Podcast #167 – Claire Crawford-Mason, Producer of Dr. W. Edwards Deming Videos

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My guest for episode #167 is Clare Crawford-Mason, the producer of the landmark 1980 NBC documentary that featured W. Edwards Deming,  “If Japan Can Do It, Why Can't We?” You can view the documentary here.

I was fortunate to meet Clare and her husband Bob back in 2007 or so when I was teaching a Lean healthcare seminar near their home in Washington, DC. Clare and Bob led the efforts to create the “Deming Library” video series. They also created the PBS special “Good News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves” and the companion book The Nun and the Bureaucrat.

We've talked for years about doing this podcast and I'm glad to finally being able to share this with you. Early in the podcast, Clare talks about meeting Dr. Deming and the production of documentary, which is a fascinating story and glimpse into his personality and work.

Show notes and links:

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/167.

The documentary:

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.

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.

Automated Transcript:

Mark Graban:
This is Mark Graban. Welcome to episode 167 for March 11, 2013. My guest Today is Claire Crawford-Mason. She is one of the producers of the land Mark 1980 documentary that aired on NBC that introduced Dr. W.

Mark Graban:
Edwards Deming to America and to a large extent the western world. That show was called if Japan can do it, why can't we? And so Claire met Dr. Deming back in 1979 and has really tirelessly carried on spreading Dr. Deming's message and teachings.

Mark Graban:
Claire and her husband Bob produced the Deming Library, a series of videos, lots of interviews with Dr. Deming. I've learned a lot from those. And they also probably five, six years ago produced a PBS documentary called Good News how hospitals heal themselves. And there's a companion book called the Nun in the bureaucrat that talks about the great lean improvement efforts that took place with Dr.

Mark Graban:
Rick Shannon in Pittsburgh. Dr. Shannon's been a guest on my podcast, the sisters St. Mary Health System, talking about lean and systems thinking and toyota based methods and how that's been good in healthcare. So I'm thrilled to be able to finally have a chance to interview Claire.

Mark Graban:
I met her back in 2007 or so, and I have kept in touch and have always enjoyed chatting with her and finally had a chance to get something down in a recording to be able to share with you here on the podcast. So for more information on this episode and some notes and links, you can go to leanblog.org 167. Well, I'm really thrilled to have today Claire Crawford-Mason as my guest on the podcast. Thanks for taking time to talk today, Claire.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Delighted to be here.

