The Quick Fix

The Fall 2005 issue of the Deming Institute newsletter includes a copy of a letter Dr. Deming sent to Time magazine in 1981.

Dear Sir,

Your article about Japan in TIME for 30 March 1981 is excellent, but the paragraph concerning my work is ridiculous and can do a lot of harm to American industry at the very time when they need guidance. Dr. Deming did not just give a lecture in 1950. He gave 35 lectures in the summer of 1950 to engineers and to top management. Six months later he was there again, and six months after that yet again. He has made 19 trips to Japan. One trouble with American industry today is that top management supposes that one lecture or one day will do it. “Come, spend a day with us, and do for us what you did for Japan, that we too may be saved.”

It is not so simple. Few people in top management in America understand their responsibilities and know that they must serve a life term on quality and productivity from now on, under competent leadership.

W. Edwards Deming

Many still search for simple quick answers. Management improvement most often requires a great deal of thought, study, experimentation and effort.