You might recall that I posted back in January about a “Deming impersonator” who was presenting/performing. Thank to that post, I was contacted by Mike Micklewright, the creator and performer of the impersonator (in addition to being President of his firm, Quality Quest). He kindly sent me a DVD of “What Would Deming Say?” and I have to say I really enjoyed it.
Mike is by no means a dead ringer for Dr. Deming, but with the glasses, the suit, and the close-cropped hair, he approximates what a “young Dr. Deming” might have looked like. Mike has obviously studied the speaking patterns and mannerisms of Dr. Deming and a comparison with Dr. Deming videos on YouTube confirms he does a pretty good job. I had my dad (who had gone through Dr. Deming's 4-day seminar) watch it and he thought it was a pretty good effort, as well.
In his hour-long presentation, Mike not only repeats some of Dr. Deming's key messages, he also brings along a trusty overhead projector, which he utilizes the way Dr. Deming did. It makes you wonder if, were he still alive today, if Dr. Deming would have clung to his transparencies, even in an era of PowerPoint.
In addition to covering some of the history of quality improvement and Dr. Deming's work, Mike also gives some interpretations of what Dr. Deming might have said about more “modern” business issues. These topics include the use of Six Sigma and Toyota Production System principles, as well as outsourcing. He emphasizes that Lean is about “respect for and involvement of the people.” He takes on the ills of the business world that still surround us, including short-term thinking, annual employee reviews, and focusing on outputs and specifications instead of process.
“One of the main root causes of Toyota's success is self reliance. By trying to become more like Toyota, we are becoming less like Toyota. This is the paradox. Nobody taught Toyota tools – 5S, kaizen, value stream mapping. These were outputs of their own system. Today, American companies buy Lean tools, Six Sigma, ISO-9001, sourcing from China and India, instead of developing internally. We are NOT self reliant.”
You can contact Mike through his website, especially if you're looking to hire him to speak at an event, meeting, or workshop. You can also find links to articles, including this clever one about the “Society of the Anti-Deming” (SAD) and their alternative universe 14 points.
Mike has agreed to do a podcast with me, at least part of it in his Deming impersonator mode. If you have any questions for “What Would Deming Say?”, post a comment or email me here and we'll try to incorporate them. Stay tuned.
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