Podcast #238 – Kevin Cahill, on his Grandfather, W. Edwards Deming

kevin cahill

Episode #238 is a conversation with somebody I've wanted to talk with for a long time, Kevin Cahill. He is the executive director of the W. Edwards Deming Institute.

He's also a grandson of Dr. Deming!

Kevin played an instrumental role in getting NBC to publicly release the 1980 documentary, “If Japan Can, Why Can't We?” that featured Dr. Deming (see my blog posts about it).  We talk about that in the podcast, along with his other recollections of Dr. Deming and how he watched the original NBC airing with him.

We also discuss his reflections on learning the Deming philosophy and his attempts to utilize the ideas in his career (and how challenging that can be when it flies in the face of the prevailing business culture). It was a really fun discussion and I hope you enjoy it. If you have follow up questions for Kevin, please post a comment, as I'm sure we can do another podcast in the near future.

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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/238.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android appsor via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher.

Videos of Kevin Cahill

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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.


  1. It was deeply moving to hear Kevin Cahill courageously reflect on the mistakes he made when he moved into a management role. Dr. Deming would be proud!
    A friend from Toyota told me once “… the ability to reflect honestly may be the most important thing that sets Toyota apart.” Leaders and managers would do well to learn from Cahill’s example.


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