Dilbert and Deming

5 June 2005 Dilbert Strip on motivational posters – [update – well the pointy haired bosses running the site removed the page so we removed the link] New update the phb has been overthrown. Here is the strip:

motivational poster, Dilbert comic

The point of that poster is your spirit should soar like an eagle while you continue to do mundane work

Dilbert can show the silliness that is common place in many workplaces, as just that – silly. Point 10 of Deming’s 14 points called on management to eliminate slogans. Deming refined the wording as he learned: the text from the Deming Institute site (another site broke their link, so it was removed) now states:

Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets asking for zero defects or 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.

That text works well for me, but I think Dilbert provides a great service in pointing out the same idea that such slogans are silly and even harmful in a way many others find more accessible. Of course most managers don’t seem to notice when Dilbert points out that a management “tool” they use lacks value – that the “emperor has no clothes” (The Emperor’s New Suit by Hans Christian Andersen, 1837).

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