Interviews with members of The Deming Institute community, including industry leaders, practitioners, educators, Deming family members and others who share their stories of transformation and success through the innovative management and quality theories of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
What do training and leadership really mean? Deming in Schools Case Study (Part 13)
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
Who Needs Special Help? Role of a Manager in Education (Part 9)
Most of the time, variation between students or workers is the result of common cause situations, but sometimes you find folks who consistently aren't performing at the same level. Does more punishment work? What should you do instead? In the episode, David Langford and host Andrew Stotz discuss how managers (or teachers) should approach these "special cause" situations.
0:00:02.4 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 David P. Langford, who has devoted his life to applying Dr. Deming's philosophy to education, and he offers us his practical advice for implementation. Today we continue our discussion of Dr. Deming's 14 items that he discusses in his New Economics book about the role of a manager of people after the transformation. This is on page 86 of the third edition, or page 125 of the second edition. And this is point number nine. Let me read it to you before we get started. So again, for a, the role of a manager of people, this is the new role of a manager of people after transformation. Point number nine, he will try to discover who, if anyone, is outside the system in need of special help. This can be accomplished with simple calculations. If there be individual figures on production or on failures. Special help may be only simple rearrangement of work. It might be more complicated. He in need of special help is not in the bottom 5% of the distribution of others. He is clean outside that distribution. And Dr. Deming presents a normal distribution and some other things, in this chart that he presents in this one. And we're gonna call this episode: Who Needs Special Help? David, take it away.
0:01:40.5 David Langford: Okay. Yeah, this is always a topic of discussion because, there's all kinds of management theories out there, right? About, how we manage, I can't remember who, was a proponent of just getting rid of the bottom 10% of your...
0:01:57.9 AS: Jack Welch.
0:01:58.0 DL: Organization every year. Jack Welch, yeah. Notoriously wrong, with that. And, or well, "if you can't cut it, out you go." And that all sounds good until it becomes so expensive to constantly be hiring new people and replacing people. And the fear level goes up so high that you can't get anything done because nobody wants to take any risks because you really can't take a risk because you might be gone. So Deming is saying a lot really in this point, he talks about the distribution of people. Well, so first thing is you have to figure out what is that distribution, right? So how are you calculating that? Or how are you figuring out what that performance level is? Well, as a teacher in a classroom, obviously, you have tests that you're giving, you have projects that are happening, etcetera. It is actually pretty easy to see that distribution of performance in a classroom. You give a simple test on something and then you look at the test results and you start to see, okay, everybody scored on this test from 70%-100% on this test, right? So you can say, okay, that's an average of about 85 or so for the whole class.
0:03:31.5 DL: When you look at it on a histogram scale like that, what Deming is really talking about, he's not talking about just the people that were scoring at the lower end of that distribution. People that were getting 70, 75, 80, etcetera. They were all at the lower end of the distribution of that system. But what it's showing is that's the capability of the system. You did something, you did a process with people, you tested the process, the process produced that curve, and on average, it gives you an average of 85. Now deciding whether or not that's good, is good, is good good enough, that's a whole different really discussion than what really Deming is talking about here. So he's not talking about people just on the lower end of a distribution of performance. He's
Resource Management: Awaken Your Inner Deming (Part 9)
In this episode, Bill Bellows and host Andrew Stotz talk about resource management in a non-traditional sense. Bill explains how managing the variation and integration in your product or service is just as important as increasing consistency and removing waste.
0:00:02.3 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 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. The topic for today is episode nine, Resource Management. Bill, take it away.
0:00:28.9 Bill Bellows: Thank you, Andrew. And thanks for our audience and thanks for joining in again. So we're picking up following episode nine, which was, I called it the Paradigms of Variation. It was, I think the title on the podcast may be a little bit different, but what we've been building up to from the beginning is, parallel tracks. But one aspect that I've been trying to bring forward is this idea of variation in the white beads. We talked about the white bead experiment and the idea that the red beads are not caused by the workers, they're caused by the system.
0:01:13.5 BB: And then what if we got to the point that there were no more red beads? Yes, we can make the red beads faster, we can make the red beads cheaper, but could we make, I'm sorry, we can make the white beads faster. We can make the white beads cheaper with the elimination of the red beads, but if we're dealing with nothing but white beads that are cheaper and made faster, can we improve the quality of the beads? And what I found is, when I press on people, they'll say, "Yes, everything can be improved. Everything can be improved. When I press, press, press, they'll say faster. They'll say cheaper. I said, "Yeah, we said that." I said, "But can they be better?"
0:01:53.4 BB: Is that what Dr. Deming's trying to say with continuous improvement that we stop it a 100% white beads? Or can we go further? And I find people get stuck. And I think it's very easy to get stuck, because that's the world we live in of good parts and bad parts. We focus on the bad to make them good. And what do they do when they're good? Well, they met requirements. But what's missing is this key word called variation. And yes, there's variation in the red beads and Dr. Deming would plot that on a control chart. But Dr. Deming also discovered in, definitely in 1960, from Dr. Taguchi who he met a few years earlier, this notion of variation in the white beads and that the, so I talked earlier also about question number one and quality management.
