When I was in Japan some years ago and visiting Toyota, at Deming’s suggestion, I asked an executive what they did with Dr. Deming’s 14 points. He asked one of his assistants to look them up and tell him what they were. The same experience was repeated in several more companies so I stopped asking. Deming developed the 14 points out of his frustration with people not “getting it” when he lectured about quality. I know this because I was then at MIT when we sponsored a series of his lectures and I spoke often with him after his lectures.
The 14 points made no sense to the Japanese managers because they were in a different place to American management. ‘Drive out fear’, for example, presumes the work place is full of it, but Toyota didn’t have the conditions that create fear.
Deming’s 14 points were an intervention, aimed at American management. Perhaps he wrote them because managers love lists. But the question is: did writing the 14 points work?