Last weekend saw the great documentary from NBC about Japanese industry and how Japan was able, after WWII , to overcome obstacles and become one of the most productive nations in the world. The documentary If Japan Can, why can't we introduced in the 80's to Dr. Edwards Deming to US where he was almost unknown. He was one of some who helped the Japanese to rebuild their industry. His ideas and teachings were revolutionary at that time, and they still are. But one thing caught my eye, while I was watching the documentary and notice that even though he is recognized as the man who helped the Japanese to rebuild the industry, he never talks about him. Instead he gives credit to the japanese, who have learned and embrased his methods and teachings. The only time where he refers to himself is at 01:03:19 when he gives credit to the Japanese, stating:
I think that I was the only man in 1950 to believe that the Japanese could invade the market of the world and would, within 4 years.
This is an exceptional quote. Instead of saying, I was the man who taught them how to analyze their processes and improve. He could have said that, cause he really played a key roll for the worlds Economy working in Japan. But I believe, that even though, he could be arrogant, he was not. This is an underlying lesson for all people working and believing that there´s always a way to do things better.
And for those who don´t have an idea who Deming was. Humility, is something we all should learn and practice.
Christmas time: arrogant chats.
This is December, and I have been involved in several diners, parties, to celebrate one more year. Unfortunately, I have been involved on discussions with people who is so eager to talk about themselves and the things they have achieved and done and ... is really exhausting to hear. And my reflection this time, is to be humble at first. I guess one effective way to engage and connect with people is to be humble. Show respect for people. Lean, claims that people is the most important element in improvement. No wonder why Toyota is replacing robots with humans. If you watch this great documentary, you can see Deming talking about Japanese with great respect. He talks about the workforce and the management. Those 2 elements, plus his methods, gave a tremendous competitive advantage and they quickly became a synonym of quality and productivity, and still today, they are really committed to quality and improvements: Think Sony´s quality.
So, I know that it is important self confidence, and to have the belief in yourself. Specially when you`re leading changes in any organization. But there is a difference between arrogance and self confidence. I wonder how those guys, with big watches, tremendous achievements, glorious results, could engage with front line workers? The ironic part, is that most businesses promote this behaviour. And those guys who scream their achievements, are the ones who get promoted. And it´s really sad, because that creates a tremendous dissatisfaction in the workforce. If you ever get to read this post, please be humble and promote the right behaviour at companies.
Thank´s for reading. I would love to read you`re thoughts. Please leave a comment below.