Mark Graban:
So I was wondering if you could start off by introducing yourself and your career for the audience and how you came to meet Dr. Deming.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Well, I describe myself now as a recovering journalist, and I was a regular yourotypical Washington journalist back in the 1970s. I covered the White House from late Kennedy through early Ronald Reagan, and I eventually was a senior producer for NBC as well as I'm trying to make up to the world for my other job, which was I was one of the founding editors of People, which was a different magazine in the beginning. We reported real news and not just celebrity stuff. But anyway, so I was at NBC. And so in 1979, the president of NBC had the idea of doing a documentary which was tentatively titled whatever happened to good old Yankee ingenuity and what had happened, if you can remember back then, was that the japanese cars and electronic goods were knocking Americans off the market.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
They were much better, and they were much less expensive. And so we were going to try to investigate just what this is all about. And so the dean of the American University business school, a man named Herbert Steiner, who had been following all of this for many, many years, suggested we go talk to this, how can I describe it, this elderly statistical professor from NYU, and he lived in Washington. And so I called up to make an appointment, and his schedule was completely clear, and I was told to go to his basement door to interview him. And so I went to the basement door to interview him, and then this very courtly older man dressed in a suit came up and let me in.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And the basement was sort of. I described it as looked like it was not a recreation room. It was full of unopened mail, maybe from World War II, and many on file things. And so we began our interview, and it went really terribly awful. And every time I would ask him a question or something, I'd say so and so says, and he would shriek, how could they know?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
How could they know? And I was stunned. I really didn't know what to do. He would try to explain things to me, and I thought he must be speaking in statistics or something. I didn't understand.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
So finally, after about 2 hours, I thought this had been a mistake. And then he showed me a magazine which was quality progress, with his picture on the COVID And he showed me a medal that he said the emperor of Japan had given him for being a most sacred treasure. And so then I said to him, I said, well, what was it you taught the Japanese? And he said, this was out of 1979, and this answer now is a cliche, but it was totally original then. No one had ever said it.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And he looked at me and said, I taught the Japanese to work smarter, not harder. I understood that finally. So I called the NBC office in Tokyo, and they said that next to General MacArthur, Dr. Deming was the most famous American, and that every year they had this thing that was just as popular as the Academy Award presentations. The Oscar presentations were in America, which was called the Deming Prize, and they presented that to the best worker who was practicing Deming's ideas.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
They had no idea of what Deming had taught. They didn't know anything. They couldn't understand it. They couldn't explain it. Well, when I called the president of NBC who was working on the documentary with us, he ah, oldest story in the world.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
A prophet ignored in his own homeland. We'll put him in the documentary. So we went forward and we did the documentary, which was called eventually. In the end, if Japan can, why can't we? And we interviewed Dr.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Deming, and Dr. Deming was only in it for about twelve minutes, and he explained some of what he'd done. And he said, americans want to copy the Japanese, but they don't even know what to copy. In fact, Dr. Deming was not somebody who ever watched television.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
The only television he'd ever watched before was the moon landing. So I called him up and I said, this documentary is going to run in June of 1980, and so you better be prepared. You're going to hear from people. Well, he heard what the documentary ran, and NBC had never had, and not has had since anything so successful. There were thousands and thousands of phone calls asking for transcripts, asking to learn more.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
People called Dr. Demings office. The Fortune 500, I used to say, lined up outside his basement door trying to find out what to copy from the Japanese. And that was the beginning of Dr. Demings being understood in America.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
I couldn't believe that somebody who knew all this wasn't known. He lived 6 miles from the White House, and nobody in Washington knew who he was. I went to the head of the president's council of economic Advisors, and I said, hey, do you know a guy named W. Edwards Deming? And he said, is he Joe Deming's son?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
I said, not unless Joe Deming is 112 years old. And it turned out that no one in America knew anything about him except it was a question on the foreign service exam to become a foreign service officer.

Mark Graban:
Interesting.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And so then he began to do. People began to call him. And then he went to Ford. Well, I really still didn't understand. I just thought he talked statistics.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And I and Lloyd Dobbins, who anchored it, we never really understood what his ideas were. We didn't really understand what he taught the Japanese. And then after it appeared on the air, Dr. Demi took me and my husband out to dinner. And my husband, the Smithsonian had sent him to Harvard business school to bring modern management to the Smithsonian, which didn't work.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And he said, that's not what they taught me at Harvard Business school. And Dr. Deming loved that. And in fact, later times he would have him get up and say that at seminars he'd like to have people get up and say, this is not what's taught at Harvard Business school. So what happened in the end was we began to see that my husband kept saying, this is really fantastic stuff.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
This is a really revolution in management. This is something Americans need to know. He understood it. So we were thinking of starting a television production company, and I was doing things like the people of the year with Bob Newhart, and I decided I would really rather do something a bit more serious. So we started a television production company to help Dr.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Deming explain his ideas to the west. And then from that came the Deming library. And then working with him, because we didn't really know a lot after we did the Deming library, we were able finally making him simplify what he said, to come up with things that we could explain. Like, he used to go around talking about people not having profound knowledge. And what he meant it was people who, some of the other people, like Crosby, the other consultants, who hadn't had as much education as he had.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And I would ask him what profound knowledge was, and he would look at me like I was an idiot. And then finally I went to Scherkenbach and all of these other people who understood him, and I would say, what do you think profound knowledge is? What do you think? And then I would come back and I would say, is this profound knowledge? And then eventually, he gave me six things were profound knowledge.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And I then showed them to him on television, saying, this is profound knowledge. And he said, where did you get that? And I said, you gave me this list. And I gave him the list. And he said, I can do better than that.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And the next week, he came back with the four things that were profound knowledge. So this was a way of trying to. And so I've really spent the rest of my life trying to simplify his ideas so that people can understand what it means to work smarter, not harder, and what it means to. In other words, one of the stories that are really good, and you can interrupt me if you want, or I can comes. A lot of it comes from his boy.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
The tragedy of all this is how America has turned its back on the things that made it successful. And Dr. Deming was smart enough to see them as he grew up. And then he went and taught the Japanese, and this is now the east is learning these ideas plus their ideas, and we are slipping backwards. In other words, when Dr.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Deming was a boy on the Wyoming frontier, there was the department of agriculture, which Lincoln started during the civil war, had put a county agent in every county in America, teaching the american farmer continual improvement of farming. And this led to America eventually becoming the leading producer of food and fiber in the world. But as we moved from the farm to the city to the factory to the urban areas and so on and so forth, we gave up continual improvement. And now in America, we don't practice continual improvement. We say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And the east, now we've taught them. And Dr. Deming taught the Japanese to teaching continual improvement. He also realized, as he grew up on a boy in the Wyoming frontier, that the frontier had not been settled by competition. It had been settled by cooperation and community and people helping each other.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
In other words, if a farmer got sick, you went and helped him to harvest his crop. They were barn raisings. But when the Americans moved over a century ago from the farms to the cities, all that community was lost, and that cooperation became competition. And so two of the major things that Dr. Deming taught the Japanese in 1950 were continual improvement of people and processes and products, as well as cooperation.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
But they were very good in cooperation before he got there. But he made them understand how important that was. And then what's happened now as we look back over the past? Well, he went there in 50. He himself did his 14 points in the 1970s by looking at the japanese companies and comparing them with the american companies.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And so now it's 60, 70 years. And what really happened was that for the first time in history, there was a massive bringing together of eastern and western thought. And it's a much greater whole. And the east under, as Russell Aikoff liked to say, he would say, the east is learning scientific thinking and analytical thinking much more quickly than the west is learning systems thinking and systems for cooperation and seeing the big picture. And the combination of the two is really a leap forward in human consciousness.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It's a new mindset. And this is why the east is doing so well. Asia is doing so well. And we are really.

