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Deming's Point 13

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Deming’s Point Thirteen:
Institute a Vigorous Program of Education and Self-Improvement

Andrew Davis
MGMT 4655
March 31, 2016

Explanation of Deming’s Point Thirteen
Over the course of his successful life, W. Edwards Deming became an internationally renowned consultant and statistician in the business world. He provided several contributions to management, but his most well known contribution is his work in the Japanese industry (vii). The quality and productivity of creating goods and services in Japan was revolutionized during this time (vii). Through his work experience, he created new principles of management that would have a lasting effect on academics and provide guidance for managers running a business or industry.
After his experience in the Japanese industry, Deming wrote a book titled, “Out of the Crisis”, to transform the American style of management by transformation. He believed that transformation must take place with directed effort (ix). Deming thought that management in the western industries was failing to plan for the future and to foresee problems (ix). This failure brought upon the waste of manpower, of materials, and of machine time in organizations (ix). All of the waste raises the manufacturer’s cost and price the purchaser must pay (ix). The ending result is loss of market, which leads to unemployment. He believed that it was not socially acceptable to dump employees into the unemployment heap due to poor management (ix). From his observations of the western industries, he created the fourteen points of management that would be a basis for transformation of the American industry.
Point thirteen of the fourteen points states, “Institute a vigorous program of education and self improvement” (23). In an organization, the most important asset is its people. He believed that an organization not only needs good people, but also needs employees and executives that are improving with vigorous education. Education may be formal in a school environment, or informal by studying at home or while on the job (86). It may be supplemented and rounded out by work and review under a supervisor (86). In any country, Deming saw knowledge as a national resource (466). The supply of knowledge in any field can be increased by education (466). In the context of his points, education differs from training because education is the knowledge that individuals gain from learning methods, principles, and theories. Having the education from knowledge is critical leading into the training of a skill in a given industry. Implementing a vigorous program of education leading to training on the job can give organizations a competitive position by having their roots in knowledge. Deming believed that a company must make use of the store of knowledge existing inside the company, and learn to make use of help from the outside (466).
With the idea of self-improvement, Deming introduces the concept of improvement in point one and five. They reflect on the improvement of a product and service, and the constant improvement of the system of production and service. Point thirteen differs by focusing on the idea that self-improvement should be encouraged to everyone. He believes that employees should not wait for a promise of reimbursement to improve, and not focus on immediate needs while self-improving (86). He thinks that it is wise for employees to keep in their mind that there is no shortage of good people. When it comes to success, an organization cannot survive with only good employees. Organizations needs people constantly improving to maintain their competitive position.
The Meaning of Point Thirteen In The World Today
Even though Deming’s principles were created decades ago, point thirteen is still an important principle used by management of industries in the world today. The difference in the world today is the value and implementation of rigorous education and self-improvement. Education is a requirement now more than ever to be considered for a corporate position. Management must be able to select executives that can respond quickly to changes in trends and the advancements of technology. Employees are still encouraged by management to self-improve. A difference with self-improvement today is that the failure for an employee to self-improve can lead to being replaced by another employee, due to the high demand of self-improving employees.
Employers are constantly searching for employees that have achieved a level of education past high school, for example, a bachelor’s degree. Along with education, they search for individuals that have experience with using their knowledge gained from education for a work environment. To maintain their competitive advantage in an industry, a company wants employees that maximize their efficiency and productivity. Education has advanced rapidly in the last few decades due to changes in technology and communications. Certain industries today will pay for an employee to further their education if they are considered to be an important asset in an organization. This gives employees the opportunity to expand their knowledge that will positively impact their performance and the productivity of the organization. Organizations encourage not only education, but want their employees to be constantly learning and obtaining new knowledge.
It is critical in the world today for managers to have a high level of education, but to be constantly learning. In the article, “The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners”, the authors state that leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming (Mikkelson, 2015). With changes happening in the world constantly, employees must have the ability to adjust their way of thinking, learning, doing and being (Mikkelson, 2015). With most job positions in this time, the half-life of any skill is about five year (Mikkelson, 2015). Implementing an education program would be beneficial to continually update people on the changes being made with their skill in order to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.
Having a vigorous education program in organizations today provides knowledge to employees, and many organizations pay for their employees to further their education. This occurs inside the organization and outside the organization, depending on the job or skill the employee possesses. There are organizations such as, Apple, Best Buy, and Verizon Wireless that have a tuition reimbursement program or a tuition assistance program. They provide these incentives for employees that they find knowledgeable and have the value to be an important asset for the organization. Usually, employees have to commit to working for the particular organization after receiving the education in the form of a contract. This gives the organization the confirmation that they will be gaining an asset by investing into their employee.
Along with education, companies today are always seeking employees that are willing to self-improve within themselves and by feedback from others. Employees have to be open to the idea of self-improvement because there are always things to be improving and learning from. The business world is a very competitive environment for employees to enter into a position in. If management in an organization thinks an employee is not adapting or finding ways to self-improve, he or she could be at risk of being fired.
The authors from the article came up with three ways managers can encourage employees to self-improve while gaining personal knowledge. The first technique is to seek about finding things out and keeping up to date (Mikkelson, 2015). With all the information employees receive on a day-to-day basis, they should be encouraged to regularly evaluate and adjust the information sources that the employees base their thinking and decision making on (Mikkelson, 2015). Second, sense how employees personalize information and use it. This includes reflection and putting into practice what employees learn (Mikkelson, 2015). Third, share by exchanging resources, ideas, and experiences with the networks of the organization and collaborating with other colleagues (Mikkelson, 2015). Employees gain respect and trust by being relevant to contribution. These techniques can be a basis for management to develop a program to help encourage their employees to self-improve.

Deming, W. E. (1986). Out of the Crisis. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Advanced Engineering Study.
Mikkelson, K., & Jarche, H. (2015, October 16). The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from

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