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Apr 16, 2024

Dr. Deming developed his philosophy over time and in conversations with others, not in isolation. As learners, we tend to forget that context, but it's important to remember because no one implements Deming in isolation, either. In this conversation, Bill Bellows and host Andrew Stotz discuss how there's no such thing as a purely Deming organization and why that's good.


0:00:02.2 Andrew Stotz: My name is Andrew Stotz, and I'll be your host as we continue our journey into the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Today, I'm continuing my discussions with Bill Bellows, who has spent 30 years helping people apply Dr. Deming's ideas to become aware of how their thinking is holding them back from their biggest opportunities. Today is episode 20, entitled, System of Profound Wisdom. Bill, take it Away.


0:00:31.6 Bill Bellows: But not just for 30 years. I forgot to say I started when I was 12.


0:00:36.6 AS: Yes. [laughter] Yes. And you've got the hair to prove it.




0:00:43.7 BB: All right. Now, actually, I was thinking the proposal and the title, I thought... I mean, System of Profound Wisdom is cool, System of Profound Questions. Either one of those is good. Let's see which title comes out.


0:00:57.6 AS: Yeah. And I think we'll have to also understand that may some listeners that may not even know what System of Profound Knowledge means, they've been listening. They do. But if today's their first episode, we also gotta break that down, just briefly.


0:01:10.9 BB: Yeah. Okay, let's do that. All right. Well, let me give an opening a quote from Dr. Deming from chapter three, and then we can explain this SoPK, System of Profound Knowledge, thing. But in chapter three of Dr. Deming's last book, The New Economics, the last edition, edition three, came out in 2018. And chapter three, Dr. Deming says, "We saw in the last chapter, we are living under the tyranny of the prevailing style of management. Most people imagine that this style has always existed. It is a fixture. Actually, it is a modern invention a trap that has led us into decline. Transformation is required. Education and government, along with industry, are also in need of transformation. The System of Profound Knowledge to be introduced in the next chapter is a theory for transformation." So you wanna...


0:02:15.4 AS: That's good.


0:02:16.7 BB: So let's say something. Let's just say something about SoPK. How would you explain that?


0:02:23.1 AS: Yeah. Well, actually, I wanna talk very briefly about what you just said, because it's just...


0:02:27.1 BB: Oh, sure.


0:02:29.6 AS: At one point, I thought, "It's a system of knowledge." But he just said it was a system of transformation.


0:02:38.7 BB: It's a theory for transformation.


0:02:40.1 AS: A theory for transformation. Okay, got it. I see. And one of the things that I... I look at Toyota so much just 'cause it's so fascinating and how they've survived all these years, the continuity in the business, the continuity and the profitability of the business, the continued march to become the number one auto producer in the world, and having faced all the ups and downs and survived. And I just think that what they have is a learning organization. No matter what the challenge is, they're trying to apply learning tools, like System of Profound Knowledge, like PDSA, to try to figure out how to solve this problem. And I think that many companies, including at times my companies, [chuckle] we sometimes will scramble and we'll lose knowledge and we won't gain knowledge. And so the System of Profound Knowledge, to me, is all about the idea of how do we build a base of knowledge in our business and then build upon that base of knowledge rather than destroy it when the new management comes in or when a new management idea comes in.


0:04:00.7 AS: And that's something I've just been thinking about a lot. Because I do know a company that I've been doing some work with, and they basically threw away a huge amount of work that they did on System of Profound Knowledge and stuff to go with the prevailing system of management, is like going back. And now, they just produced a loss in the first quarter, and I just think, "Interesting. Interesting."


0:04:27.6 BB: Well, a couple things come to mind based on what you said. One is I would propose that Toyota, I'm in agreement of "Toyota's a learning organization." And that'll come up later. I've got some other thoughts on learning organizations. And we know that they were influenced by Dr. Deming. To what degree, I'm not sure of. Shoichiro Toyoda, who is one of the sons of the founder of the Toyota Motor Car Company, was honored with a Deming prize in 1990. And I believe it came from JUSE, as opposed to the American Society for Quality. One or the other. He was honored with a Deming Prize.