Mark Graban:
Think a lot to follow up on. From what you're talking about there, Dr. Atul Gawande, who some of the listeners might be familiar with. I don't know if you know his work or writing, Claire.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
No, tell me.

Mark Graban:
Atul Gawande is a surgeon in Boston, and he's written a number of books. He writes for the New Yorker.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Yes.

Mark Graban:
And he wrote a piece in 2009, and I'll link to this in the show notes called testing. Testing, where he talks about the early 19 hundreds and the USDA and the scientific approach to improvement. And what a shame it is that healthcare has really never embraced that. But I think, like you said, this isn't well understood. I don't think it's taught at Harvard Business school or MIT or other places even.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
No no, it's not. And the problem that we have is that, you see, we are all. One thing that's kind of ironic is we are all kind of victims or prisoners of our culture and don't know it. One of the things that, as I learned from Dr. Deming over the years, was that I believed in certainty and I believed in control.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And it's impossible, in other words. But what Dr. Deming's great gift was to teach people how to manage, in other words, we live, there's been more change in our lifetime than in all of history up until now. And we live in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex world. And Dr.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Deming ideas are the only ones that can teach you. You can't control complexity and change, and you can't get certainty from it, but you can manage outcomes if you use Dr. Deming's theories of how to manage complex social systems in a rapidly changing world. And that is the genius of what he taught. And it works in the family, it works with the individual, and it works with Ford Motor Company.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Malali today says that, which is really wonder. He says, what saved me was Dr. Deming's continual improvement. We're reintroducing it again here at Ford. We're bringing it up.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
This is how Ford has bought itself back. All of this is quite complex. The media, which is becoming more and more shallow, more interested in profit and making money and profit and having entertainment and so on, can't explain it. It isn't easily explained in sound bites or headlines. And so no one is examining this.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And a lot of people across the country are practicing this. David Langford has introduced it in many, many schools. And these schools are just vastly different than the regular schools, which we have, which have all fallen behind other countries in the world. And there are some hospitals that have adopted it, and the hospitals, as you well know, have cut costs and wiped out hospital acquired infections. And the people who practice it love their work.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Or at least some of the hospitals have. And maybe we can talk a little bit about, you were one of the first to share some of these success stories from applying systems thinking and Toyota principles and Dr. Deming's lessons in healthcare. A dvd, or it was a PBS special called the PBS Good News, how hospitals heal themselves.