0:02:44.0 BB: Does this quality characteristic meet requirements? There's only two answers, remember Andrew, yes or no. But then question number two is how many ways are there to meet requirements? And I'd say there's an infinite number if you take into account, how many decimal places you can go. And that, the idea that you can have anywhere from the absolute minimum to the absolute maximum of the requirements is there's all those places be in between. That's called variation. And does it matter where you are within spec? Within spec? And again, by spec I mean specification. You've met the requirements for the activity. And so what we did in episode nine, I'm sorry, episode eight is look at what I call the Two Distribution exercise. And you may have caught me saying there are four suppliers.
0:03:41.7 BB: And at the end I said, forget about the four. There's actually two. I've done it with four, I've done it with two but the important thing is when I show people a number of distributions within requirements, and one of them will be, we'll go from the minimum to the maximum with near zero and frequency at either end to then high in the middle. And I'll say, "The middle is the ideal value." And th
The Student Supply Chain and Using PDSA for Improvement Deming in Schools Case Study with John Dues (Part 12)
In this series, John Dues and host Andrew Stotz discuss principles that educational systems leaders can use to guide their transformation work. This episode covers principles 4 and 5: maximize high-quality learning and work continually on the system.
0:00:02.5 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. Today is episode 12, and we're continuing our discussion about the shift from management myths to principles for the transformation of schools' systems. John, take it away.
0:00:34.4 John Dues: Andrew, it's good to be back. Yeah, like you said, we've sort of turned to this set of principles that can be used by educational systems leaders to guide their transformation work. Two episodes ago, we sort of kicked off the principles, gave a little bit of an introduction. We talked about principle one, which is create constancy of purpose. And then the last time we talked, we kind of broke down two principles. Principle two was adopt the new philosophy, and principle three was, cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. So in this episode, I was gonna sort of take on the next two, the fourth and fifth principles. So the fourth principle is, maximize high quality learning. And the fifth principle is, work continually on the system.
0:01:28.6 JD: So I thought we'd sort of kick things off with principle four, that idea around maximize high quality learning. And I think sort of... If I was gonna capture that principle in just a couple sentences, I would say, you wanna maximize high quality learning and minimize total cost of education by improving the relationship with educational institutions from which students come and to which they matriculate. So, we're thinking about a single source of students coming into a system, such as an elementary school student moving into a middle school, and seeing that as an opportunity to build a long term relationship of loyalty and trust. So that's sort of the overarching idea. And I think if you sort of look at this principle through the lens of United Schools Network, where I work in Columbus, Ohio, I think that's sort of a helpful lens. And when you think about our origin story, we started as a single middle school serving a few east side neighborhoods, near downtown Columbus. And I was the founding principal, school director of that particular campus.
0:02:55.3 JD: And at the time, we decided we were gonna open a middle school, 'cause this is the point often in a student's educational career where they fall so far behind, they often then drop out of school altogether just a few years later. So we wanted to get them in middle school. So, before we were this sort of network of schools in the school system, we were this one school that grew from serving just sixth grade over the first few years to sixth through eighth grade, right. And when you looked at these east side neighborhoods where we were located, there were 15 or so elementary schools from the city school system that formed this sort of de facto feeder pattern into our middle school. Most of those schools were performing in the bottom 5% of schools in the state. Which means when those students then matriculated to our middle school, they typically did so in... The typical kid was at least two, but more often three and even four grade levels below where they should be when they enrolled with us in 6th grade.
0:04:18.1 JD: And, while I didn't have this Deming lens at the time, I did sort of approach things from a process standpoint, from a system standpoint. But, as the middle school principal, I'm thinking about sort of all that entails to run a school and a new school at that, so we're doing all the things that come with a startup. There
Whose fault is it? Role of a Manager in Education (Part 8)
When things go wrong, who gets blamed? When things go right, who gets the credit? Dr. Deming wrote that good managers don't play the blame/credit game. Instead, they "study results [of feedback] with the aim to improve performance." In this episode, David Langford and host Andrew Stotz discuss getting honest feedback, how to react, and why it's important.
0:00:02.7 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 David P. Langford, who has devoted his life to applying Dr. Deming's philosophy to education and he offers us his practical advice for implementation. The topic for today is improving performance. Who's at fault? David, take it away.
0:00:28.8 David P. Langford: Hello again. So we are at point number eight on Deming's role of a manager of people. And it says he will study results with the aim to improve his performance as a manager of people. So once again, Deming wasn't into all the pronouns that we use now and everything. So when he says he, he means he, she, anybody that's a manager of people. So, our aim is to improve performance and everything that we do. Right. So I think what's going on with this simple point that he's making is to get people to think about when things go right, or things go wrong, who's at fault, or who gets the reward or who gets the blame for that process.