0:05:32.0 AS: Yep.


0:05:33.5 BB: Again, I don't know if it's Deming Prize or Deming Medal. But I know he was honored. What's most important, the point I wanna make is, upon receiving it he said, "There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the impact of Dr. Deming on Toyota." But, if I was to look at the Toyota Production System website, Toyota's Toyota Production System website, which I've done numerous times, I'd be hard-pressed to find anything on that page that I could say, "You see this word, Andrew? You see this sentence, Andrew? You see this sentiment? That's Deming." Not at all. Not at all. It's Taiichi Ohno. It's Shigeo Shingo. I'm not saying it's not good, but all those ideas predate Deming going to Japan in 1950. Taiichi Ohno joined Toyota right out of college as an industrial engineer in 1933, I believe. The Japanese Army, I mentioned in a previous episode, in 1942, wanted him to move from Toyota's loom works for making cloth to their automobile works for making Jeeps. This comes from a book that I would highly recommend. Last time we were talking about books. I wanted to read a book, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago. I wanted to read a book about Toyota, but not one written by someone at MIT or university. I didn't wanna read a book written by an academic. I've done that.


0:07:15.1 BB: I wanted to read a book by somebody inside Toyota, get that perspective, that viewpoint. And the book, Against All Odds, the... Wait I'll get the complete title. Against All Odds: The Story of the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Family That Changed it. The first author, Yukiyasu Togo, T-O-G-O, and William Wartman. I have a friend who worked there. Worked... Let me back up. [chuckle] Togo, Mr. Togo, born and raised in Japan, worked for Toyota in Japan, came to the States in the '60s and opened the doors to Toyota Motors, USA. So, he was the first person running that operation in Los Angeles. And it was here for years. I think it's now in Texas. My late friend, Bill Cummings, worked there in marketing. And my friend, Bill, was part of the team that was working on a proposal for a Lexus. And he has amazing stories of Togo. He said, "Any executive... " And I don't know how high that... What range, from factory manager, VPs. But he said the executives there had their use, free use, they had a company car. And he said Togo drove a Celica. Not a Celica. He drove a... What's their base model? Not a...


0:08:56.2 AS: A Corolla?


0:08:57.7 BB: Corolla. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you. He drove a Corolla. He didn't drive... And I said, "Why did he drive a Corolla?" Because it was their biggest selling car, and he wanted to know what most people were experiencing. He could have been driving the highest level cars they had at the time. Again, this is before a Lexus. And so in this book, it talks about the history of Toyota, Taiichi Ohno coming in, Shigeo Shingo's contributions, and the influence of Dr. Deming. And there's a really fascinating account how in 1950, a young manager, Shoichiro Toyoda, was confronted with a challenge that they couldn't repair the cars as fast as they could sell them. This is post-war Japan. They found a car with phenomenal market success. Prior to that, they were trying to sell taxicabs, 'cause people could not... I mean, buying a car as a family was not an option. But by 1950, it was beginning to be the case. And the challenge that Shoichiro Toyoda faced was improving the quality, 'cause they couldn't fix them as fast as they could sell them. And yet, so I have no doubt that that young manager, who would go on to become the chairman, whatever the titles are, no doubt he was influenced by Dr. Deming. But I don't know what that means.


0:10:23.4 BB: That does not... The Toyota Production System is not Deming. And that's as evidenced by this talk about eliminating waste. And those are not Deming concepts. But I believe, back to your point, that his work helped create a foundation for learning. But I would also propose, Andrew, that everything I've read and studied quite a bit about the Toyota Production System, Lean, The Machine That Changed The World, nothing in there explains reliability. To me, reliability is how parts come together, work together. 'Cause as we've talked, a bunch of parts that meet print and meet print all over the place could have different levels of reliability, because meeting requirements, as we've talked in earlier episodes, ain't all it's cracked up to be. So I firmly believe... And I also mentioned to you, I sat for 14 hours flying home from Japan with a young engineer who worked for Toyota, and they do manage variation as Dr. Taguchi proposed. That is not revealed. But there's definitely something going on. But I would also say that I think the trouble they ran into was trying to be the number one car maker, and now they're back to the model of, "If we are good at what we do, then that will follow."