Mark Graban:
And there was the book, can you talk about that project and how that ties in?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Well, that project is kind of really very sad. You would think that after it started that here are these. There are about 40 hospitals in Pittsburgh and 20 across the midwest who have cut costs by 50%, wiped out hospital acquired infections and done all sorts of wonderful things, and not many other people are following it. The recent Time magazine story shows how corrupt, in a sense, the pharmaceutical hospital part of our society is, and that people don't seem to be part of what the thing with the hospital, which I discovered when we did this book, was that you really need to have a mind that you can go to that's like a catwalk. And when you're in a catwalk, you can see if you are in an auto factory, you can see the whole production line, and then you understand it all.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
You see the interactions, and then you can see the places where you may need help or whatever, and you can see how they affect this. They're catwalks, and there are no catwalks in hospitals. So it's very difficult to change it. The problem in hospitals and much of America is not well in hospitals. It's not medical knowledge and it isn't the doctors.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It's management. And we have fallen down so badly on management theory. You well know this. You tell us how important lean is. You tell me, what do you think Lean has done?

Mark Graban:
Well, I think in some instances it's had really great success in terms of improving quality and safety and reducing waiting times. Dr. Richard Shannon, who had been in Pittsburgh, who he interviewed in that documentary, talks about the Toyota based approach and gives quite a lot of credit to that. I think the Sisters of St. Mary organization, did they not call it lean?

Mark Graban:
Did they call it systems thinking? Was it more quality Deming base?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It was definitely Deming. They did Deming. But you see, with all of this, people just don't even understand the problem. You go back and you also see that even Toyota has not sometimes obeyed Dr. Deming.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And about two years ago, they didn't pay attention to their customers, and they had a whole bunch of all. What this is, in a sense, it is an attitude of mind. It's like Paul O'Neill says, it's seeing the world with new eyes. And there's a couple of things that you have to give up. I mean, you have to change your mindset.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
I'm trying to write a book about a new mindset that will help everybody. And as I say, it helps at home and it helps in the factory and it helps in government. It would make for a much more peaceful, calmer, wonderful world. And you see, we have this world where now everyone is in contact. There are revolutions hither and yawn and wars going on, and no one is stopping and stepping back and saying, does this way of thinking, this is the past.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
In other words, we are all lost in either or thinking. You go back to the garden of paradise, where the tree of good and evil and either or thinking, which is a very western thing, is very limiting. If you really want to bring people together and have greater holes and greater outcomes, and especially in a rapidly changing, complex world, you have to go from either or thinking to both and thinking to stop being so deft, where you just, this is good or this or bad. Things are mixed. And you see, we in the west are really prisoners of either or thinking.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And we're also prisoners of competition, and then we're prisoners of blaming.

Mark Graban:
Right?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And Dr. Deming was always so fond of saying that 94% of the outputs of any system come from the system. They don't come from a lazy worker or a broken machine. And we don't believe that. We always are running around looking for somebody.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It's a world where you either are a winner or a loser. And that's not true. We're all a little bit of both or lots of both.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, well, and some of the things that you've talked about are things that I think we're talking about in the lean healthcare community. The idea know, people try to copy. They think it's a shortcut. They think it's efficient. They don't know what to.

Mark Graban:
That includes healthcare companies going to Japan or going to Boeing for Alan Malali's former company, or hospitals going to visit other hospitals. The best success stories are from the organizations that have started looking at not just their hospital, but we say health system. To really start viewing that as a system between primary care and insurance and hospital medicine. And they're trying to change the culture to, for example, reduce blame and really try to not blame people for systemic problems. There's some progress being made, but it's still, I think, not widespread enough, unfortunately.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
No. It's just little pieces. As Dr. Deming went around saying a lot, how could they know? How could they know?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
But then the other thing he said, which is really quite horrifying, but I'm convinced is true, he would always say, survival is optional. No one has to change. Yes, and we don't seem to understand this, and we won't step back. We have to see the world with new eyes, and we have to see the big picture. We have to see the system.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And if we don't, you can't fix the. I always. One of the things I like to talk about is that you take something in the competition field. You take the Boston Celtics and for years and years, they were the number one team in the country, but they never had the highest score. And the reason was because they played well together.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
They were the best team, and they were greater than the sum of their parts, but they didn't have the highest score. Who was most competitive. And you see, our life has changed so much. Again, as I say, more change in our lifetime than in all of history. Thousands and thousands of years of history before us, and no one had ever before Dr.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Deming, and he certainly didn't know what he was doing at the time. He didn't intend to do it, ever. Brought together the analytical thinking of the west, in which we take things in parts and see how good the parts are and so on and so forth, along with the systems thinking of the east, in which people see a bigger picture and step back. And therefore were open when that day in 1950 when he told them to look at work as a system and think of it as a process that they do, and that you have to have a vision. And you see, part of the problem is that there has to be leadership for this.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And even in Japan, the vision never left the factory. Japan government never used these ideas within the country or within the city.

