It is recognized that Private Equity is about the deal and, although they do leave the people side to the owners running the business, the best PE guys know operations and long term success do not flow from the numbers but from the passion of the people.
Talking about Deming in my past blog, and how much he impacted on my approach to strategy for growth, made me stop by Wikipedia and read about this extraordinary man who was honoured by the Japanese with the Deming Prize.
It took me back to my MBA days to review Deming's extraordinary impact that he made in the late 1980's. His focus on the people, despite being a statistics and measurement boffin, did inspire me to write my first book: "Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment."
Deming had such an impact on humanizing business as his 14 points focus on how to motivate the brains in your business. Too many managers ask their team to check their brain at the door. Ford took over the world leader in cars - GM - after consulting help from Deming.
Ford Motor Company was one of the first American corporations to seek help from Deming. In 1981, Ford's sales were falling. Between 1979 and 1982, Ford had incurred $3 billion in losses. Ford's newly appointed Division Quality Manager John A. Manoogian was charged with recruiting Dr. Deming to help jump-start a quality movement at Ford. Deming questioned the company's culture and the way its managers operated. To Ford's surprise, Deming talked not about quality but about management. He told Ford that management actions were responsible for 85% of all problems in developing better cars. In 1986 Ford came out with a profitable line of cars, the Taurus-Sable line. In a letter to Autoweek Magazine, Donald Petersen, then Ford Chairman, said, "We are moving toward building a quality culture at Ford and the many changes that have been taking place here have their roots directly in Dr. Deming's teachings." By 1986, Ford had become the most profitable American auto company. For the first time since the 1920s, its earnings had exceeded those of arch rival General Motors (GM). Ford had come to lead the American automobile industry in improvements. Ford's following years' earnings confirmed that its success was not a fluke, for its earnings continued to exceed GM and Chrysler's.In 1990 Marshall Industries (NYSE:MI, 1984-1999) CEO, Robert Rodin, trained with the then 90 year old Deming and his colleague Nida Backaitus. Marshall Industries' dramatic transformation and growth from $400 Million to $1.8 Billion was chronicled in Deming's last book "The New Economics", a Harvard Case Study, and "Free Perfect and Now".
In 1982, Dr. Deming, as author, had his book published by the MIT Center for Advanced Engineering as Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position, which was renamed Out of the Crisis in 1986. Deming offers a theory of management based on his famous 14 Points for Management. Management's failure to plan for the future brings about loss of market, which brings about loss of jobs.