0:11:56.8 BB: And I'm gonna talk later about Tom Johnson's book, just to reinforce that, 'cause Tom, a former professor of management at Portland State University, has visited Toyota plants numerous times back before people found out how popular it was. But what I want to get into is... What we've been talking about the last couple episodes is Dr. Deming uses this term, transformation. And as I shared an article last time by John Kotter, the classic leadership professor, former, he's retired, at the University... Oh, sorry, Harvard Business School. And what he's talking about for transformation is, I don't think, [chuckle] maybe a little bit of crossover with what Dr. Deming is talking about. What we talked about last time is, Deming's transformation is a personal thing that we hear the world differently, see the world differently. We ask different questions. And that's not what Kotter is talking about. And it's not to dismiss all that what Kotter is talking about, but just because we're talking about transformation doesn't mean we mean the same thing.


0:13:10.6 BB: And likewise, we can talk about a Deming organization and a non-Deming organization. What teamwork means in both is different. In a Deming organization, we understand performance is caused by the system, not the workers taken individually. And as a result of that, we're not going to see performance appraisals, which are measures of individuals. Whereas in a non-Deming organization, we're going to see performance appraisals, KPIs flow down to individuals. [chuckle] The other thing I had in my notes is, are there really two types of organizations? No, that's just a model. [chuckle] So, really, it's a continuum of organizations. And going back to George Box, all models are wrong, some are useful. But we talked earlier, you mentioned the learning organization. Well, I'm sure, Andrew, that we have both worked in non-Deming organizations, and we have seen, and we have seen people as learners in a non-Deming organization, but what are they learning? [chuckle] It could be learning to tell the boss what they want to hear. They could be learning to hide information that could cause pain. [chuckle] Those organizations are filled with learners, but it's about learning that makes things worse. It's like digging the pit deeper. What Deming is talking about is learning that improves how the organization operates, and as a result, improves profit. In a non-Deming organization, that learning is actually destroying profit.


0:14:51.8 BB: All right. And early, spoke... Russ, Russ and Dr. Deming spoke for about three hours in 1992. It got condensed down to a volume 21 of The Deming Library, for which our viewers, if you're a subscriber to DemingNEXT, you can watch it in its entirety. All the Deming videos produced by Clare Crawford-Mason are in that. You can see excerpts of volume 21, which is... Believe is theory of a system of education, and it's Russ Ackoff and Dr. Deming for a half hour. So you can find excerpts of that on The Deming Institute's YouTube channel.


0:15:37.0 BB: And what I wanted to bring up is in there, Russ explains to Dr. Deming the DIKUW model that we've spoken about in previous episodes, where D is data. That's raw numbers, Russ would say. I is information. When we turn those raw numbers into distances and times and weights, Russ would say that information is what the newspaper writer writes, who did what to whom. Knowledge, the K, could be someone's explanation as to how these things happened. U, understanding. Understanding is when you step back and look at the container. Russ would say that knowledge, knowledge is what you're using in developing to take apart a car or to take apart a washing machine and see how all these things work together. But understanding is needed to explain why the driver sits on the left versus the right, why the car is designed for a family of four, why the washing machine is designed for a factor of four. That's not inside it. That's the understanding looking outward piece that Russ would also refer to as synthesis. And then the W, that's the wisdom piece. What do I do with all this stuff? And what Russ is talking about is part of wisdom is doing the right things right. So, I wanted to touch upon in this episode is why did Dr. Deming refer to his system as the System of Profound Knowledge? Why not the System of Profound Understanding? Why not the System of Profound Wisdom? And I think, had he lived longer, maybe he would have expanded. Maybe he would have had...


