The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcast (interviews)


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 October podcast, his first session with Tripp, Joshua Macht, Executive Vice President, Product Innovation, and Group Publisher of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Group, shares his goal of how to recast management ideas to those new to management, with a focus on innovation, strategy, and core principles of leadership.   

Long before he traveled to Gothenberg, Sweden in 2016 to attend an international healthcare conference, Josh was aware of Dr. Deming as an "old friend" of management, much the same as he assessed Peter Drucker.   Yet, upon witnessing Dr. Don Berwick conduct the classic "red bead experiment," he quickly joined the ranks of those deeply struck by the revelation that the performance of willing workers in any organization is largely governed by the system itself, far more than the performance of the workers taken separately.   So began his desire to review of videos and books about Dr. Deming, leading to his HBR article in 2016, a 6-page tribute to Dr. Deming, "The management thinker we should never have forgotten."

Interview highlights include: 

  • What’s happening at the HBR – expansion, podcasts, innovation, new and expanded audience
  • Thinking systemically
  • Needs of young professionals
  • New HBR product launched in India, ASCEND
  • Lasting impressions of the red bead experiment, including whimsical measures of quality
  • Now, more than ever, the need for a refresher on Dr. Deming
  • Layoffs and the erosion of trust
  • How good people fall prey to a bad system
  • Dr. Deming’s world of human nature
  • Efforts that obliterate trust
  • Barriers to success
  • How workers treat each other in ways that are counter-productive
  • Taylorism vs. Deming management
  • HBR and the Watertown (Massachusetts) Arsenal, an early site of Taylorism
  • Organizational undercurrents of “Us” vs “Them”
  • Passion for innovation and a role as a digital renegade
  • The need to be useful and feel valued
  • The joy of learning
Direct download: DemingEpisode45.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

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 September podcast, her first session with Tripp, Lori Fry, a business management consultant from Columbus, Ohio, shares her inspiration for launching her "Dignity (at work) Project."   Through a partnership with The Deming Institute, every month, beginning in June, Lori will share posts from her website, www.dignityatwork.com.

From her website, Lori is "on a mission to bring dignity back to work in the American workforce.  To transform our economy, we first must transform ourselves and our companies.  Our aim is to bring dignity and joy back to work. The work of Dr. Deming and others who have contributed to expanding his body of work over the years provide the basis for what’s to come."

Lori adds "Our dysfunction with skilled labor is the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are the symptoms of a workforce that’s been robbed of dignity in the name of greater productivity and short-term profits. More than 30 years ago, W. Edwards Deming foresaw our current condition, and in 1982 he published Out of the Crisis, a theory of management declaring American companies require nothing less than a transformation of management. American management failed to listen. The economy was expanding; business was booming – until it wasn’t – and we know what has happened since."

As a 20+ year student of Dr. Deming's theory of management, Lori brings a passionate voice for the possibilities of teamwork and collaboration available to all organizations.  

Interview highlights include: 

  • her experience in "human capital management"
  • her corporate training background and the lingering questions, notably "What if we train our people and they leave the company?" and "What if we don't (train them) and they stay?" 
  • taking a break from business management consulting to support her family's farming business
  • her introduction to Deming management
  • as she learned more and more about Deming management, what stood out to her
  • where change begins
  • feedback on her first post, Don't Gamble with Your Company's Future
  • reflections on her post about her son's education system, Tree climbing or life-long learning – what’s the real AIM of our education system?
  • her blog audience
  • general blog feedback 
Direct download: DemingEpisode44.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

Beginning 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 August podcast, Francis Petit, Associate Dean for Global Initiatives and Partnerships for Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in New York City, shares highlights of a recent visit to Japan with Executive MBA students.    Of particular interest is his feedback on the students’ exposure to the influence of Deming management during their travels.   Having presented lectures in Fordham’s Deming Scholar’s MBA program, Francis thought to include a visit to the offices of Japan’s Union of Scientists and Engineers, also known as JUSE, and use this opportunity for the MBA students to learn about Dr. Deming’s influence on Japan through the eyes of JUSE members.    He was delighted to be hosted by JUSE’s Secretary General, Ichiro Kotsuka, who provided an explanation of the origins of the Deming Prize, his experience in collaborating with Dr. Deming, as well as insights on the selection process for the Deming Prize.

Interview highlights include:

  • an explanation of the role of this trip to Japan in a “capstone” course for the MBA students
  • demographics of the students
  • first impressions on arriving in Japan and the systems awareness experienced within Narita Airport
  • how the students prepared for visiting JUSE
  • the impact of Dr. Deming’s theory of management on Secretary General Kotsuka’s personal and professional life 
  • the contrast the students found between a longer term approach for business growth in Japan, with the shorter term focus in their respective organizations, including pressure for quantum growth 
  • the students’ experience with variable compensation systems, including bonuses and commissions
  • training received by the students to maximize their personal performance during performance appraisals
  • why sales managers are less likely to be amongst the students in Fordham’s MBA programs
  • impressions of the commitment of Japanese companies towards their employees
Direct download: DemingEpisode43.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 10:41pm PDT

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 PDT

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 June podcast, his first session with Tripp, Phil Monroe shares stories on his introduction to Dr. Deming, leading to his personal transformation as a naval officer and later a post-Navy career as a quality management consultant, city council member, and, currently, board member of a hospital in Coronado, California.

