Antimatter And Deming’s 95/5

Antimatter And Deming’s 95/5

RedBeads

I note a distinct schism in business, with one camp which utterly rejects Deming’s 95/5, and another camp which wholly embraces the idea. Few sit on the fence, and pretty much never the twain shall meet.

Agnostic

The Antimatter Principle is agnostic on the subject of Deming’s 95/5, but, depending on your camp, its relevance may be different for you.

The Rejectors

If you reject Deming’s assertion, then you most likely believe that an organisation need not change its systems (i.e. its processes, technology, work design, regulations, workspaces, “social dynamic”, etc.) to see improved productivity from its workforce. Individual talent and effort is what counts, and individuals can, just as a consequence of their own grit, choose to be productive, or not.

For this camp, the Antimatter Principle is something than anyone can choose to adopt. Each person can choose to begin attending to the needs of the folks around them, of the folks for whom they’re doing things, and of themselves. Training can help. As can leadership. Leaders visibly attending to folks’ needs can spread the behaviour across the organisation. As more people adopt and model the behaviour, discovering and sharing the joy which it brings, others will, through e.g. social contagion, begin to adopt the behaviour too. Over time, the social dynamic of the organisation will change to one where people are more inclined to care about what they’re doing, where they find more intrinsic motivation, and where they may want to become more engaged in their work.

The Embracers

If you embrace Deming’s assertion, then you most likely believe that an organisation must change its systems (i.e. its processes, technology, work design, regulations, workspaces, “social dynamic”, etc.) to see improved productivity from its workforce. Individual talent and effort counts for very little, and individuals, despite their willingness to be productive, will not be able to accomplish much if the prevailing system prevents or discourages them from doing so.

For this camp, the Antimatter Principle is something that can be built into the system. Working practices, tools, processes, methods, regulations, policies, workspaces, and the way the work works can all incorporate the twin ideas of identifying who matters, and then attending to their needs. As more aspects of the system incorporate the principle, more and more people will discover and share the joy which it brings. Others will, through e.g. social contagion, also begin to adopt the principle and incorporate it in the way their work works. Over time, the social dynamic of the organisation will change to one where people are more inclined to care about what they’re doing, where they find more intrinsic motivation, and where they may want to become more engaged in their work.

– Bob

Further Reading

Deming Institute Red Beads ~ The Deming Institute
The Red Bead Experiment With Dr. W. Edwards Deming  ~ The Deming Institute

3 comments
  1. fjfish said:

    I also think his 14 points are underrated – the first, Constancy of Purpose, goes right to the heart of the AM principle (I think). If everyone has a clear understanding of what the organisation is supposed to do and why (that isn’t full of management and HR doublespeak) then the needs become much more obvious – or at least the framework for discussing them becomes apparent.

  2. “the Antimatter Principle is something that can be built into the system” – this is that moment of clarity for me! Thanks.

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