The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcast (interviews)

David Langford - "Stop Doing the Wrong Thing Righter" to Start Changing the Education System

This week's podcast features David Langford, CEO and Founder of Langford International, Inc. and Deming Institute Advisory Board member.

In David's third podcast he explores ways to get started in employing the Deming philosophy in education. In many instances this requires an "out of body experience"; stop playing the blame game, stop being a victim. He tells us to stop worrying about the bigger system and start optimizing the performance of the group, which you have influence over. 

David shares an example of a student whose "new" knowledge and appreciation for a system led to a study of the most common systemic questions asked by students. Listen as he reviews what they learned - to stop wasting time on things that are not meaningful, to start concentrating on things that are and get those to a higher degree of performance and to concentrate on deep learning experiences with lasting impact.

David explores how a small group of committed people working in a consistent fashion can transform an organization. You don't have to be "all in" to create transformation. It can start with you.

Direct download: DemingEpisode17.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 3:24pm PST

Doug Hall, CEO of Innovation Engineering Shares the What, Why and How of Innovation

This week's podcast features Doug Hall, CEO and Founder of Innovation Engineering and Eureka! Ranch as he shares his approach for taking the systems thinking of Dr. Deming and applying it to the world of strategy, innovation, and growth.

Doug shares the story of how his father introduced him to Dr. Deming and systems thinking in the late 70's. Doug's father worked at Nashua Corporation, which was one of the early corporate adopters of Dr. Deming's philosophies. Later Doug took that systems mindset to the Proctor and Gamble brand management department taking nine innovations to market in 12 months, which is still a record today.

After 10 years he retired from corporate life and established Eureka! Ranch. He soon found that corporate executives were not interested in a systemic approach to innovation. Doug pivoted and repackaged himself as a innovation Guru who in truth was powered by systems thinking. He was soon named one of America's top idea gurus by A&E To 10, Inc. Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Doug went on to do dozens of projects for such top innovators as Nike, Walt Disney, and AT&T. His fame lead to network radio and television roles, writing of books and to the role of "Truth Teller" judge on the first season of ABC TV's American Inventor. 

As he was getting ready to retire from consulting he returned to his roots and founded the new field of academic study known as Innovation Engineering at the University of Maine. Their mission is to change the world by enabling innovation by everyone, everywhere, everyday resulting in increased speed to market and decreased risk. Their method for accomplishing this is to apply the systems thinking of Dr. Deming.  The rise of the internet and the 2008 recession created the opportunity to transfer the system approach to innovation from universities to the commercial world. It worked-companies found that when they enabled their employees they could increase speed to market by up to 6x and decrease innovation risk by 30 to 80%. 

Listen as Doug explains why he feels today's younger generation are the greatest generation for workers. And why starting with the "what, why and how" is such an important first step in innovation.


Direct download: DemingEpisode16.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 4:15pm PST

Dick Steele of Peaker Services - Sometimes it's about "what can't be measured"

This week's podcast features Dick Steele, Founder and Chairman of Peaker Services, Inc. and member of The Deming Institute Board of Trustees. Dick discusses his company's transformation and how he has kept his employees engaged throughout their Deming Journey.

Dick shares his memory of how a book recommendation by his mother led to his introduction to Dr. Deming's philosophies. And how attending Dr. Deming's 4-day seminar led to the company dropping performance appraisals "cold turkey" the following week.

Listen as Dick discusses some of the changes that make the biggest difference (but are immeasurable) and how these changes have led to greater collaboration, employee engagement and innovation at Peaker Services.

Direct download: DemingEpisode15.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 3:45pm PST

David Langford explores Education and the Race to the Top  "...this too shall pass"

This week's podcast features David Langford, CEO and founder of Langford International, Inc. and Deming Institute Advisory Board member.

David discusses "Education as a System" and using the four parts of Deming's "System of Profound Knowledge" to make a systemic change to the current education system. He talks about the "aim" and "product" of the education system. "What are we trying to accomplish?" "Are we just trying to improve test scores or are we trying to teach kids to think?"

David talks about the difference between studying and learning and the diminishing returns you receive when you have a whole system based on memorization. And why attempts to improve the system through programs such as "No Child Left Behind" and "Race to the Top" do not work.

Listen as David explores "what is good learning" and how changing the education system through "continual improvement thinking" (rather than just adding programs) will lead to better results for students and teachers; a win-win for all. 

Direct download: DemingEpisode12.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 1:36pm PST

Keith Sparkjoy, Co-founder of Pluralsight discusses their Journey To “Seek The Truth”

This week's Deming Podcast features Keith Sparkjoy, Cofounder and Culture Coach of Pluralsight, a leader in professional training for developers through an online learning experience.

Keith discusses his "awakening" on their journey to keep Pluralsight's healthy culture as they rapidly expanded. The Deming philosophies provided hope and as he came to understand variation and a new way to look at leadership, the transition moved very quickly. From creating a system that focused on customer - eliminating incentive pay for managers, commissions for salespeople, and paid time off policies - to establishing only two rules to guide the company.

Listen as Keith explains their journey to "seek the truth", how they have been able to burst the bubble of management, build trust, drive out fear and get people to work together as Pluralsight "grows up."

