optimistic attitude towards others and an interest in their well-being.


4. A conscious effort to point out what others do correctly.


5. Willing to involve input from others and be open to diverse ideas.


6. Sees mistakes as an opportunity to correct and improve operations.


7. Motivates through encouragement and appreciation.


8. Focuses on cooperation instead of competition.


9. Appreciates how others perceive situations instead of just my own point of view.


10. Recognizes that people take pride in their work when they feel good about themselves and what they are doing.

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