0:17:28.4 BB: And I think that's the case. I think it's... 'Cause I just think... And this is what's so interesting, is, if you look at Dr. Deming's work in isolation and not go off and look at other's work, such as Tom Johnson or Russ, you can start asking questions like this.


0:17:45.7 AS: One thing I was going to interject is that I took my first Deming seminar in 1989, I believe, or 1990. And then I took my second one with Dr. Deming in 1992. And then soon after that, I moved to Thailand and kind of went into a different life, teaching finance and then working in the stock market. And then we set up our factory here for coffee business. But it wasn't until another 10 years, maybe 15 years, that I reignited my flame for what Dr. Deming was doing. And that's when I wrote my book about Transform Your Business with Dr. Deming's 14 Points. And what I, so, I was revisiting the material that had impacted me so much. And I found this new topic called System of Profound Knowledge. I never heard of that. And I realized that, it really fully fledged came out in 1993, The New Economics, which I didn't get. I only had Out of the Crisis.


0:18:49.9 BB: '93.


0:18:49.9 AS: Yeah. And so that just was fascinating to go back to what was already, the oldest teacher I ever had in my life at '92, leave it, come back 10, 15 years later and find out, wait a minute, he added on even more in his final book.


0:19:10.4 BB: Well, Joyce Orsini, who was recruited by Fordham University at the encouragement of Dr. Deming, or the suggestion of Dr. Deming to lead their Deming Scholars MBA program in 1990. Professor Marta Mooney, professor of accounting, who I had the great fortune of meeting several times, was very inspired by Dr. Deming's work. And was able to get his permission to have an MBA program in his name called the Deming Scholars MBA program. And when she asked him for a recommendation, "Who should lead this program?" It was Joyce Orsini, who at the time I think was a vice president at a bank in New York. I'm not sure, possibly in human resources, but I know she was in New York as a vice president.


0:20:10.0 BB: And I believe she had finished her PhD under Dr. Deming at NYU by that time. And the reason I bring up Joyce's name, I met her after Dr. Deming had died. Nancy Mann, who is running a company called Quality Enhancement Seminars with, a, at the beginning one product, Dr. Deming's 4-Day seminar, when Dr. Deming died, and I had mentioned, I was at his last seminar in December '93, she continued offering 4-day seminars. And I met her later that year when she was paired with Ron Moen and they were together presenting it, and others were paired presenting it. And at one point, as I got to know Joyce, she said, "His last five years were borrowed time." I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "He started working on the book in 19'" evidently the '87, '88 timeframe, he started to articulate these words, Profound Knowledge.


0:21:11.0 BB: And I know he had, on a regular basis, he had dinner engagements with friends including Claire Crawford-Mason and her husband. And Claire has some amazing stories of Deming coming by with these ideas. And she said, once she said, "What is this?" And he is, she took out a napkin, a discretely, wrote down the, "an understanding of the difference between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Difference between understanding special causes versus common causes." And she just wrote all this stuff down, typed it up. When he showed up the next week, she greeted him at the door and said, and she said, he said, This is Claire. And Claire said, he said, "What's that?" He says, "Well, I took notes last week."


0:21:54.2 BB: And he says, "I can do better." [chuckle] And so week by week by week. And as he interacted with the people around him, he whittled it down. And I'm guessing it put it into some, there's a technique for grouping things, you, where on post-it notes and you come up with four categories and these things all go over here. There's one of the elements of that, one of the 16 had to, or 18 or so, had to do with Dr. Taguchi's loss function. So that could have gone into the, maybe the variation piece, maybe the systems piece. But Joyce said, basically he was frustrated that the 14 Points were essentially kind of a cookbook where you saw things like, "cease dependence on inspection" interpreted as "get rid of the inspectors." And so he knew and I’d say, guided by his own production of a system mindset, he knew that what he was articulating and the feedback were inconsistent.