0:01:29.1 DL: And as a manager, if things are going well, of course, everybody wants to take credit for that, whether you're a teacher or superintendent, business owner, or whatever, then it was, the same way in politics, right? Everything's going well. Oh, I did it all. And if things are not going well, then obviously it was somebody else's fault. Right. Or if you're a manager of people, like what Deming is talking about here, we have a tendency to blame the individual without first thinking about ourselves as the manager of that situation. So I was just coaching a group of teachers and talking to them about how difficult it is to really think like that as a teacher. Because you think, "Okay, I worked really hard on this lesson, I got everything prepared, I came in and I did it."
0:02:23.8 DL: And I don't know how many times I've heard teachers say something like, "Well, I taught them, but they didn't get it." [laughter] Well, that's probably the problem, you taught them, but they didn't learn it. [laughter] Well, that's probably the problem, right? You taught them, but they didn't they didn't learn it, which is two different things. It's possible to teach and get learning, but it's better to create actual learning experiences through that process. So you have to think about if I'm not getting good results I don't care what your position is as a manager of people I have to turn the finger of blame back towards me and start to say, “Okay, what am I doing differently?” And that's a hard pill to swallow when you start to think like that and because usually most people are trying to put in their best efforts. And Deming said many times we're being killed by best efforts, [chuckle] which is like a crazy thought to think about, wow, I shouldn't be trying hard. Well, you should be working in the right way. So if you're not getting the results that you want probably the very first thing is to go back to the people that you manage and ask them what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong or what could be improved. And I have seen this with just very little kids, like three, four, five-year-olds, when the teacher says, "We just went through that lesson and it seemed like some of you weren't interested, you know, what was the problem?"
0:04:05.4 DL: And they'll tell you, [laughter], "Oh, you went too fast, or we didn't have time to think about it, or we needed more time." Or they'll tell you exactly what the problem is. And it's usually a better way to go than having your supervis
Applying Deming’s 14 Points to Education – Points 2 and 3: Deming in Schools Case Study with John Dues (Part 11)
Dr. Deming was a professor for nearly 5 decades, and while most of his examples and writing discussed manufacturing, he applied all the same ideas to teaching. In this episode, John Dues and host Andrew Stotz discuss points 2 and 3 of Dr. Deming's 14 Points for Management - translated for people in education: adopt the new philosophy and cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
0:00:00.0 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. Today we're continuing our discussion about the shift from management myths to principles for the transformation of school systems. John take it away.
0:00:29.4 John Dues: Andrew. It's good to be back. I thought since we've done a number of episodes now just to do a quick recap of where we're at folks that are following along on the Deming Institute website. We're on episode 11. In episodes seven through nine I outlined those six common management myths and you just talked about the point of those three episodes was to help the education systems leaders see what not to do. We've now turned to a set of principles that can be used by these same leaders to guide their transformation work. And in the last episode, episode 10, I introduced the 14 Principles for educational systems transformation. We talked about Principle 1 which was called Create Constancy of Purpose. In this episode I'll describe the second principle which I call Adopt The New Philosophy and the third principle which I call Cease Dependence on Inspection to Achieve Quality. And I mean I think a really important point to make that I got from Dr. Deming when I think about these 14 principles is a preemptive strike. Over the course of 60 years or so of continual improvement work Dr. Deming worked with Japanese industrial leaders, governments, top companies in the United States. Maybe a little bit lesser known was that he was a professor of statistics at New York University for nearly 50 years.
0:02:06.1 JD: And in his books he not only taught the 14 Points to the leaders with which he worked but they also guided his own teaching practices as a professor. And so there was a, sort of, a short Deming quote that stuck out in regards to the 14 Points and who they apply to. He said the 14 Points apply anywhere to small organizations as to large ones to the service industry as well to manufacturing. So I think it's sort of a preemptive strike of sorts, in case people in schools would think that maybe these 14 principles only apply to industry or only apply to healthcare and other sector but they really do apply to the education sector and in fact that was, sort of, a sector close to Deming's heart since he spent like I said five decades or so in academia.
0:03:00.3 AS: Yeah I mean so it's a good point that I think when you read Deming's material or if you watch his videos there's an overwhelming amount of information about factories and businesses and all that. And there's less about service sector. There is talk in there about service sector. But so I think a lot of people that first stumble upon it start to think, "Oh, this is just for factory quality control", or something like that. And that's been proven wrong particularly the LEAN startup in the world of startups really applied Deming's PDSA cycle as an example in very much service industries so it's a good point that this applies everywhere.
0:03:42.3 JD: Yeah. And basically what I tried to do with the 14 Principles in my 'Win-Win' book was just basically just translate the language from, sort of, manufacturing or sort of, industrial language to education sector language. So I actually literally created a crosswalk where I said here's Demings Point 1 and here's how I'd frame that for
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The content, guests and host have been very informative. Each episode is solid. I am impressed each time Tripp conducts another interview. I like hearing Tripp's interview style and the view each guest brings.
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This is a great PODCAST. Andrea understands Dr. Deming and the world. A great history of industry, and then some wonderful insights about Education today.