Deming and Senge Comparison LO9717

Keith Cowan (72212.51@CompuServe.COM)
03 Sep 96 13:40:11 EDT

Replying to LO9611 --

"John Zavacki" <>
>...Keith goes on to talk about Joan's notion of "enforcement" as being
>antithetical to empowerment and learning. I don't fully agree there. If
>we look at enforcement as a "boss's coaching of his students to continually
>practice, we are, indeed using the disciplines of personal mastery at the
>individual level, group learning, and the gift of these tools and the
>assistance of the mentor in mastering their use is a good form of

Maybe we are just talking about semantics, John. Enforcement to me means
forcing obedience through threats of punishment. And this is the
antithesis of empowerment. Enforcement is what command and control
management tried to do. You cannot "enforce" empowerment. You can lead,
educate and coach as you suggest.

The reason I am so hot on this topic is that enforcement of empowerment is
the surest way to kill it as another management program. I am not saying
that enforced behaviour and adherence to a new set of management standards
does not produce results. I just believe that we must be clear about what
we are talking about.

If management gets results by forcing their managers to perform new tasks
like trained seals, they may make the non-managers feel better and perform
better. Amen. Let's just not fool ourselves by calling this an empowered
organization. Enforced training is an excellent vehicle which has served
the military very well. We cannot pretend that we are empowered when part
of our implementation strategy demands adherence to standards of
management behaviour any more than if we demand employees to perform as we

This doees not mean that management should not monitor and correct. But
the point that Rol and I were discussing is that just "measuring" the
adherence of the management standards can be terribly disempowering to the
managers being measured. And measuring is a long way from ENFORCEMENT.

Later on "" <> clarifies enforcement as
semantics in Replying to LO9599
>federal and state regulations, promotions and pay raises to enforce
>behavoral guidelines such as not degrading or disrespecting people
>only after considerable effort to convince that leader of what was
>expected by way of right conduct and why. Enforcement is a necessary
>adjunct to empowerment and learning and without reasonable
>enforcement they will wither.

So I think we are only disagreeing on what domains we allow local
initiatives. We must ensure that our people obey the law. We also must
have a clearly articulated set of corporate standards. One of those
standards might be "How we manage in our new world" and we will enforce
it. So we need to let everyone know what domains are open to empowered

I am OK with this, but I have seen too much fuzziness in the performance
of these new approaches. There seems to be an implicit assumption that
everyone understands. I encountered a situation in which an employee
adopted their own approach to addressing a customer complaint and in doing
so, violated one of our corporate standards. These are tricky when you
have been preaching empowerment without this corresponding definition of
domain of application.

BTW if we truly dictate "How we manage" as a new corporate standard, I
still cannot see how we would measure that at the individual level in any
meaningful way that is outcome-based.

and later on:
>Managing people is just as much a science and the results are just as
>predictable as those of any science. Cause and effect are what occur
>regardless of what we think or believe. We can either take advantage
>of the science of the way people respond to bosses and their
>surroundings or not... contention is that you can get new behaviours to happen in a short
time - 6 months to a year - but it will take longer to produce new habits
of corporate behviour, and these will be unstable for a long time. Look at
all the empowered work teams and quality circle that have been disbanded.

My associates and I can totally empower an organization and produce such
dramatic results that an extra $50 million profit starts being generated
in less than a year. Some of what we change stays, but it takes two or
three years before the behaviours become "installed". Usually the next set
of business results (after this "low hanging fruit") take longer and are
harder to achieve.

There is a big risk that the executives will relax after the $50 million.
The next phase is always the hardest and, without the big $ as incentive,
often they will try to do it all on their own when they need help the
most! They have all the techniques but have not yet achieved personal
mastery. Cheers....Keith


Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>