Mark Graban:
Well, from what I've seen firsthand a little bit, and heard secondhand, japanese healthcare has not embraced it either.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Probably not. No. It was just those people who embraced it and were able to see work in a factory as a system, and they were the first. But you didn't see everything as a system. Your family is a system, your life is a system.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Your marriage is a system. You're raising your children, and you have to have a vision. And that's something that we are very short on. And then you can see what's happening here in the government and then in Washington. It used to be.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It was interesting. Before I met Dr. Deming, I covered the Washington politics and everything. And people would be elected to Congress, and they would move to Washington, and they'd bring their family with them, and their children would go to school together, and their wives would join the congressional wives club, and they got to know each other. And every night there was a party in Washington where people ate and talked and saw each other.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Now somebody's elected to Congress, they fly in on Tuesday morning, they may sleep in their office and leave on Thursday. They don't know anybody else. They're back home raising money.

Mark Graban:
So there's maybe one of the reasons we seem to not have any middle ground or cooperation, at least in recent years.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Yeah, they're not there. They're not part of the congress.

Mark Graban:
And you talk about the role of leadership. I had a chance to interview Paul O'Neill a year and a half ago, and I asked him what was holding back healthcare, safety improvement and quality improvement, and he didn't miss a beat. His answer right away was leadership. Lack of leadership.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Yes, lack of leadership. But also it's something, part of what's wrong with the Congress and politics is people are not being, lack of political involvement. People aren't being involved in electing their congressmen. People are not being involved in government. They just sit and watch television and they are not involved.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And you have to be involved, and I have to be involved. And yes, indeed, you have to have leadership. But everybody can go and stop having either our thinking and stop blaming people and stop just living on competition and start to think more inclusively rather than exclusively. Right. And try to have win win relationships rather than win lose relationships and have cooperation rather than.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
It's, it's a lot of this is, we know, victims of our culture. Frederick Winslow Taylor helped us greatly at one point to organize, but what happened is he organized the people on the production line. Were they, nobody wanted their brains or their advice.

Mark Graban:
Right.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And now you need everybody involved in it. I can remember Acos telling this wonderful story of going to, I think it was Alcoa, and somebody had come up with an idea that was going to save $500,000 a year. And after they all celebrated it, Acoff went to the man who was a production worker and said, well, how long have you known about this suggestion you just made? And he said, ten years. He said, why didn't you ever say anything about it?

Claire Crawford-Mason:
He said, no one ever asked me. There is this thing we have to bring other people in, and as I say, we have to cooperate, and we've all got to become systems thinkers. We've all got to see systems and understand how systems work, which is a big thing. Nobody even really talked about this at all 50 years ago.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, well, I feel like there's a bit of a resurgence today. I was just at the Society for Health Systems conference, and as usual, there's a lot of talk about lean. But there were two presentations that were based on Dr. Deming's work from people who know worked directly with him in one way or another. The Deming Institute seems to have some new energy.

Mark Graban:
There's a new book they published, I think it was called the Essential Deming. And so I hope a lot of these ideas kind of get back into the discussion about how do we lead organizations? How do we improve quality? How do we fix our country, or at least bring things forward, our country and our world, together, in a positive way. I think there are still, when people get first exposed to, you know, it seems very fresh to people, and I think there's a certain timeless quality about it, thankfully.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
You mean of Dr. Deming's idea?