0:23:01.9 BB: And I've gotta keep trying. And she said, "His last five years on borrowed time as he was dying of cancer, was just trying to get this message out." So I first got exposed to it 19, spring of '90 when I saw him speaking in Connecticut. And I was all about Taguchi expecting him to, I didn't know what to expect, but I knew what I was seeing and hearing from Dr. Taguchi when I heard Dr. Deming talk about Red Beads. I don't know anything about that, common cause and special cause, I didn't know anything about that. And so for me, it was just a bunch of stuff, and I just tucked it away. But when the book came out in '93, then it really made sense. But I just had to see a lot of the prevailing style of management in the role I had as an improvement specialist, become, [chuckle] a firefighter or a fireman helping people out.


0:24:01.5 AS: I noticed as I've gotten older that, I do start to connect the pieces together of various disciplines and various bits of knowledge to realize, so for instance, in my case, I'm teaching a corporate strategy course right now at the university. Tonight's, in fact, the last night of this particular intake. And my area of expertise is in finance, but now I see the connection between strategy and finance, and how a good strategy is going to be reflected in superior financial performance relative to peers. And of course, I know how to measure that very well. So I can synthesize more and more different areas of things that I know things about, that I just couldn't do when I was younger. So I can see, and he was always learning, obviously. So I can see how he, and also I can also see the idea of, I need bigger principles. I need bigger as you said, theory for transformation. I need, I need to be able to put this into a framework that brings all that together. And I'm still feeling frustrated about some of that, where I'm at with some of that, because I'm kind of halfway in my progress on that. But I definitely can see the idea of that coming later in life as I approach the big 6-0.


0:25:37.3 BB: The big 6-0, [chuckle] Well, but a big part, I mean, based on what you're talking about, it ended up... Previously we spoke about Richard Rumelt's work, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, and I mentioned that I use a lecture by Richard Rumelt, I think it was 2011 or so. It was right after his book, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy came out. He spoke at the London School of Economics, and our listeners can find it if you just did a Google search for Richard Rumelt, that's R-U-M... One M. E-L-T. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy. LSE, London School of Economics. Brilliant, brilliant lecture. And I've seen it numerous times for one of my university courses. And he is like Deming, he doesn't suffer fools. And, it finally dawned on me, Deming organizations, if we can use this simple Deming versus non-Deming or Red Pen versus Blue Pen, and as, George Box would say, all models are wrong, some are useful. If we can use that model, I think it's easy to see that what frustrates Rumelt is you've got all these non-Deming companies coming up with strategies without a method.


0:27:00.0 BB: What Rumelt also talks about is not only do you need a method, but you have to be honest on what's in the way of us achieving this? Again, Dr. Deming would say, if you didn't need a method, why don't you're already achieving the results? And so it just dawned on me thinking the reason he's so frustrated, and I think that's one word you can use to describe him, but if he is talking to senior staff lacking this, an understanding of Deming's work, then he is getting a lot of bad strategies. And organizations that would understand what Dr. Deming's talking about, would greatly benefit from Rumelt's work. And they would be one, they'd have the benefit of having an organization that is beginning or is understanding what a transformation guided by Dr. Deming's work is about. And then you could look up and you're naturally inclined to have good or better strategy than worser strategies.


0:28:02.2 BB: And then you have the benefit of, profit's not the reason, profit is the result of all that. And, but next thing I wanna point out is, and I think we talked about it last time, but I just wanted to make sure it was up here, is I've come across recently and I'm not sure talking with who, but there's this what's in vogue today? Data-driven decisions. And again, whenever I hear the word data, I think backed in Ackoff's DIKUW model, I think data-driven. Well, first Dr. Deming would say, the most important numbers are unknown and unknowable. So if you're doing things on a data-driven way, then you're missing the rest of Dr. Deming's theory of management. But why not knowledge-driven decisions, why not understanding-driven decisions And beyond that, why not, right? How long... [laughter] I guess we can... Part of the reason we're doing these Andrew is that we'd like to believe we're helping people move in the direction from data-driven decisions to wisdom-driven decisions, right?


0:29:13.1 AS: Yeah. In fact, you even had the gall to name this episode the System of Profound Wisdom.


