Do You Solve the Problem Or Fix the System?

Oct 24, 2016

I have referenced W. Edwards Deming before:

  1. The system always gives you 100% of what the system is designed to give you.
  2. Ninety-four percent of failures are due to systems, not people.

Yet, when most of us have problem, we try to “fix” the people involved or put a patch over the problem when what we should do  is identify where the system went wrong in the first place.

Do your hiring and training systems:

  • Attract the right people?
  • Identify and select the best person for the job (rather than the best applicant)?
  • Provide the right kind of management?
  • Give employees the tools and support they need to do their jobs?
  • Set expectations and hold everyone (including you) accountable?
  • Tell employees how they will be graded?

Until you fix the system, the problem will keep coming back. Once you fix the system though, you get to move on to new and more productive activities.