Eliminate Management By Objectives

Manage By Walking Around

I’m deep into the annual review cycle and struggling with not-so-SMART objectives for employees that I inherited during the year.  The frustration is acute enough that it makes me want to channel Deming and eliminate management by objectives.

For those who may not remember, Deming is best known for his work in the 1950’s during which he taught top Japanese management how to improve design, product quality, testing and sales.  In fact, Deming is often cited as having more impact on Japan’s rise to greatness in manufacturing than any other individual not of Japanese heritage.  Despite this, Deming was largely unknown in U.S. until shortly before his death in the early 90’s. 

I consider Deming one of the fathers of performance management.  This characterization is largely based on his fourteen key principles for management to transform business effectiveness:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service. 
  2. Adopt the new…

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