0:29:24.0 BB: And that's the title.


0:29:24.9 AS: There it is.


0:29:28.9 BB: But in terms of, I'll give you a fun story from Rocketdyne years ago, and I was talking with a manager in the quality organization and he says, "you know what the problem is, you know what the problem is?" I said, "what?" He says, "the problem is the executives are not getting the data fast enough." And I said, "what data?" He says "the scrap and rework data, they're just not getting it fast enough." So I said, "no matter how fast they get it, it's already happened."




0:30:00.0 BB: But it was just, and I just couldn't get through to him that, that if we're being reactive and talking about scrap and rework, it's already happened. By the time the... If the executives hear it a second later, it's already happened. It's still old news.


0:30:14.7 AS: And if that executive would've been thinking he would've said, but Bill, I want to be on the cutting edge of history.


0:30:23.1 BB: Yeah, it's like...


0:30:24.6 AS: I don't want information, I don't want old information, really old. I just want it as new as it can be, but still old.


0:30:32.9 BB: Well, it reminds me of an Ackoff quote is, instead of... It's "Change or be changed." Ackoff talked about organizations that instead of them being ready for what happens, they create what's gonna happen, which would be more of a Deming organizational approach. Anyway, we talked about books last time and I thought it'd be neat to share a couple books as one as I've shared the Against All Odds Book about Toyota.


0:31:08.8 AS: Which I'll say is on Amazon, but it's only looks like it's a used book and it's priced at about 70 bucks. So I've just...


0:31:16.2 BB: How much?


0:31:16.8 AS: Got that one down? 70 bucks? Because I think it's, you're buying it from someone who has it as a their own edition or something. I don't know.


0:31:23.8 BB: It's not uncommon. This is a, insider used book thing. It's not uncommon that you'll see books on Amazon for 70, but if you go to ThriftBooks or Abe Books, you can, I have found multi-$100 books elsewhere. I don't know how that happens, but it does. Anyway, another book I wanted to reference in today's episode is Profit Beyond Measure subtitle, Extraordinary Results through Attention to Work and People, published in 2000. You can... I don't know if you can get that new, you definitely get it old or used, written by, H. Thomas Johnson. H is for Howard, he goes by Tom, Tom Johnson. Brilliant, brilliant mind. He visited Rocketdyne a few times.


0:32:17.1 BB: On the inside cover page, Tom wrote, "This book is dedicated to the memory of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, 1900-1993. May the seventh generation after us know a world shaped by his thinking." And in the book, you'll find this quote, and I've used it in a previous episode, but for those who may be hearing it first here and Tom's a deep thinker. He's, and as well as his wife Elaine, they're two very deep thinkers. They've both spoke at Rocketdyne numerous times. But one of my favorite quotes from Tom is, "How the world we perceive works depends on how we think. The world we perceive is the world we bring forth through our thinking." And again, it goes back to, we don't see the world as it is. We see the world as we are. We hear the world as we are. I wrote a blog for The Deming Institute. If our listeners would like to find it, if you just do a search for Deming blog, Bellows and Johnson, you'll find the blog. And the blog is about the book Profit Beyond Measure. And in there, I said, “In keeping with Myron Tribus' observation that what you see depends upon what you thought before you looked, Johnson's background as a cost accountant, guided by seminars and conversations with Dr. Deming, prepared him to see Toyota as a living system,” right? You talk about Toyota.


0:33:53.9 BB: He saw it as a living system, not a value stream of independent parts. And that was, that's me talking. I mean, Tom talked about Toyota's living system. And then I put in there with the Toyota Production System, people talk about value streams. Well, in those value streams, they have a defect, good part, bad part model that the parts are handed off, handed off, handed off. That is ostensibly a value stream of independent parts 'cause the quality model of the Toyota Production System, if you study it anywhere, is not Genichi Taguchi. It's the classic good parts and bad parts. And if we're handing off good parts, they are not interdependent. They are independent. And then I close with, "instead of seeing a focus on the elimination of waste and non-value added efforts, Johnson saw self-organization, interdependence, and diversity, the three, as the three primary principles of his approach, which he called Management By Means." And so what's neat, Andrew, is he, Tom was as a student of Deming's work, attending Dr. Deming seminars, hearing about SoPK, System of Profound Knowledge, and he in parallel developed his own model that he calls Management By Means. But what's neat is if you compare the two, there's three principles. So he says self-organization.


