The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcast


Commencing in 2014, The Deming Institute has recorded podcasts on a monthly basis, featuring 20 to 30-minute interviews by Tripp Babbitt with members of the Deming Community who are advancing the use and explanations of Dr. Deming's ideas.

In our July podcast, his first session with Tripp, Bill Cooper shares stories on his 11-year relationship with Dr. Deming, starting with being one of 22 attendees in a 1982 Four Day seminar with Dr. Deming. At the time, Bill was serving as the Senior Executive at the North Island Naval Air Station, with Phil Monroe serving as the senior naval officer.   A few years later, Phil, as Commanding Officer of North Island, approved funding for Bill to attend an intensive, year-long, “quality management for executives" seminar, led by Myron Tribus and held at MIT.  Guest lectures were provided by Kosaku Yoshida, a doctoral student of Dr. Deming, and Yoshikazu Tsuda, former counsellor at the Union of Japanese Scientists & Engineers (JUSE).

As a student of management and leadership theories, ranging from Ken Blanchard to Peter Drucker, Bill met Dr. Deming at a time when he (Bill) was providing in-house leadership classes at North Island, as well as for the National Graduate School, a local private university. 

Inspired by Dr. Deming, all the while trying to get his mind around his theory of management, Bill partnered with Laurie Broedling to launch the first “Deming User Group” in the US, based in San Diego.  

Bill’s motor home served as a convenient dinner venue when Dr. Deming was in southern California and Bill would drive to the latest site of Dr. Deming’s ever popular Four Day seminar.   He has warm memories of Dr. Deming’s fondness for clam chowder, martini’s, and ice cream.

Interview highlights include: 

  • Leading a staff of 4400+ employees, who worked “with” Bill, not “for” him
  • The difference between parenting with 1 kid and 2 or more kids
  • Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
  • His role with the launch of the TQM movement, including Dr. Deming’s views on TQM
  • Why Bill was intrigued by Dr. Deming’s focus on continuous improvement
  • Dr. Deming’s response to an invitation from Lee Iacocca to consult for Chrysler
  • Hosting “Round Table” interviews with Dr. Deming and his role as “the perfect foil,” as well as “straight man,” for Dr. Deming
  • Dr. Deming’s Socratic style in his 1-on-1 meetings with Bill, including his introduction to the Law of Extreme Values
  • Myron Tribus’ 85/15 rule and the difference between “working in” and “working on” a system
  • Improving organizations by improving systems
  • Struggling with the question of “Who owns the system?”
  • The vital need to share a vision
  • Fear vs. anxiety
  • Answers to his favorite question, “What is the improvement strategy that your management team is articulating?”
  • Bill’s thoughts on the difference between management and leadership
  • Retiring from North Island in 1988 to form a “Deming” consultancy, with Phil Monroe as his partner
Direct download: DemingEpisode42.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 11:22pm PST