Parenting

Deming’s Second Point

What is your philosophy about what children need to flourish and prepare for adulthood? Whether this is the first time you’ve considered the question or you’ve been considering it for years, there’s no doubt in my mind you have a philosophy of child-rearing. You may not be aware of it. Your philosophy is the framework that you use to construct your understanding of the world. It’s what you filter all your actions through…like your conscience. William Glasser referred to this part of your personality as you “quality world.” If you want to know what your quality world looks like you can imagine what you would have to see in order to not have any complaints. I’m not sure W. E. Deming was all that concerned about what his clients’ philosophy was, but he was adamant that they must adopt the new philosophy. He wrote,

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 a change.

What’s that saying? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity? It’s difficult to do something new if you don’t believe something new and I think that’s why Deming made this point. You have to adopt the new philosophy if you are expecting to change. Part of the philosophy is contained within the rest of the points. I don’t think Deming ever meant these points to be a step by step guide to quality; the abstract points are toward the beginning of the list. You might find a useful exercise would be to reflect on the 14 points in their entirety and think of what core values are. It’s difficult to adopt a philosophy if you don’t know what the philosophy is. My aim is only to work within the points as they might apply to the parent/child relationship, not to explain the greater context of them. Here’s how I’ll interpret Deming’s second point:

Adopt a respectful relationship philosophy. We are leaving the assumptions of behaviorism behind and parents must learn their responsibilities and take on leadership of their families.

If you can accept that parenting is not something you do but something you are it may help. You are engaged in a relationship with your child from the moment they come into your home. Healthy relationships are always built on respect for each other. Many parents will attempt to demand respect from their children while imposing disrespectful and scare tactics for compliance. One easy test for your actions is to ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to do likely to help my relationship with my child, or hurt it?” This was a self-evaluation question that William Glasser often gave to his clients to think about their actions. Job one is to improve the parent/child relationship and you can’t do that if you’re hurting it.

Of course, there will be times that we make mistakes and say things we don’t mean. This is when our children need our humility and leadership the most. “I was angry because you weren’t moving away from the door so I pushed you. I was wrong to do that and I’m sorry.”  A statement like this preserves a child’s dignity instead of blaming our rash response on their defiance: “Now, I shouldn’t have to do that if you would just do what you’re told.” This kind of statement makes it sound like our violence or anger is justified, which will lead them to think that violence can be justified if you’re angry enough.

Let’s take a look at our revised points so far.

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of the relationship between parent and child, with the aim of remaining a trusted influence during their whole lives.
  2. Adopt a respectful relationship philosophy. We are leaving the assumptions of behaviorism behind and parents must learn their responsibilities and take on leadership of their families.

Thanks for sharing in this journey. I hope you’ll find it helpful.

From the first post in this series:

Here are the 14 points as written by Deming.

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. 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 a change.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. 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.
  8. Drive out fear, so that every may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
  11. A and B. Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership. Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  12. A and B. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.”

W. E. Deming – Out of the Crisis

If you’d like to see Deming describe these 14 points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsF-8u-V4j4

NBC documented some of the outcomes of this management style in an NBC White Paper Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcG_Pmt_Ny4

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