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 School Improvement:  Diseases
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Seven Deadly Diseases (Deming)

  1. Lack of constancy of purpose. People belong by contributing to the achievement of the purposes of the organization/enterprise.
  2. Emphasis on short term achievements  This reduces purposes to tasks, vocations to work and so on. Links are lost and activities become isolated so that all tasks can be completed 'successfully' but the endeavours fail. This is well illustrated in many programs that attend to the 'basics' on the false assumption that all else will follow naturally which is well demonstrated to not necessarily the case.
  3. Evaluation of performance, merit ratings or annual review. This is based on erroneous assumptions. The truth is that everyone works in a system and the system determines 85-95% of the outcomes. The process of evaluation of individual performance in isolation from the system in which they work is a nonsense. In addition it is disruptive and distracting. It also gives the message that people do not want to do a good job.
  4. Mobility of staff, job hopping. People can take their skills from one position to the next. What they often leave behind is their knowledge and relationships that are specific (even critical) to the previous position. One requires knowledge in all its forms in order to be able to fully utilise one's skills in any situation. Job hopping is more likely to serve the career prospects of the mobile staff member than the purposes of the organization. The issue of staff who 'are in a rut' is more likely to be an issue of leadership rather than lack of mobility.
  5. Management only by known data with little consideration of the unknown or unknowable. Often the most important things are unknown or unknowable especially by those well removed from the situation. Data is important but mainly for the purposes of reflection.  This is particularly true for non-mechanical processes like those involved in organizations and education. 
  6. Excessive medical costs. 'Sickies' are very expensive to all concerned. In industry it is estimated that the absence of a staff member costs the organization four to ten times the actually salary cost. The author of this website believes that the cost to schools is at least similar. For some children the absence of a particular staff member may well be critical and under some circumstances the cost of the staff member being absent may be huge. (This also has implications for staff development and meetings that cause staff members to be 'absent')
  7. Excessive legal costs.

See also Imperatives