Principle 1: Constancy of Purpose

Deming’s Principle of Management n. 1 full statement is as follows:

“Create constancy of purpose for continual improvement of product and service, allocating resources to provide for long-range needs rather than short-term profitability, with a plan to become competitive, to stay in business, and to provide jobs.”

Constancy of purpose demands a well articulated aim for the organisation. One which is widely agreed and understood through the system, thus promoting cooperation.

Long-term thinking provides a foundation for doing meaningful work. Short-term thinking characteristically undermines meaningful work. We need to have constancy of purpose within the organization and focus on the long-term instead of short-term.

Firms generally face two sets of problems: those of today, and those of tomorrow. Creating constancy of purpose requires 1) innovation, 2) research and education, 3) continuous improvement of product and service, and 4) investment in the maintenance of equipment, furiture, an fixtures, and in new aids to production.

Constancy of purpose also implies “sticking to the plan“. The Plan ought to leave enough room for tactical flexibility, to deal with short-term economic and marketplace anomalies, but it ought to be strong enough, and visible enough, to endure for the medium term (3 to 5 years.). In the end, each employee should be able to point to it and say “This is where we are going. This is who we are. This is what we represent.” Without the Plan, we are like a tattered flag, flapping in the wind.

Summing-up: Your customers, your suppliers, and your employees need your statement of constancy of purpose—your intention to stay in business by providing product and service that will help man to live better and which will have a market.

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