0:35:31.0 BB: Well, that's kind of like psychology and people. So we can self-organize interdependence, the other self-organized, but we're connected with one another. So that's, that's kind of a systems perspective there as well. And the third one, diversity. So when I think of diversity, I think of variation. I can also think in terms of people. So that what I don't see in there explicitly is Theory of Knowledge. But Tom's developing this model in parallel with Dr. Deming's work, probably beginning in the early '80s. And part of what Tom had in mind, I believe, by calling it Management By Means, is juxtaposing it with that other management by, right? You know the other one, Andrew, management by?


0:36:33.8 AS: You mean the bad one or the good one, Management By Objective?


0:36:37.8 BB: Or Management By Results. Or Dr. Deming once said, MBIR, Management by Imposition of Results. But what's neat is, and this is what I cover and with my online courses, Tom is really, it's just such insight. Tom believes that treating the means as the ends in the making. So he's saying that the ends are what happen when we focus on the means, which is like, if you focus on the process, you get the result. But no, MBIR, as we focus on the result, we throw the process out the window. And so when I've asked students in one of my classes is, why does Tom Johnson believe that treating the means as an ends in the making is a much surer route to stable and satisfactory financial performance than to continue as most companies do? You ready, Andrew? To chase targets as if the means do not matter. Does that resonate with you, Andrew?


0:37:44.1 AS: Yes. They're tampering.


0:37:46.8 BB: Yeah. I also want to quote, I met Tom in 1997. I'm not sure if this... Actually, this article is online and I'll try to remember to post a link to it. If I forget, our listeners can contact me on LinkedIn and I'll send you a link to find the paper. This is when I first got exposed to Tom. It just blew me away. I still remember there at a Deming conference in 1997, hearing Tom talk. I thought, wow, this is different. So, Tom's paper that I'm referencing is A Different Perspective on Quality, the subtitle, Bringing Management to Life. Can you imagine? “Bringing Management to Life.” And it was in Washington, DC, the 1997 conference. And then Tom says, this is the opening. And so when Tom and his wife would speak at Rocketdyne or other conferences I organized.


0:38:44.0 BB: Tom read from a lectern. So he needed a box to get up there and he read, whereas Elaine, his wife, is all extemporaneous. Both deeply profound, two different styles. So what Tom wrote here is he says, "despite the impression given by my title, Professor of Quality Management, I do not speak to you as a trained or a certified authority on the subject of quality management. I adopted that title more or less casually after giving a presentation to an audience of Oregon business executives just over six years ago. That presentation described how my thinking had changed in the last five years since I co-authored the 1987 book, Relevance Lost, the Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, and the talk which presaged my 1992 book, Relevance Regained." And this is when he... After he wrote, Relevance Lost, he went on the lecture circuit, he met the likes of Peter Scholtes and Brian Joiner, got pulled into the Deming community.


0:39:45.4 BB: And then he wrote this scathing book called Relevance Regained and the subtitle is... I think our audience will love it, From Top-Down Control to Bottom-Up Empowerment. Then he goes on to say, "in that I told how I had come to believe that management accounting, a subject that I had pursued and practiced for over 30 years." Over 30 years, sounds familiar. Then he says, "could no longer provide useful tools for management. I said in essence that instead of managing by results, instead of driving people with quantitative financial targets, it's time for people in business..." And this is 30 years ago, Andrew. "It's time for people in business to shift their attention to how they organize work and how they relate to each other as human beings. I suggested that if companies organize work and build relationships properly, then the results that accountants keep track of will what? Take care of themselves."


0:40:50.8 AS: It's so true, it's so true.


