Eric Christiansen on Being CEO of a Deming Company – LeanBlog Podcast #18

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Here is Episode #18 of the LeanBlog Podcast. My guest today is Eric Christiansen, the President of a translation services company, OmniLingua (more can be found here on their philosophy as a company, being a self-described “Deming Company.”) I was interested in talking with Eric about what it means to be a “Deming Company” and about their implementation of “wiki” tools (ala Wikipedia) for managing their standard work and process documentation.

If you enjoy this podcast, I hope you'll check out the rest of the series by visiting the LeanBlog podcast main page.

Show Notes and Approximate Time, Episode #18

  • 1:30 Introducing Eric and his company
  • 3:15 What does it mean to be a “Deming company?”
  • 3:40 The Deming System of Profound Knowledge
  • 4:00 The owner of OmniLingua had worked directly with Deming and appreciated the people aspects of his philosophy, how do you treat people with respect?
  • 4:40 Has the annual review been abolished? Sales commissions were abolished, as well as production bonus plans. OmniLingua has a company-wide profit sharing plan instead.
  • 5:15 More examples of the Deming philosophy in day-to-day life, including long-term sole-source supplier relationships
  • 7:00 Is there still internal competition?
  • 7:45 “Are we hiring salespeople who can't sell?” by not having commissions
  • 8:40 How have lean methods evolved at OmniLingua?
  • 10:15 Standard work within the company and the evolution into the use of “Wiki” technology for standard work
  • 13:30 How they modified the process to allow some additional revision and ownership control (after an ISO audit)
  • 15:00 How did it work when everybody had access to modify the standard work documentation?
  • 17:00 How many people have access to the different standard work documents?
  • 19:00 With a Word-document based standard work, people wanted to fancy them up, Wiki keeps people focused on the content
  • 21:30 Deployment started last November (2005)

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

Click here for the main LeanBlog Podcast page with all previous episodes.


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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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