The Deming Dimension

Deming Dimension 12 days

Deming’s contributions in the area of quality improvement were recognized by Fortune magazine as being among the 20 that have shaped the modern world of business and by U.S. News and World Report as one of nine turning points in history.

The top turning point was identified as “The Apostle Paul, whose preaching and eloquent writings led to mass acceptance of Christianity. 

SPC Press is pleased to offer, as a free download, the internationally acclaimed self-study course 12 Days to DemingWritten by our colleague and friend, Dr. Henry Neave, this class is without a doubt the best self-study curriculum available today on the thoughts and teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Those who might be interested in this course should read the Preface and Welcome in the file “A. PLEASE START HERE” to discover why Dr. Neave refers to this as an active-learning course.

This is an excellent supplement and follow-on to what Deming presented in his Four-Day Seminars. I had the opportunity to attend one these in 1988.

Henry Neave was a friend, student, and colleague of Dr. Deming. Deming wrote the forward to Neave’s book – The Deming Dimension.  In this book, Deming provides the secret on page 57 to understand the foundation of his theory, principles, and method. He stated the following:

If I had to reduce my message for management to just a few words, 
I’d say it all has to do with reducing variation.” WED

This conclusion is the equivalent of living at a time in history where it was an accepted belief that the world was flat.  It takes some time to overcome the old belief and adopt the new. To help shorten the learning curve, check out my site at Success Through Quality.

Excerpts from a LinkedIn Discussion on supporting improvements at the national level. It started with Congress wanting to spend trillions on an infrastructure project:

  • Does anyone know what the process is for tracking outcomes and ensuring the money is spent as intended? Does this include frequent reporting on status? Any examples from past spending bills? Any reports that the money spent was wasted? How has the overall process for accountability improved over time?
  • Our system was designed to support continuous improvement. The flaw in the system is the lack of a shared method. It would also help if “We The People” acknowledged that we are “top management.” You can delegate accountability to elected officials but not responsibility.
  • A study referenced at Represent.US – The Problem identifies results from a study that indicated that data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys that compared what the public (top management) wanted to what the government actually did, concluded that the opinions of 90% of Americans (top management) have essentially no impact at all.  This finding was not challenged by the legacy media but led to whether America was functioning as an oligarchy.Elected officials should be serving as our “lobbyists” in supporting legislation that leads to outcomes where we all benefit, or at least are not any worse off in the long term. But, this is probably not enough – citizens need to become educated and engaged. And, we need a “method” that will be used to determine when change (new laws, policies, regulations) leads to improvement.
  • Deming identified that you just needed a critical mass of leaders to support the needed changes. This includes a relatively small percentage of individuals within groups, communities, organizations, industries, and countries.  These leaders would need to have a basic understanding of variation, including common and special causes of variation, tampering, stable and unstable systems in the context of the PDSA cycle. This should be supported using common language and terms and avoiding the quality jargon. The aim is to support changes that lead to results where everyone can benefit, or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term. The basics can be successfully taught and applied at the middle school level.  The challenges are from those that support suboptimal (zero-sum) outcomes, want to remain in their comfort zones, and/or support and have a vested interest in the status quo.  These types of challenges have always required leadership to help overcome.  What’s NEW is the Deming-based methods. Anyone that has made and sustained a change has applied the new methods using different terms. A shared method and framework can produce significant and immediate improvement at any level.
  • … “hidden truths.” It’s a given – every man-made system has a level of corruption. The degree of corruption correlates to the level of transparency. And depending on the moral standard used, “truth” can be relative.

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