0:40:54.1 BB: Yeah, it sounds so literally Tom was writing that in 1999, 2000. Well, actually no, that was 1997, that was 1997, but the same sentiment.


0:41:03.4 AS: It just makes me think of the diagram that we see and that Deming had about the flow through a business, it's the same thing as of the flow from activity to result.


0:41:20.6 BB: Yes.


0:41:21.9 AS: And when we focus on the result and work backwards, it's a mess from a long-term perspective, but you can get to the result. It's not to say you can't get to the result, but you're not building a system that can replicate that. But when you start with the beginning of that process of how do we set this up right to get to that result, then you have a repeatable process that can deliver value. In other words, you've invested a large amount in the origination of that process that then can produce for a much longer time. Um, I have to mention that the worst part of this whole time that we talk is when I have to tell you that we're almost out of time 'cause there's so much to talk about. So we do need to wrap it up, but, yeah.


0:42:09.3 BB: All right. I got a couple of closing thoughts from Tom and then we'll pick this up in episode 21.


0:42:21.3 AS: Yep.


0:42:22.9 BB: Let me also say, for those who are really... If you really wanna know... I'd say, before you read The New Economics... I'm sorry, before you read Profit Beyond Measure, one is the article I just referenced, “Bringing Quality to Life” is a good start. I'd also encourage our readers to do a search. I do this routinely. It shouldn't be that hard to find, but look for an article written by Art Kleiner, Art as in Arthur, Kleiner, K-L-E-I-N-E-R. And the article is entitled, Measures... The Measures That Matter. I think it might be What Are The Measures That Matter? And that article brilliantly written by Kleiner who I don't think knows all that much about Deming, but he knows a whole lot about Tom Johnson and Robert Kaplan, who together co-authored "Relevance Lost" and then moved apart. And Tom became more and more Deming and Kaplan became more and more non and finally wrote this article.


0:43:35.6 AS: Is this article coming out in 2002, "What Are The Measures That Matter? A 10-year Debate Between Two Feuding Gurus Shed Some Light on a Vexing Business Question?"


0:43:46.4 BB: That's it.


0:43:47.2 AS: There it is and it's on the...


0:43:47.4 BB: And it is riveting.


0:43:50.8 AS: Okay.


0:43:50.8 BB: Absolutely riveting. Is it put out by...


0:43:54.0 AS: PwC, it looks like and it's under strategy...


0:43:58.5 BB: Pricewaterhouse...


0:43:58.8 AS: Yeah, strategy and business.


0:44:00.2 BB: PricewaterhouseCooper? Yeah.


0:44:01.3 AS: Yeah.


0:44:03.1 BB: And 'cause what's in there is Kleiner explaining that what Tom's talking about might take some time. You can go out tomorrow, Andrew, and slash and burn and cut and show instant results. Now what you're not looking at is what are the consequences? And so... But... And then... But Kleiner I think does a brilliant job of juxtaposing and trying to talk about what makes Kaplan's work, the Balanced Scorecard, so popular. Why is Tom so anti that?


0:44:37.9 BB: And to a degree, it could be for some a leap of faith to go over there, but we'll talk about that later. Let me just close with this and this comes from my blog on The Deming Institute about Profit Beyond Measure and I said, "for those who are willing and able to discern the dramatic differences between the prevailing focus of systems that aim to produce better parts with less waste and reductions to non-value-added efforts," that's my poke at Lean and Six Sigma, "and those systems that capitalize on a systemic connection between parts. Tom's book, Profit Beyond Measure, offers abundant food for thought. The difference also represents a shifting from profit as the sole reason for a business to profit as the result of extraordinary attention to working people, a most fitting subtitle to this book."


0:45:35.9 AS: Well, Bill, on behalf of everyone at The Deming Institute, I want to thank you again for the discussion and for listeners, remember to go to to continue your journey. If you wanna keep in touch with Bill, just find him on LinkedIn. This is your host, Andrew Stotz, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Deming, "People are entitled to Joy in work" and I hope you are enjoying your work.