Reflections from Dr. Deming on a Foundation for Leading

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

Presentation by Bill Bellows at our 2014 annual conference – The End of Perfection: Reflections from Dr. Deming on a Foundation for Leading

improvement efforts could be advanced by acknowledging self imposed restrictions on our thinking

Bill discussed how seeking to eliminate defects (zero defects) and the wishing to reach perfection are antithetical to continual improvement. We need to understand that wherever we are we should want to be better. And once we are better we are not done, we then should seek to improve again.

Bill included a great quote from W. Edwards Deming (by way of Gipsie Ranney):

I know what I said.
I don’t know what they heard.

Thinking about this can help a great deal with communication, especially when there seems to be conflict but without reasons that are clear. Often the conflict is because people are not understanding each other (not necessarily because of some intractable issue where conflict can’t be avoided). It also is important to view your communication with an understanding that you don’t just need to say what is important for others to know, but doing so in a way where people hear you.

He also discussed the importance of customer delight over customer satisfaction (for important differentiator from competitors).

Related: Using Deming’s Management Methods to Enhance the Application of Taguchi’s Ideas (Bill on the Deming Podcast)Effective Communication is ExplicitHow Did We Do on the Test? (Bill at the 2012 conference)Design of Experiments: The Process of Discovery is Iterative

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