Mark Graban:
Of Dr. Deming's work in his.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Well, his ideas are the solution. If we're going to go forward, we have to transform our thinking. We have to transform it. We have to see differently. We have to see systems, because that's how our life is.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
We now have no idea of how to help other countries convert to live differently. There are people all over the world who are starving. We are consumed by our consumption mentality, in one sense, and we've got to have a vision, and we're going to be bitten by this. In other words, we will not be able to go on and live as we have been living. We've got to work at transforming ourselves.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Correcting our educational system and so on is very difficult. I was talking recently to Herb Steiner, the former head at AU, who originally sent me to Deming, and he talked about how difficult it is for Americans to change. And this is really. I was moved by this because America has always had such fantastic natural resources, and so they've never been like, say, japan, where there's no arable land, and so on and so forth. So therefore, it's very difficult for Americans to do anything that's slightly painful or change if they don't have to.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And that's very sad. Well, and as I say, it's all a transformation of how we see the world. And even just this difference between either or thinking, if you only see an either or world, what can I say? Hello?

Mark Graban:
Yes, I'm still here.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
The phone beeped. I guess somebody was trying to get it, but don't worry. But anyway, it seems to me the task is to get the attention of people to try and change. One of the things in my writing, I was writing about James Watt, who, when he was a little boy in, I think, 1745, was staring at his mother's tea kettle while it was boiling, and he saw the steam lift the top of the kettle. Well, no one could ever have imagined the change that would come about as a result of that, which was he eventually invented the steam engine, eventually invented the.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Which led to industrialization, capitalism, and the world, much of the world in which we live in today. And we're undergoing another fantastic change, and we have to think differently and live differently and manage our lives differently and manage our world. And that's what the problem is. We have to transform our worldview and break out of our cultural consciousness, which doesn't work anymore. They always don't work.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
And that's why you need a leader with a vision.

Mark Graban:
Well, and I think Dr. Deming provides to this day a lot of that vision. Claire, you and your husband and the team of people that you've worked with over the last 30 plus years, I think deserve a lot of credit for helping share those ideas and bringing it alive for people. I still love watching the video of Dr. Deming himself, and it's a treat to be able to talk with you today about your work with him and what you're continuing to do to this day to keep moving these ideas out into the conversation.

Mark Graban:
So I really appreciate that.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Well, thank you. And you're certainly carrying the ball forward, and we've got to find a way that we can make people hear us. And the sad part about all of this is that the media has just starting in the 1980s, it used to be that with just the three networks, they had to do public service in order to keep their license. The news divisions were not profit centers. That's why NBC made.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
If Japan can, why can't we? Right? Because it was a public service. And now that's been shown all over the world, and someone has even compared it. I think the Washington Times, they said it was the second most influential documentary after one Laney Raffenstell did on know as for what changing the world.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
But no, we have to somehow get people's attention and get there. I do believe that people have goodwill. I just don't think they understand what the rapid change has meant in the way we have to see the world and manage it.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, well, there's that environment and maybe a thought to end on. I think of a lot of quotes from Dr. Deming, but one is the idea that man created this management system and this style of management. So we're able to change it. And I hope people take that to heart.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
Oh, yeah, no, we can change it. We're still in charge, but we have to do. Oh, well, I've really enjoyed our conversation.

Mark Graban:
So, Claire, thanks again for being our guest here on the podcast today.

Claire Crawford-Mason:
My pleasure. My pleasure. Thank you so much for calling.

Mark Graban:
Thanks for listening. This has been the Lean blog podcast for lean news and commentary. Updated daily. Visit www.leanblog.org if you have any questions or comments about this podcast, email mark at leanpodcast@gmail.com hey, podcast listeners. I'm excited to announce the release of the audiobook version of my new book, the mistakes that make us cultivating a culture of learning and innovation.

Mark Graban:
Listen and dive into powerful insights on fostering growth through mistakes. Whether you're a leader, entrepreneur, or just trying to get better at learning from mistakes, this audiobook is for you. Get it now on audible, Amazon and Apple books. Visit mistakesbook.com for more info.


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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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mark, this was a brilliant and very important podcast! Thanks for doing this, and thank Clare for sharing her thoughts. I found Clare’s insights and comments to be profound: we need to see systems, the linkage between western and eastern thinking, we need to think more “this and that” and not “either/or”. Her observations about how congress behaves (do not stay in Washington to get to know each other) is very insightful and important . Mike

  2. Thank you Mark; a delight to hear this fantastic interview with a living legend. Deming’s wisdom remains timeless and transcendent and Clare’s uncanny ability to distill and enhance our understanding and application of it in our lives and work adds to the fire of hope for humanity.

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