Direct download: DemingEpisode14.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 9:14am PST

Monta Akin discusses Leander Independent School District's Transformation to "Happyville"

This week's podcast features Monta Akin, Assistant Superintendent for Leander Independent School District in Leander, Texas.

Monta shares her Deming journey and the compelling story of Leander Independent School District's transformation.  It begins when Monta was first introduced to Deming when she came across the PBS series "Quality or Else" featuring David Langford. What caught her attention was his Deming-based systematic approach to education, creating passion in students by engaging them in the practice of improvement. 

Serendipitously, the next day Monta picked up an educational magazine with information on a David Langford seminar. She rallied a few Leander colleagues to attend. It totally changed how they looked at instruction and the partnership with students. They realized that to be a great school district they would have to do something different. 

As they began adopting the Deming philosophies, Monta and her colleagues discovered how transparency built teamwork and realized the detrimental effect of fear, especially of teacher ratings. This led to a major change in how they conducted evaluations; a pivotal moment in their transformation. 

Monta shares the positive results at Leander independent School District, and why after more than 20 years, she is still passionately committed to the Deming philosophy.

Direct download: DemingEpisode13.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 3:04pm PST

Fred Warmbier, CEO of Finishing Technology Inc. and Kelly Allan, Deming Institute Advisory Board Chairman.

This week's podcast features Fred Warmbier, CEO of Finishing Technology and Kelly Allan, Senior Associate of Kelly Allan Associates and Chair of the Deming Institute Advisory Board.

Fred and Kelly discuss their New York Times blog that documents the Deming journey of Finishing Technology, a metal finishing company in Ohio.  Fred first discovered the Deming message in September 2013 when he attended a Deming Institute 2.5 day seminar presented in partnership with Aileron, a non-profit near Dayton (Tipp City), Ohio dedicated to,  “Raising the Quality of Life in America”.

Fred attended with staff from his company and came away excited to explore how to change from the old way of running things.  He was driven by self-insight, a passion to study and a desire to help others, while understanding his business system and how to operate it more effectively and efficiently.  

After additional reading and further study, Fred was motivated to look at all elements of his business differently and through a new lens.  He began working with Kelly and as these new insights gained momentum, Fred felt it important to document his experiences, which were often humbling and comical.  

Around this time, The NY Times ran a story on companies unhooked from commission-based sales, which led to a multi-part NY Times blog, that documents Fred’s journey. The goal of the blog is to educate, inform, entertain, make a difference and be a call to action. 

This fascinating journey will energize executives, entrepreneurs and others who are always (as Fred and Kelly discuss) probing, looking, thinking and determined to figure things out.

Direct download: DemingEpisode10.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 10:20am PST

Clare-Crawford Mason and Bob Mason: Introducing Dr. Deming to the Western World
In this podcast Clare and Bob take us through their respective journeys that led to their groundbreaking work with Dr. Deming in the famous 1980 NBC documentary/white paper, “If Japan Can Why Can’t We?”  and the subsequent powerful 32 volume “Deming Library” which is still in widespread use.  From their early memories of meeting Dr. Deming to the impact it had on their lives, we experience their frustration with American management 34 years later, as well as their hope for the future.  They discuss the need for us to no longer be, “unconscious prisoners of our culture” and the importance of valuing individual differences, how people learn and how we can improve the processes we use in our work. Clare discusses the critical important concept she learned from Dr. Deming of “managing instead of controlling”. 

Their passion for continual learning continues to this day as they write, speak and contribute to the Deming message.  Their journey is a fascinating one of great significance and it looks to continue in 2015 with a new book from Clare titled, “The New Wisdom”.

Direct download: DemingEpisode11.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 8:23pm PST

Paula Marshall, CEO of the Bama Companies, Inc. Discusses her Fascinating Deming Journey

Paula Marshall is the CEO of the Bama Companies, Inc., a company that may be best known for being the single supplier of the famous Apple dessert pies to McDonalds. They are also " innovator and manufacturer of bakery products to some of the most well-known restaurant chains on the planet."

In this episode Paula discusses with Tripp her amazing journey as a CEO that took her company from being on the verge of going out of business to the thriving powerhouse it is today. The transformation of Paula and her company started when she attended her first Deming seminar. That seminar and the subsequent meetings and friendship with Dr. Deming, shaped the future of the company in a way she never imagined. Paula shares her journey with Dr. Deming and how personally difficult it was to go against the very status quo management ideas she had learned and was using; in particular, learning the hard way how detrimental performance appraisals and the incentive based system are to an organization.

See for more information on Paula and the company.  Paula is also an author of several books, including her personal story in Sweet as Pie, Tough as Nails.

Direct download: DemingEpisode9.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 4:51am PST

Dr. Bill Bellows - Collaboration Within and Outside the Deming Community

Bill Bellows serves as president of the In2:InThinking Network, and as a Board Trustee of the W. Edwards Deming Institute®. In his podcast, Bill discusses his introduction to the Deming philosophy as a young engineer, and his "aha" moment after hearing Dr. Deming speak about the destructive nature of competition. He also shares his thoughts on the challenges of conveying the Deming message in the future and the importance of collaboration in the Deming community.

Direct download: DemingEpisode8.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 5:32am PST