Our continuing ode to Dr. W. Edwards Deming and his book titled “Out of the Crisis” summarizing his famous 14-point management philosophy.
Deming Point # 8 – Eliminate fear
No one can perform well, or focus on longer term improvement, if they are worried their ideas or concerns would not be regarded as a contribution. Reinforce the underlying platform that speaking up in order to improve is always a desirable trait.
Another part of that platform is communicating that the goal is continuous improvement. Increasing the number of processes that are done right and when mistakes happen, they are opportunities for improvement. Management is not interested in blaming those that make mistakes but using their knowledge of the circumstances around the incident to make the process more robust.
Management, supervisors, and leaders need to convey the sentiment that all workers are valued for their contributions. Their individual work can have huge effects on customer satisfaction and as such, they too have a large stake in finding and implementing better ways of doing things.
Train and encourage your leaders to be approachable and believable that the teams and coworkers they engage will act in the company’s best interests.
Communicate frequently with all stakeholders and be honest about the information passed on to help remove doubts and fear that not everyone’s interests are at the forefront of company thinking.
(FYI NOTE: As part of our 2013 Sloan Award, when asked if their supervisor or manager is supportive when I have a work problem, 90% of PlastiCert co-workers replied Strongly Agree. When asked I can trust what managers say in my organization, 70% of PlastiCert co-workers Strongly Agree. We are working on increasing BOTH those numbers).
More blog posts about Deming’s 14 points: