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Sep 26, 2023

In this episode, John Dues and host Andrew Stotz discuss what Dr. Deming meant by "institute training on the job" and "adopt and institute leadership" (principles 6 and 7). How do you follow those principles in the context of education?


0:00:02.6 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 discussion with John Dues, who is part of the new generation of educators striving to apply Dr. Deming's principles to unleash student joy in learning. This is episode 13, and we're continuing our discussion about the shift from management myths to principles for the transformation of schools systems. John, take it away.

0:00:30.0 John Dues: Good to be back, Andrew. Yeah. We've turned to this set of principles that can be used by systems leaders to guide their transformation work. In the last few episodes, we've discussed the first five principles, the five of the 14. Just to recap real quick, we did constancy of purpose was number one. Principle two is adopt the new philosophy. Then we did principle three, cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Four was maximize high quality learning, and the last time we talked about working continually on the system. And then the plan today is to talk about the sixth principle, which is institute training, and then the seventh principle, which is adopt and institute leadership. So, I figure we just dive in with principle six. So sort of the short version is "institute training on the job." And this really is training for everybody in the system. So in our system that would be students, teachers, staff, management, basically so that everyone can make better contributions to the school system.


0:01:42.7 JD: And just to clarify, when I'm talking about training, I think what it's important to know is that I'm talking about learning how to do a particular job within the system using a particular set of methods and tools. And basically the purpose of training in a system is to allow a worker or a student to know exactly what their job is. Now, we're constantly updating that training because in our world for teachers and principals, you have to constantly develop new skills to keep up with changes in whatever it may be, cognitive science, new curriculum, lesson design, new technology, better teaching techniques. Any number of things that we're training on and improving our training on on an ongoing basis. But a major aim of the training in our system is to reduce variation in methods, basically. I think no matter what type of training you get as a teacher, I think you've experienced variation in methods.


0:02:51.3 JD: And if you go to pretty much any school building in the United States, I think most educators would very quickly tell you, and I think even parents and students, you could sort of go room to room and say, yep, that's the strict teacher. That's the teacher that lets you get away with anything. So this is sort of commonly known when it comes to how teachers run their classrooms, especially on the classroom management level. Everybody knows who has the highly structured classrooms or the disciplined classrooms, but this really does cause problems when you think about it, 'cause there's this mixed message about what a classroom is supposed to look like. And I think on the flip side of classroom management is instruction. And I think there's a lot of variation there. And that's more hidden, I think, but probably possibly more important to sort of consider. And so when you have a typical, let's say an elementary school, an elementary school has three third grade classrooms, and each of those three teachers in most schools in the US, they operate pretty independently of each other.


0:04:05.6 JD: And a lot of schools, each of those teachers would have their own sort of preferred methods. And even sequencing for how that, let's say, a math class is taught. But then the problem is that some combination of students from each one of those classes in third grade that following year are gonna end up in a fourth grade classroom. And now this fourth grade teacher has to deal with this. And really the fourth grade teacher is this customer of the third grade teachers. But if each of the third grade teachers are sort of doing their own thing, then they've sort of optimized each of their own classrooms at the expense of the system. So that's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about sort of reducing variation in methods through training.


0:04:58.9 AS: So there's a few things to discuss in this that I think are interesting. The first thing is, let me just repeat what you said. The aim is to reduce variation in methods. I think most people, if they expected you to say something, they would've expected you to say, "The goal is to reduce variation in outcomes." So tell us why... Now, it may be that methods get to reduce variation in outcomes, but you're focusing on methods. So just tell us a little bit more, because also as we know, there's teachers want some independence and there's some academic independence, at least at let's say university level. They try to have more of that. But maybe you could talk a little bit more about the methods and why you focus on methods instead of just saying you do it the best you can. And one other thing I would say about that is that you could say that if you had three different teachers, different styles, some students would perform better in one style versus another. But a counter argument is, well, we're not sorting them by that to put them into those classrooms. So it's only by luck if that happens. So tell us more about that.


0:06:05.5 JD: Yeah, I think when I'm talking about methods, maybe I should maybe use a little bit different language, but I think probably the most important thing here is that the same sort of high quality curriculum is in front of students. And let's take a math curriculum, for example. Many schools, even at the school building level, there could very well be variation in what the teachers are putting in front of the students, and even in the same school, in the same grade level, let's take those three third grade math classrooms. Now, it's certainly possible that those teachers have taken upon themselves to have a highly sort of coherent system, it's also possible that their school or their district has a highly coherent system, but a lot of times what I found is that, each teacher is sort of making their own decisions, and they sort of say, I'm following the state standards, but those state standards are often general statements, and there's a lot of wiggle room [chuckle] into what you could sort of fit into that.


0:07:11.6 JD: And so what ends up happening is people go to the internet and go to various websites and they print off their preferred worksheets a lot of times. And so when I'm talking about variation in methods, what I'm mostly talking about is a high quality curriculum that's coherent and it's used in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade and fifth grade. Now, within that, teachers have... Still have many, many, many, many decisions to make in terms of how that curriculum gets used, how they sort of adapt it to their students, how they design individual lessons, there's all kinds of room for sort of creativity, individual decision-making, responding to how your students are doing when you actually put it in front of them, but that's mainly what I'm talking about when I'm talking about variation in methods.


0:08:04.8 AS: Okay, got it.


0:08:07.5 JD: Yeah. So, I mean, I think we sort of recognized this as a school network here in Columbus, we have the two elementary schools, the two middle schools. We're a fairly young organization and our oldest building is 15 years old, our newest building is only five years old, and so because we're a relatively young organization, many of our teachers are very early in their careers. So this sort of training, having a set of methods, a set of curricula that we're training on was really important, and so we thought it was so important in fact that we actually have a three-week... It's three and a half weeks that we call a summer institute for teachers prior to the start of the school year. It's a little bit shorter for veteran teachers, but for new teachers, it's three and a half weeks and they actually just finished it 'cause this is our first day of school actually today, so we have the summer institute, and so that was important to us, we're gonna have this training program for our early career teachers, but then the question quickly becomes, what is it that we're doing during that summer institute time period?


0:09:22.4 JD: And so that's where I think this sort of deliberate thought about training comes in, so one of the things that we did is design a capacity matrix for teachers, and so we've talked about this, but just basically outlining what are the capacities that we want teachers to learn and develop during their time with us, not only as new teachers, but it's a sort of an ongoing development road map really, and we have this capacity matrix that outlines the skills, the mindsets, the knowledge that we want teachers to sort of gain over time, some of it through this summer institute, and it sort of defines, "Here's the capacities." It breaks those capacities down into things that we're then linking to specific training sessions throughout that summer institute. And it's not really an evaluation tool, it's more like a road map for, "Here are the things I wanna be working on, here's how I'm doing, here's some areas where I can go learn this even, outside the training because the capacity matrix also has readings linked, it also has podcasts or videos or books that are linked, that if there's an area that a teacher is particularly interested in, they can do a deeper dive in it, and then there's also a way to sort of track their learning over time. So that's a way to sort of add some structure to this idea of instituting training on the job.


0:10:55.6 AS: It sounds like I would be excited to sit into that 3.5 week... Three and a half week summer institute. Like just the excitement of new teachers and of prior teachers sharing their experience. I imagine that they don't get that much time to do that during the school year.


0:11:15.7 JD: Yeah, it gets tough, I mean, unless you're really deliberate about building that into your schedule because most teachers are with students obviously the majority of the day, so we have this three and a half week summer institute for new teachers, and then we also built in at least an hour a week of PD on an ongoing basis, and then we also have eight days that are so...


0:11:35.1 AS: To the listeners out there, PD means Professional Development.


0:11:38.9 JD: Oh, right. Professional Development. Yep, Professional Development.


0:11:41.4 AS: Okay. Got it.


0:11:41.9 JD: Cheers. But you mentioned teachers are excited to share what they learn, and so this summer institute has a deliberate design on that front as well. So all teachers that are in their first and second year with United Schools Network go to this three and a half week training, and then it's about half that for more experienced teachers. But the reason we do that is because early on we got this feedback that for new teachers and the amount of stuff they're trying to download on the curriculum front, on the classroom management front and other areas is basically a blur. And then they come back after living it for a year now, they're going through that full summer institute as a second year teacher, they say, "Oh, I actually can sit at a table with the new teachers and they're actually a second teacher within the training." And that's a part of the deliberate design is you've kind of lived it, you've learned it, you've applied what you learned, and now I can come back, I'm still learning as a second year teacher, obviously, early in my career, but now I have a lot to sort of pass on during each of those trainings in addition to what they're getting from who the actual trainer is up in front of the room.


0:13:03.1 AS: Well, it's interesting because I was also thinking about a production line, like a worker on a production line doesn't say, "Okay, on my shift, we're gonna do this differently." A worker on a production line learns how that process works, how it's measured, why it's important to do it this way, so that it... How it impacts the next part of the process. So whether we talk about a worker on a production line, whether we talk about a worker in an office doing software development, the fact is is that ultimately what we really want is to standardize what we're doing and then innovate over time. It's not that we don't want an employee or a teacher to stand up and say, "Okay, I think we can improve this now. Yeah, we've been doing this for a year this way, but I see more improvements that could be done." And that's where you get into this process of PDSA and thinking about how do we improve this in a methodical way.


0:14:06.7 JD: Yeah. Well, and there's two things that come to mind. So I used to be the point person on curriculum development training. I led that training in our network for I think a dozen years. And so what I would tell the first year teachers... So I had first and second year teachers in my training every year. I would tell the first year teachers, you're gonna get a curriculum that's been built and tested over a number of years. Do not touch it across the school year. And here's the reason why. One, you're learning all these new procedures and processes, you're learning this new curriculum, and you're sort of learning it just in time to teach it to students in terms of the curriculum that you're gonna put in front of students. And all of these different stages are linked.


0:14:50.1 JD: And if you start making changes in an early stage, there's sort of this waterfall that happens throughout the entire process that you're not gonna be aware of initially. And so I tell them, wait till your second year that you have the full sort of system picture in your head of your curriculum before you start making changes. And that works pretty well, and and then you'd have the second year teachers there saying, "Yes, yes, do that, do that." [chuckle] 'Cause what he is saying is, "Basically, I learned this the hard way, or you know, I thought I could do this and what happens is, I had to... I thought I was changing a lesson and that ended up meaning I had to change a unit and then I had to change an assessment that's tied to this unit and so I didn't have that full picture." So that was one thing I'm thinking of. And another thing is, you know, we want feedback on this summer institute delivery. So many of the people that are delivering this training are senior leaders.


0:15:46.3 JD: Many have been with us for more than a decade. But even just this week we got this long feedback from a first year staff member on summer institute. And an organization can respond to that in different ways. It could be, well, "Who do you think you are sending me this feedback? You just got here." But the response to that staff member was, "This is great. School starts soon, let's... We'll wait a few weeks, schedule a time so this is still fresh in our heads, and we're gonna sort of take notes on this and think about how we could incorporate this feedback into the design of summer institute next summer." And so that's sort of the continual improvement mindset, be it... Could be at the individual teacher level, or in this case it's the whole network's summer institute that we're taking a look at, but everything is on the table for continual improvement, yeah.


0:16:35.9 AS: Well, and it raises another point, which Dr. Deming talks about. I know Toyota talks about too, in the stuff that they talk about, about being a learning organization. And what does it mean to be a learning organization? The most important thing about being a learning organization, to me, is the cumulative learning. It's not the training and we do this and we have this training and we support learning and all that, it's the cumulative learning. Like you said, we've been improving this, this process, this curriculum, this teaching process over many iterations and we've gotten it to here.


0:17:14.3 JD: Yep.


0:17:15.1 AS: The objective is to bring it to the next level.


0:17:17.3 JD: Yeah.


0:17:17.7 AS: Now, you can imagine, a way to think about that is, imagine you're a new CEO, you go in and you say, "We're throwing all that out and we're going with this." And it's like all that cumulative learning is gone.


0:17:30.5 JD: Yep. Yep.


0:17:31.3 AS: Now, it's not to say that that cumulative learning ended up in the right place. That's a whole another discussion about being in touch with the customer.


0:17:40.3 JD: Yep.


0:17:41.2 AS: And making sure that you're delivering with your cumulative learning.


0:17:44.5 JD: Yep.


0:17:44.8 AS: But if you are delivering what you're supposed to be delivering to your, you know, what your customer wants, then, then it really is a matter of how do you keep that learning in your organization? And I think that's... So your three and a half week summer institute is a great example of a training method and the response about, "Hey, that's a... We are going to get all this feedback of lots of improvements, but we're not gonna do it right now, we're gonna put that together, think about it, observe, and then try to figure out, okay, one of these is particularly good." For instance, in my case with my valuation masterclass bootcamp, I'm just about to launch my 11th bootcamp.


0:18:23.9 AS: So, and I can do my iterations in about eight weeks. Bootcamp lasts six weeks, I take two weeks off, then we do it again. And I'm trying to do as many iterations as I can. And the newest iteration, after many great iterations is we are gonna test a buddy system. And we've been designing it, discussing it, looking at how do we build this into the program with the objective that the buddy system basically helps our pass rate. In other words, the people that feel like dropping out don't drop out because they've made a connection with one individual, they're already on a team, so they got a team feedback. So that is a new, just one new learning piece that we're gonna test and then see where it ends up at the end of the, you know, of the, of the six weeks. So that's an example.


0:19:11.0 JD: Yeah, that's a really good example. And I know we talked about the, that class prior, that eight-week class and... Sorry, the six week class and how it's sort of a natural sort of PDSA cycle that you're running through each of those. So you have a lot of those cycles. You just kind of keep making it better and better, you know?


0:19:28.7 AS: Well, that's what... When I heard you talk about, we'll look at that at the next three and a half week summer institute I thought, "Gosh, does it, is that," I mean, I guess that you've got improvements that you're doing throughout the school year, that you're already determined this is the things we're gonna work on, but also you have to accept the fact that everybody's probably overloaded. And so it isn't that easy to say we're gonna improve a zillion things. And that's for the listeners out there, you know, it's an important thing to understand your own capacities in your organization and to understand the cycles that you're doing through your process. If you can speed up the cycles, then you can speed up your testing and your learning. And that's something that most of the time we'll just say, well, my cycle is my cycle, but maybe not. Maybe there's some way to speed it up, 'cause I know we used to teach the valuation masterclass bootcamp every six months, and I'm like, no, it's not enough cycles.


0:20:25.0 JD: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's, I mean, being able to do those sprints like that on a repeated basis is definitely an advantage, you know. I think when I was leading that curriculum development training, so there was, it was usually a two day training, the one I was doing. And, you know, I would get some on the spot feedback. I'd say if there's something that's, I can improve to make this a better experience tell me, just write, you know, if it's something I can fix quick. That's how I handled that in the moment. And then I would have some more formal surveys and, you know, some of that feedback I could take and apply to other things that were similar workshops I was doing, you know, throughout the professional development I was leading throughout the year. And then the first thing that I did as I started making that two day session better for the next summer institute was go back through that more formal feedback that folks had left. Then I have, I have those boxes of trainings going back that dozen years, including all the feedback that I got over the dozen years. So, yeah.


0:21:25.5 AS: So let's, I think that wraps up a great discussion on principle six. And I'll just summarize a couple things from it before we move on to principle seven, which is, principle six is institute training on the job. The point is, you want to get everybody to make better contributions to the system. And training is for skills as you've talked to us about. Whereas education is maybe for the acquisition of knowledge. And training is about learning how to do a job with a particular set of tools. And the aim is to reduce variation in methods. And you talked about classroom management, you talked about instruction and you talked about the same high quality curriculum in front of the students. We also talked about your three and a half week summer institute, which is happening before the school term starts. And the value of that. And you talked about the capacity matrix where you're looking at, you know, a roadmap and trying to link specific training sessions to activities and stuff. Is there anything you would add to wrap up principle six?


0:22:26.3 JD: Yeah, it's just in that capacity matrix is, sort of begin with the end. It's, that's where we started with the roadmap and sort of then worked our way backwards to the training from that, what was the end goal, these things in the capacity matrix. And then we sort of plan backwards from there, map that back to the summer institute.


0:22:44.6 AS: Got it. And now, principle seven, leadership.


0:22:48.6 JD: Yeah, principle seven is adopt and institute leadership. And basically the aim of the leadership is to help people that are working in a system do a better job. And that's management's responsibility. And Deming here is specifically talking about shifting from that focus on outcomes or solely focusing on outcomes to focusing on the quality of learning experiences or other types of services that are being produced by the education system. I think in Deming's language, he was talking about the transformation and he was talking about this, including in the transition of managers and supervisors to become leaders. And so he was I think looking at abolishing this focus on outcome, the management by numbers, the numerical goals, performance appraisal, merit pay, and installing what he called leadership. And then, you know, he sort of operationally defined what he meant by that.


0:23:52.8 JD: But basically, you know, leadership following Deming philosophy, I think the most important thing is that leaders are responsible for creating this environment, in our case, where educators and students can have sort of genuine interest in their work and that, you know, they're supported to do it well. And I think, you know, this becomes like a mutually reinforcing activity. Meaning that if people are interested in their work and learning, then they'll wanna do it well, they're gonna accept help to do that. You know, and if we set up the conditions to help them do that well, then their interest will increase and this sort of virtuous cycle is created. But then I think in many cases we have the opposite that occurs, sort of, when we don't have this type of leadership, get this vicious cycle where people just aren't, they don't feel like they're doing a good job, their interest in work or learning plummets, and then this causes them to in turn do a poorer job, which in turn lessens interest further.


0:24:58.6 JD: And I think one of the things I think of is education sort of broadly in the United States is sort of in one of these vicious cycles. We talked about the number of new teachers that are coming into the system and then being spat out of the system each year. There's this constant churn, we're sort of in this vicious cycle where we get all these new teachers across the United States, and many of those new teachers are leaving because of dissatisfaction, not feeling like they're doing a good job, not feeling like they have been set up for success. Those types of things. And I'm convinced and that's why I wrote the book and talk about these things. I'm convinced that the virtuous cycle is more likely to occur when we transform following the System of Profound Knowledge. I think when you truly appreciate your organization as a system, you have sort of logical theories of variation and knowledge and at least a basic understanding of psychological concepts like intrinsic motivation. I think that's when you truly have a chance to transform your organization.


0:26:11.2 JD: And I talked about Dr. Deming operationally defining leadership. What was he talking, cause there's many different sort of, probably we'd have many different definitions if we surveyed a hundred people about what it means to be a leader. And there's this great resource that Dr. Deming distributed at many of his four day seminars, especially the ones closer to the end of his life called Some Attributes of a Leader. And there's sort of nine points to that really, when I go through those, they really paint a clear picture, okay, this is really what leadership means when you're following the Deming philosophy. So I think it's worth unpacking those a little bit.


0:26:56.7 AS: And do you think... I mean, where do people fall down? Where they're supposed to be bringing leadership to an organization and instead they're bringing, I don't know, something else.


0:27:11.7 JD: Yeah, something else. And maybe even people that would um, maybe sometimes display some of these attributes, I think where we often fall down as leaders is when things get tough. And that's when we actually need to double down on these attributes, these leadership attributes. And when oftentimes we sort of revert back to the prevailing system of management, 'cause it's easier, maybe maybe even get some short-term impact, but it's always worse in the long-term, and that's the problem. And these things are hard. Some people probably could pinpoint some on this list of nine that they do well and others that maybe where they struggle. And I think that's fine, but I think having this list that explicitly defines leadership within the Deming philosophy is important. So I just go through these?


0:28:11.4 AS: Yeah. Go ahead.


0:28:11.9 JD: And we can talk about... I think the first one, and we've talked about elements of all of these things, but the first one is just really whatever I'm a leader of, whether it's a department or a school or whatever, whatever business unit that I'm a leader of, I think understanding how that fits into the overall aim of the system is really, really important. How does my grade level, or how does my classroom, or how is my school, how is my school system, how does it fit into the larger system? And I think you have to know that. That's key. A second attribute would be in that recognition of where you fit in the system is that you have a responsibility to work with preceding and following stages.


0:29:02.0 JD: This is pretty easy to sort of identify in a school system. If I'm a third grade teacher, I need to work with second grade teachers. I need to work with the fourth grade teachers. And that doesn't... That type of vertical sort of work doesn't often happen in a school system. But, you know, that focus has to be on our customer, both internal and external. And if I'm a third grade teacher, one of my customers is the second grade teacher, and one of my customers is also the fourth grade teacher. I think many managers, I think sort of see as one of their primary responsibilities to motivate the people that work on their team. And I think a sort of a better frame, and this is attribute three, is that leaders should work to remove barriers to joy in work and learning.


0:29:58.4 JD: And that's a slightly different conception. Maybe it's a very different conception than, you're not trying to motivate folks. You're trying to remove things that would lead to joy in work and learning, removing those barriers, that's what your job is as a leader. I think attribute four is, you are really there when you're a leader to act as a coach and counsel, not a judge. So I think that's an easy one to default to acting like a judge when things aren't going well. And one of the things about being a leader is knowing when someone is truly outside of the system and in need of special help. And that could be an employee, a teacher, a principal, or it could be a student.


0:30:53.2 JD: It's not, when we understand variation using the sort of Deming philosophy, we're not asking are our students or our employees different, but rather are they significantly different? And that's where some of these statistical methods come in. And when you have this in your leadership toolkit, then you know what questions to ask and you also know what action to take. Sure, some students might be performing lower than others, but are they statistically significant differences? And if they are, I'm gonna react to that. I think of, there is this really great figure that demonstrate this, where you have like a bell curve and you're trying to shrink the variation of that bell curve.


0:31:44.8 JD: You're trying to move it to the right, assuming right is better performance. And then you're sort of looking, is there anybody that requires special help 'cause they're outside of that system. And then if they are, then you have to provide that. That's a responsibility of leadership. But something like a process behavior chart or a control chart can help point you toward those data points that you should be paying attention to. I think another sort of key attribute of a leader is you're obviously always working to improve teaching and learning processes. Everybody's gonna say that. But what you're doing is trying to improve those processes instead of doing the sorting, the tracking, the ranking, the grading, those types of things. So that's what I was talking about when things get hard, yout know that's what people default to because it's sort of known.


0:32:46.4 JD: Attribute seven is creating trust, which, I think that, it goes without saying, whether people do that I think is another thing. I think there's lots of different ways to do that. But a key thing when you're a manager I think is follow through. I think you don't follow through on plans, if you don't follow through on commitments, I think that's where I see a lot of leaders sort of drop the ball and people stop trusting.


0:33:17.5 AS: Let me ask you about, number four I believe was act as a coach, not a judge. What was number five?


0:33:23.7 JD: Number five was, was, I don't think I stated it really explicitly, but basically, basically using data to help them understand people and themselves. So basically using knowledge about variation to understand who, if anybody, is in need of special help.


0:33:43.0 AS: Yeah. And six?


0:33:44.4 JD: Six was, working to improve the teaching and learning processes versus relying on the sorting, the tracking, the grading, the ranking. And that could be students or rating and ranking employees too. Seven was create trust.


0:34:00.2 AS: And then seven is creating trust.


0:34:03.5 JD: Yep. I think eight is, don't expect perfection. Forgive a mistake. People are gonna make mistakes. And in fact, you wanna, part of our capacity matrix for new teachers is how do you create a culture of error with students in your classroom? And that means instead of hiding mistakes, students are comfortable, when they make a mistake, highlighting that so that we can give feedback and fix it basically. Yeah.


0:34:34.2 AS: Yep.


0:34:34.2 JD: That's learning is, you get it wrong, then you get it right. Right? But you can't do that if people are always trying to sort of protect their mistakes, that type of thing. And then nine I think is, you know, listening and learning without passing judgment on the folks that they're listening to. I think that's... Again, a lot of these things are, you know, people have heard them before. I think many people would say they do them. I think, again, in reality, [chuckle] if you got that feedback from the folks that are in your department or in your school or in your school system, you might not be doing as well on those things as you may have thought.


0:35:16.7 AS: Let me summarize this a little bit for all of us. So we're talking about principle seven, adopt and institute leadership. The idea is help people in the system to do a better job and shifting from focusing on outcomes to quality of services. And I remember when I was in university, MBO was the big thing. Now it's KPI, but MBO was management by objective. And a lot of what he, Dr. Deming was talking about is by what method? It's not just, hey, let's just agree on, what, you get the result. I don't care how you get it.


0:35:50.2 JD: Right.


0:35:50.3 AS: And then you also talked about how leaders are responsible for creating the environment. You also talked about without leadership, there's like a downward spiral. And that maybe the US is in that downward spiral. And you see that when leaders really fail is when times get tough and they gotta make tough decisions. And then finally on that, you talked about how the System of Profound Knowledge could possibly be a way out of this downward spiral and into a cycle of learning. You talked about the nine principles, number one, understand how my area fits into the larger system. Two, you need to work with the preceding and following stages. You need to understand that. Number three, work to remove barriers to joy in work. I love that. Number four, act as a coach, not a judge. Number five, use data and knowledge of variation to help people better understand. Number six, work to improve the process rather than spending your time on rating and ranking. Number seven is create trust. Number eight is don't expect perfection. And number nine is listen and learn without passing judgment. Is there anything you would add to wrap up this awesome discussion?


0:37:02.0 JD: Yeah, I mean, I think just being really deliberate with the language instead of principles so we don't confuse people. I would call those, those are attributes of a leader.


0:37:11.5 AS: Okay.


0:37:11.8 JD: Just to kind of keep that clear, and, you know, a common question for Dr. Deming, I think at his seminars, because since he railed against performance appraisal, you know, a typical audience sort of follow up question then is: "Well, how do you choose candidates for promotion?" And his typical answer was, "What better than the ability to be a leader?" And then, so what he was talking about were those nine attributes. You identify those nine attributes, those are the people that you wanna be promoting in your organization. Folks that possess those.


0:37:44.7 AS: Yes. And I would just add to that in wrapping up that, part of what you realize as you get more mature, and I think most people understand it even at a low level or starting out in a business or their career, is that no measure captures what you need. You need to make a judgment about a person as a potential leader. There's no measure that could have determined Steve Jobs' ability to create Apple. In fact, if you had measured it, you probably would've kicked him out, which they did. And then eventually he came back.




0:38:21.6 AS: And so...


0:38:22.2 JD: Yeah.


0:38:22.6 AS: Go ahead.


0:38:23.3 JD: It'd be a hard thing. Well, I was just gonna say, as a principal, one of the types of leaders I was choosing, it was who was gonna be the grade level chair. So that was like a teacher leader position in our building. And I knew when I worked through that process, people applied for it. And I would sort of name the grade level chair. When I didn't hear a single piece of feedback, I knew I picked the right person, because people were like, yeah, that's the person. Right? And when you get a lot of pushback, [chuckle] that's when you just sort of need to go reevaluate, does this person actually have these nine attributes?


0:38:57.3 AS: Beautiful. Well, John, on behalf of everyone at the Deming Institute, I want to thank you again for another awesome discussion. For listeners, remember to go to to continue your journey, and of course, you can find John's book Win-Win: W. Edwards Deming, the System of Profound Knowledge and the Science of Improving Schools on 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 learning," I'm gonna add in.