Leadership Principles of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Presentation by Joyce Orsini

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).

In this presentation at the Reliability Conference Joyce Orsini discusses the Leadership Principles of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Joyce in an emeritus Board Member of The W. Edwards Deming Institute, editor of The Essential Deming, and Director of the former Deming Scholars MBA Program at Fordham University Graduate School of Business.

She discusses various topics including looking at the problems with the typical budget process still used in many organizations. She also discussed why Dr. Deming used the term continual improvement instead of continuous improvement (you can see we have a continual improvement category for this blog not a continuous improvement category). “Continuous improvement” ignores discontinuous improvement such as innovation which are an important part of the Deming management system while continual improvement includes continuous and discontinuous improvement.

Joyce Orsini (from the presentation):

Whose job is it to work on continual improvement? Whose job is it to work on quality? It is not a quality department… It has to be everyone’s responsibility to improve quality. And everyone has to know what it is that they can do, what methods they can use to improve.

As the links in the above quote discuss it is important to not just give people responsibility but to provide them the training and proper management system that will allow them to succeed.

Joyce also demonstrates the Red Bead Experiment. Joyce’s presentation is closer to Dr. Deming’s than many demonstrations you see today (often you will find presenters are hesitant to make people uncomfortable). I happen to think this style is more compelling at driving home the lessons of the demonstration, though it is uncomfortable to behave as a demanding manager in front of a room full of people.

As Joyce says, we need to

get rid of all these things [performance appraisal, “merit system”, bonuses…] that were used as motivational tools because they rob people of the ability to take pride in their work

Related: Podcast with Joyce Orsini and Kevin CahillUsing Data to Seek Continual Improvement, Not Just to Monitor ProcessesCustomer Focus by Everyone

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