What Deming wrote about evals.

W. Edward Deming made a list of the seven deadly diseases that afflict corporate America, number 3 is “Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review”.

Now, I do not enjoy writing evals for myself, or for anyone else. And mine are usually pretty easy to write, compared with most. But why would he write something like that?

Deming wrote “It nourishes short term performance, annihilates long term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, nourishes rivalry and politics”

And continued “ It leaves people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondant, dejected, felling inferior, some even depressed, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior. It is unfair, as it ascribes to the people in a group, differences that may be caused totally by the system that they work in.” (From chap 3, Out of the Crisis, W Edwards Deming).

At old job I remember talking to my co-worker after his first eval. I told him that no one gets good evals here, it is just politics. He was a little down for sure. Another time on the phone with an old friend she told me that she thought that bosses write that we are terrible workers in our evals to keep from paying us what we are worth. Its the man keeping us down…

So the other day, I am putting gas in Beverly’s car, and I get an inspiration, I wrote it down in my wheel book, what would Deming suggest should take the place of the annual evaluation?

Because that is the criticism. I click around on the internet and people write, well, he said not to do it, but he did not say what to do instead. And I am thinking maybe a report of how well one is following the 14 points, and how well one is avoiding the 7 deadly diseases.

So here is the format of the Deming…well, can’t call it an evaluation. Not sure what to call it yet. It could be a reflective document, maybe for ones own use. Maybe not even show the boss. The Deming annual reflection document.

The 14 Points:

1. Have you created constancy of purpose for product and service?

2. Have you adopted the new philosophy (or doing it the way we always did it).

3. Have you ceased dependence on inspection to achieve quality.

4. Did you shop on quality and not just price for everything you sourced?

4a. Are you working with fewer suppliers, or one supplier, making them a partner?

5. Did you improve any of your processes?

5a. Did you chart all your processes?

5c. Did you use the charts?

6. Did you create, and allow time for training of your workers?

7. Did you lead (and follow) as appropriate?

8. Did you drive out fear?

9. Did you break down barriers between areas?

10. Did you eliminate stupid slogans and targets for the work force?

11. Did you eliminate numerical quotas for the workers and goals for management?

12. Did you remove barriers to pride of workmanship and eliminate the annual merit rating system?

13. Did you institute a system of education and self improvement?

14. Did you spread the gospel and put everyone to work to accomplish the transformation of the company.

Hold on a minute…

That last one, number 14. Now right there is the problem with Deming. Because most of us are little wheels, not big wheels. And if we try to change things, it would not go well for us. In fact that is one of the big problems that Deming points out about conventional evals, is they only reward people working the old system, not the people who are shaking things up.

Well then, do what you can, even if it is on the down low. And I know, we will all get goals and evals this year, because the big boss is not going to read the Deming book.

I remember talking to old boss about evals, it was time to do them, and I did not want to do them,  I said “ you know what Deming said about evals, right?” He didn’t. We had to do them anyway.  Right up there with death and taxes.

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