In this episode, John and Andrew unpack a few of the myths Dr. Deming identified that continue to destroy organizations from the inside. John explains how these myths also negatively impact schools and kids - and what to do instead.
0:00:02.0 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. The topic for today is, Management Myths that Keep Fooling Us. John, take it away.
0:00:28.3 John Dues: Andrew, it's good to be back, good to talk again. Yeah, I thought we could build on the last conversation, which unpacked these two education reports. One that had a seminal impact for the last 40 years called A Nation at Risk, and another Sandia Report that we talked about that has a much lesser known. And I was thinking what comes out of some of the reports often as a shake-up, and then there's various ideas about what to do about the crisis outlined in this case. But I think, a lot of the times, those management practices have the opposite of the intended effect. And I think... One of the things I was thinking about is that Dr. Deming, maybe his most radical idea that he put forth is that any outcome that we see within a system, like a system of education, is the result of more than the skills and efforts of the individuals who work within that organization. And what he would say is that most of the performance differences observed between individuals are generated by these complex and dynamic, adaptable systems, and workers are only one part of that system.
0:01:49.8 JD: And I think understanding that sort of core idea of Deming is one of the ways that we can start to move away from the common management and maybe understanding those management myths is maybe the most important part of understanding the new philosophy that Deming was sort of putting forth. I think one of the things that I learned in watching some of his videos from his famous four-day seminars is that he often began those seminars by saying, management is living in an age of mythology, and even though he was saying that throughout the 1980s and even into the early 90s, before his death in 1993. I think that idea applies just as well today across numerous sectors, including education, as it did when he was saying it 30 or 40 years ago, I think it applies the education, applies to government, applies to industry.
0:02:52.6 JD: And what he meant by the age of mythology, at least my interpretation of it, is that leaders in these various industries basically operate according to these assumptions and these myths, and these myths are harmful to our organization. And so when he talked about the transformation process, part of the transformation process is understanding these myths and then moving away from them, actively trying to move away from them. So I thought we could talk about a few of those myths today and unpack those myths, where they originated and what were they are and then what to do.
0:03:29.3 AS: Great, great idea. And I remember he would say something like, how could they know? They did their best efforts, that's all that they have. Who came up with the idea of rating and ranking? Someone just... And then you realize people just may make things up ultimately and then they stick, not based on science or something like that. Sometimes the science creeps in there, but most of the time, based upon emotion. You jarred my thinking process when you're talking about the role of an individual in a system.
0:04:07.4 AS: And I was just thinking about how the beauty of the individual is that the individual is malleable. We're malleable, we're able to be contorted. Whereas when you install a particular piece of machinery that only has... Can produce so many units or such level of qualit