2.6 Kondo's Message

Kondo emphasises the interrelationship between quality and people. He sees humanity as the essence of motivation. He endorses that human work should always include the following three components:

He further points out that the elements of creativity and sociality are involved in company-wide quality control as well as physical activity, since the aim of CWQC is to ensure the superior quality of manufactured products and service through the stages of marketing, designing and manufacturing and, in so doing, to promote customer satisfaction. In other words, there is no basic contradiction between CWQC activities and humanity.

The major problems lie in the stages of designing the manufacturing process and evaluating the results of the work. When manufacturing is conducted only by standardising and simplifying the work and by separating planning from actual execution and when the results of the work are judged only in terms of money, how can we motivate workers by offering them meaningful jobs?

In his book Human Motivation - A Key Factor for Management published in 1989, Kondo advocates that making work more creative is important for motivation. He suggests four points of action in support of such a process:

  1. When giving work instruction, clarify the true aims of the work.
    Instead of explaining clearly what the aim of a job is, people tend to concentrate on the methods and means to be used for achieving that aim. However, every job has an aim, and it goes without saying that achieving this aim is the most important thing. Aside from mandatory restrictions related to safety and quality assurance, information concerning means and methods should be given for reference only, and we should encourage people to devise their own best ways of achieving the objectives.

  2. See that people have a strong sense of responsibility towards their work.
    This is related to the previous point. As we know well, human beings are often weak and irrational and tend to try to shift responsibility onto someone else when their work goes wrong, complaining or being evasive. It is, therefore, necessary to devise ways of nipping such excuses in the bud whenever they seem likely to appear. The 'mandatory objectives, optional means' approach described in Point 1 above serves this purpose, and techniques such as the stratification of data, the correction of data by mean value or by regression, and the application of the orthogonal principle in the design of experiments [Taguchi, 1986] are all effective devices for putting a stop to excuses.

  3. Give time for the creation of ideas.
    Once people start feeling such a strong sense of responsibility, they will go back to the essence of the problem and think about it deeply. This will result in flashes of inspiration and the creation of new ideas. Excellent ideas are most easily generated during those times when we have pondered the problem deeply and have arrived at a detached, meditative state of mind. An ancient Chinese proverb tells us that this kind of time occurs when we are horseback riding, lying down and relaxing. The times at which ideas come most readily are different for every individual. The important thing is to give people the time to be creative.

  4. Nurture ideas and bring them to fruition.
    New-born ideas created in this way are extremely fragile. If they are examined critically with the intention of picking them to pieces or squashing them down, it is very easy to obliterate them completely. However, to find out whether such ideas are really good or not, or to develop them in superior ways, they must be allowed to grow. There is no objection during this stage of growth to allowing an idea to change gradually from its original form into a better one. It is often said that the main enemies of new product development are found within the company itself. This means that people are more concerned about going around stepping on new ideas than about encouraging their development. A new born idea is like a new-born baby, and raising it to maturity always requires someone to look after its interest and act as a loving parent. In most cases, those in positions of authority are the only ones who can play this role. In other words, managers should not go around throwing cold water on new ideas but should become their patrons and encourage their growth.

Kondo concludes that only by addressing all four points will it be possible for work to be reborn as a creative activity. If ideas are created and fostered, those concerned will come to feel a real sense of self-confidence. This is an extremely valuable experience from the standpoint of motivation.

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