Beginning with meeting Dr. Deming in 1983, while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Rework Facility at North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, Phil reminisces about his first exposure to Deming management.  The meeting was arranged by Bill Cooper, Tripp’s next podcast guest (our July 2017 edition), and the senior civilian at this 6,000+ person Navy operation. 

Highlights include: 

  • What caused Dr. Deming to "look down his nose" at Phil, in front of 350 supervisors
  • Phil’s transformation moment, captured on film, including which of the 14 Points Phil was in violation of, according to Dr. Deming
  • Being challenged by Dr. Deming on his MBO style of management
  • Applying Deming management to an incident involving a Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) bus carrying school children.  Phil was serving as an MTS Board member and thought the wrong people received disciplinary punishment; i.e. time off without pay.
  • What is top management’s responsibility?
  • The influence of Phil’s academic background at Cornell University
  • Shifting his thinking on problems from “Who did it?” to “What in the process caused this to happen?”
  • World-wide Quality Management consulting with Bill Cooper
  • Numerical illiteracy
  • Impressions of the status of the practice of SPC today
  • What is a statistician’s job?
  • The theory of variation of as the cornerstone of Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge
  • The "Phil Monroe" change
Direct download: DemingEpisode41.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 4:16pm PDT

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 May podcast, his sixth session with Tripp (1st2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th), David Langford, author, consultant, President, Ingenium Schools, and, 2017 ASQ Deming Medal Recipient, offers insights on his efforts to lead a Deming transformation within Ingenium Schools.

In his latest podcast, David reflects on 31 years of learning and applying the Deming philosophy to enrich society, with a focus on advancing education systems.   Beginning with his first conversation with Dr. Deming in 1986, when he personally answered David’s phone call from Sitka, Alaska, he has been on a personal learning journey, including mentored from Dr. Deming.   With encouragement from Dr. Deming, David reached out to Myron Tribus, who traveled to Sitka to learn more about David’s efforts to bring Dr. Deming’s theory of management to his high school education system.   Soon thereafter, David and Myron were speaking together at conferences about their efforts to improve education systems, using a Deming lens.

Fast forward to 2016, when David was selected to serve as president of Ingenium Schools and shift from “living vicariously as a consultant” (with Langford Learning) to “get back to the laboratory” of an education system in a full-time capacity.  In this month’s podcast, David goes down memory lane with Tripp to explore topics such as: 

  • His first phone call with Dr. Deming
  • Collaborating with his mentor, Myron Tribus
  • A 25+ year career as a consultant with Langford Learning
  • An offer from founder and previous president, Glenn Noreen, to join Ingenium Schools
  • Daily Innovation at Ingenium Schools, with 160+ employees
  • Have the fundamentals in education changed?
  • Finding meaning in the Pythagorean Theorem
  • Profound Learning Experiences
  • Looking for the smallest things which can have the biggest impact
  • Making decisions in a school system, both with and without the System of Profound Knowledge
  • Running meetings with "our" agenda vs. "the boss's" agenda
  • What teachers can do in a class room, in the absence of pre-determined answers to their questions
  • When teachers shift roles from managing behaviors to mentoring
  • Shifting from 1-way to 2-way conversations
  • “Ingenium Huddles”
  • Receiving the 2017 Deming Medal from the American Society for Quality
Direct download: DemingEpisode40.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 6:43am PDT

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 April podcast, Ed Baker, author, consultant, and former corporate director, Quality Strategy and Operations Support for the Ford Motor Company, offers insights on his latest book, The Symphony of Profound Knowledge (W. Edwards Deming’s Score for Leading, Performing, and Living in Concert).

Nearing 20 years with Ford, including the last 10+ years guiding the tactical and strategic influence of Dr. Deming’s theory of management across Ford, Ed was asked by Dr. Deming to write a book to offer his own understanding of his System of Profound Knowledge.   For those who have heard Dr. Deming say "You can learn a lot about ice and know nothing about water," he credited Ed with this point of enlightenment. 

Ed met recently with Tripp Babbitt to share highlights from his book (in one of Tripp’s longest interviews to date), as well as inspirations from Dr. Deming, covering topics including: 

  • Ed’s first contact with Dr. Deming
  • Dr. Deming’s first visits to Ford
  • Ed’s role in choreographing Dr. Deming’s visits across Ford
  • Dr. Deming’s early impact on Ford
  • The pace of change within Ford under Dr. Deming’s influence
  • Deming management, TQM, Six Sigma, and Lean
  • Tom Johnson’s influence on his thinking
  • Mechanistic and random sampling
  • Is the map the territory?
  • Joy in work
  • Strong support for The Symphony of Profound Knowledge from Clay Mathile and the entire staff of Aileron

In addition to this podcast, link here to watch a recent interview with Ed (and here for a full-length interview), also with a focus on his book, The Symphony of Profound Knowledge.   Link here to listen to a radio interview.

