18 min

Thriving on Chaos: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 14‪)‬ In Their Own Words

    • Management

In this episode, Andrew and David talk about chaos, authority, and when calming the chaos can feel like a loss of control. They explore the "psychology" aspect of Dr. Deming's System of Profound Knowledge, and how that applies to classrooms and and school systems.
TRANSCRIPT 
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's topic is Thriving on Chaos. David, take it away.
 
0:00:28.4 David Langford: Thank you, Andrew. It's good to be back again.
 
0:00:30.9 AS: Oh, yeah.
 
0:00:31.0 DL: So, yes, Thriving on Chaos. So I started thinking about this because of my work with executive coaching, both with principals and superintendents and people like that. And it's sort of like a pattern or if I go and visit a campus and actually start to see what's happening at the campus, either a university or a school or whatever, and it applies to Deming's concept of Profound Knowledge and the concept of Psychology and how does psychology fit in with the variation systems thinking and so on and so forth. So this whole idea about thriving on chaos comes from... You have to start to think about the neuroscience behind it as well, about who's in charge or who's in command of something. So if you're talking about a military a military commander, well, that's all based on your rank. Or you might have a formal position in a company, right? You're a vice president or you're president, and along with that there comes a certain level of authority too.
 
0:01:46.3 DL: Well, in a school, it's the same kind of a thing. In a classroom, a teacher has a built-in level of authority in that classroom and especially like in younger years, elementary schools or primary schools, you're physically bigger than your students or your clients or your workers or however you wanna think about students in a school system. So sometimes people get away from... Get by with a management style that, it's just based on... That is bigger and sort of is threatening, and it's scarier. And imagine if you had a boss that was like 20 feet tall and... Compared to you and stuff. It'd be kind of a scary thing, right?
 
0:02:38.0 AS: Definitely.
 
0:02:39.8 DL: Yeah, but I think...
 
0:02:40.9 AS: He could just squash me by just putting his foot down.
 
0:02:44.8 DL: Yeah. So just because you're getting stuff done doesn't necessarily mean that you're doing things well or planning things through or something. You're just getting things done because maybe you're the loudest voice in the room or the squeakiest wheel or you're the... All these other kinds of things. But along with that, when you have that formal position, I've sort of found that people have to go through a phase where they're tired of the chaos, they're tired of the craziness, but at the same time, the craziness gives you authority. "I'm the authority figure. And so, I've gotta fix this, and I gotta always be in control." And so, Deming talked about moving from one burning fire to the next to the next to the next and managing the way of thinking like that.
 
0:03:44.5 DL: So if you really start applying Deming kind of philosophies to your management style, whether that's in a classroom, school, company, whatever it might be, I've always found that over time, things start to calm down. [chuckle] Attitudes calm down, students just know more about what to do, how to do things. Maybe they have flow charts or operational definitions, and so they start to actually take control of the situation, etcetera. And that actually becomes threatening to somebody who has spent a career thriving on the chaos. And you walk into a classroom and none of the kids are doing what it is they're supposed to do. And so, you get

In this episode, Andrew and David talk about chaos, authority, and when calming the chaos can feel like a loss of control. They explore the "psychology" aspect of Dr. Deming's System of Profound Knowledge, and how that applies to classrooms and and school systems.
TRANSCRIPT 
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's topic is Thriving on Chaos. David, take it away.
 
0:00:28.4 David Langford: Thank you, Andrew. It's good to be back again.
 
0:00:30.9 AS: Oh, yeah.
 
0:00:31.0 DL: So, yes, Thriving on Chaos. So I started thinking about this because of my work with executive coaching, both with principals and superintendents and people like that. And it's sort of like a pattern or if I go and visit a campus and actually start to see what's happening at the campus, either a university or a school or whatever, and it applies to Deming's concept of Profound Knowledge and the concept of Psychology and how does psychology fit in with the variation systems thinking and so on and so forth. So this whole idea about thriving on chaos comes from... You have to start to think about the neuroscience behind it as well, about who's in charge or who's in command of something. So if you're talking about a military a military commander, well, that's all based on your rank. Or you might have a formal position in a company, right? You're a vice president or you're president, and along with that there comes a certain level of authority too.
 
0:01:46.3 DL: Well, in a school, it's the same kind of a thing. In a classroom, a teacher has a built-in level of authority in that classroom and especially like in younger years, elementary schools or primary schools, you're physically bigger than your students or your clients or your workers or however you wanna think about students in a school system. So sometimes people get away from... Get by with a management style that, it's just based on... That is bigger and sort of is threatening, and it's scarier. And imagine if you had a boss that was like 20 feet tall and... Compared to you and stuff. It'd be kind of a scary thing, right?
 
0:02:38.0 AS: Definitely.
 
0:02:39.8 DL: Yeah, but I think...
 
0:02:40.9 AS: He could just squash me by just putting his foot down.
 
0:02:44.8 DL: Yeah. So just because you're getting stuff done doesn't necessarily mean that you're doing things well or planning things through or something. You're just getting things done because maybe you're the loudest voice in the room or the squeakiest wheel or you're the... All these other kinds of things. But along with that, when you have that formal position, I've sort of found that people have to go through a phase where they're tired of the chaos, they're tired of the craziness, but at the same time, the craziness gives you authority. "I'm the authority figure. And so, I've gotta fix this, and I gotta always be in control." And so, Deming talked about moving from one burning fire to the next to the next to the next and managing the way of thinking like that.
 
0:03:44.5 DL: So if you really start applying Deming kind of philosophies to your management style, whether that's in a classroom, school, company, whatever it might be, I've always found that over time, things start to calm down. [chuckle] Attitudes calm down, students just know more about what to do, how to do things. Maybe they have flow charts or operational definitions, and so they start to actually take control of the situation, etcetera. And that actually becomes threatening to somebody who has spent a career thriving on the chaos. And you walk into a classroom and none of the kids are doing what it is they're supposed to do. And so, you get

18 min