The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcast

Louis Altazan, President of AGCO Automotive Corporation - Realizing "I Was The Problem" Was The First Step To Success

This week's Podcast features Louis Altazan, President of AGCO Automotive Corporation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Louis discusses his introduction to Dr. Deming and his philosophies, his "aha" moment, and the long-term thinking and trust that must be established to succeed. 

Louis starts with a brief introduction of AGCO, and his feeling that the automotive industry could be doing better. After toiling for 10 years with various philosophies, it was the 1980 NBC documentary "If Japan Can, Why Can't We" that hit home with him. He picked up the phone and called Dr. Deming. And as they say "the rest is history."

Louis began implementing Deming's 14 points right away. His biggest "aha" moment was that "I was the problem." Once he realized this, he called a meeting to apologize and things started to get better right away. Louis removed everyone from the "flat rate" pay system and put them on salary. This helped his staff change their focus from short-term thinking and profits to long-term thinking and trust. 

Louis warns that you can't apply some part of Dr. Deming's philosophy and not others - that "it's a cohesive system that all works together." Done this way you will start seeing improvement almost immediately, but the real benefits will be felt about 20 years down the road. 

Direct download: DemingEpisode21.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 9:51am PST

Bret Champion - Students Are More Than Test Scores

This week's Podcast features Dr. Bret Champion, Superintendent of the Leander Independent School District in Leander, Texas. Bret discusses Leander ISD's journey and how they faced the challenges of a growing school district, external federal and state standards and limited resources to create a quality education system focused on the most critical component, the student. 

Bret shares his early adoption of the "Leander Way" and how he discovered it was based on the Deming teachings. At Leander, he found a collaborative environment, free from the palpable fear felt at other schools by students and teachers alike. Liberated from fear through partnership, interaction, cooperation and training, it was about a system, "not just by the book". 

Bret explains how he is drawn to messy and noisy classrooms, because "that's where learning happens". At Leander, they realized they did not know what defined a quality classroom or how to measure it. From this experience they developed their "Seven Student Learning Behaviors".

As a district of 36,000 students and 400 employees spread over 200 square miles, Bret describes the constant "battle for balance" and the road to quality as a "marathon". But they continue to work towards incremental changes on their journey of improvement, never letting go of their culture, shared vision and belief that students are "more than test scores".

Direct download: DemingEpisode20.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:47pm PST