Direct download: DemingEpisode39.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 9:04am PDT

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 April podcast, Doug Hall, Eureka! Ranch CEO and Founder, shares ruminations on leadership from his wide-ranging conversations with business leaders, as he stretches his imagination to ask "What is the new talk track to engage a leadership person who is feeling chaotic?"

With a 30+ year background in Deming management, Doug well appreciates the potential for "joy in work," yet asks "Where's the joy (to be found today)?.   In his meetings with senior executives, he finds tell-tale signs of broken interactions, systems likely to fail slow and expensively rather than "fast and cheap."   Upon probing them, he learned "they have no idea" what to do when the existing platforms (systems) are not working.   Worse yet, he finds executives overwhelmed by the speed of change in the world today, often consumed by chaos.

On the bright side, he hears of a need for systems that enable workers, not control them, as executives ponder "What the new type of leadership needs to be?" and the need, now more than ever, for openness to change, with women leading the way, per Doug's experience.   

For those having similar thoughts on helping leadership and change in a rapidly changing world, with ample opportunities for infusing Deming management, Tripp's latest podcast offers serious food for thought from a master innovator.

Direct download: DemingEpisode38.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:44am PDT

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 January podcast, Tim Higgins, President of the In2:InThinking Network, www.in2in.org, and Quality Engineer for NASA, based in Los Angeles, California, shares insights from his 30+ years of studying, applying, and illuminating The Deming System of Profound Knowledge®.

Following a brief career as an educator in a public school system, Tim shifted careers and joined the rocket engine industry, employed by “Rocketdyne” (a division of Rockwell, then Boeing, followed by Pratt & Whitney, and now integrated with Aerojet). Along the way, Tim was introduced to Dr. Deming’s theory of management and, upon reflection, realized his inclinations against grades in school, while serving as a teacher, could be explained through his appreciation of Profound Knowledge.   For a short time, Tim was a member of Rocketdyne’s TQM Office, where he was introduced to the thinking of Genichi Taguchi and partnered with peers to create Rocketdyne’s pioneering “InThinking Roadmap” curriculum.   The subsequent focus on thinking modes led to his contributions as a co-founder of the In2:InThinking Network, a non-profit for which he now serves as president.  

In 2009, Tim crossed the employment bridge from the contractor side (“Rocketdyne”) to the customer side (NASA), inspired the proposition of assuming a role that would help Rocketdyne become a better contractor.

Guided by his extraordinary experiences as a quality advisor, Tim has led study sessions for Dr. Deming’s The New Economics for the past 12+ years, under the sponsorship of “Rocketdyne”.    Beginning in 2017, these sessions, comprised of six 90-minute conference calls, are being sponsored by The Deming Institute.   Led by Tim, participants share their interpretations and questions of The New Economics, chapter-by-chapter, covering 2 chapters in each 2-hour session.    A few highlights from Tim’s musings with Tripp on the study sessions follow below:

  • Why he believes Deming (management) is about learning
  • The popularity of the question "Why doesn’t everyone get “Deming management”?"
  • Why being conscious of context is essential
  • Why, when dealing with a difficulty in perception, using logic is no help is helping others see things differently
  • Issues associated with extrinsic motivation – punishment and rewards
  • Some challenges of letting go of “patting others” on the head
  • The widespread similarity of organizations
  • What would happen if “rating and ranking” systems were used at home?
  • Lessons from transforming his manager
  • Feedback from his VP’s administrative assistant on rewards systems
  • His realization that the system we have is perfectly designed to obtain the results we’re getting
  • Why asking for different results requires a different system
  • Some implications of empowerment
Direct download: DemingEpisode37.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 11:57pm PDT

Skip Steward, Chief Improvement Officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care - From Manufacturing to Healthcare - Reflections on Continuous Improvement

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 December podcast, Skip Steward, Chief Improvement Office (CIO) for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee shares lessons from the “Baptist Management System,” including reflections from his 25+ year continuous improvement journey.    Guided by his introduction to Dr. Deming’s vision of continuous improvement, Skip “migrated” from an early career in manufacturing to his current career in healthcare.   One year ago, he was promoted from System Director for Continuous Improvement to serve as Baptist Health Care’s first-ever “CIO”, with an “I” for Improvement.

In addition to his explanation of the Baptist Management System, (“a holistic approach to managing that puts a focus on purpose, people and process. We care about the purpose, how to improve the process, and how we develop the people to improve the process.), Skip emphasizes his “infant stages” role in leading the shift in thinking within Baptist Health Care.   In doing so, Skip explains the holistic nature he captured and distilled from Dr. Deming’s management method and what he is doing with this wisdom to challenge and limit the otherwise “business as usual” tendency towards event-driven and episodic improvements.   While crediting the tools of Hoshin Planning, Design of Experiments, Statistical Process Control, Value Stream Mapping, and Pareto charts in both clinical and non-clinical settings, Skip is quick to acknowledge the role of placing a priority on being guided by a Deming lens before proceeding to the “faster-better-cheaper” efficiency of tools.  

Direct download: DemingEpisode36.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:27am PDT