Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers–a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars–and on up through university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable.
From a letter Edward Deming wrote Peter Senge when The Fifth Discipline was published in 1995. Senge talks about the letter in the introduction to the new edition.