My Post for the Deming Institute Blog: Why Dr. Deming’s Work is So Important to Me


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I'm extremely honored that The W. Edwards Deming Institute published my first blog post in a series of three that I've written for them, to be published over the next month or so.

The post is titled:

Why Dr. Deming's Work is So Important to Me

Please check out the post.

Here's a short excerpt:

“After business school, I ended up in organizations that didn't understand or didn't subscribe to the Deming philosophy and approach. I remember a colleague, also in her first year out of MIT, feeling crushed when her boss at Dell told her in her first annual review, “You deserve a ‘1' (the highest rating), but nobody is allowed to get a ‘1' in their first year, so you get a ‘2.'”

Later at Johnson & Johnson, I was a victim of “stack ranking,” where my earned rating of a “7” (out of 9… who dreams up these systems?) was knocked down to a “6” because too many people had been given a “7.” I asked, for my future improvement's sake, what I'd have to do to earn a “9” and was told by my manager that “nobody ever gets a 9.”

These different situations illustrate the “forces of destruction” that Dr. Deming wrote about so vividly.”

Read the whole post.

The second post to follow in the series will be:

The Failure of ‘The Livonia Philosophy' at my GM Plant,” where I reflect on my first job out of college at the Livonia Engine Plant. They had promised me a “Deming Philosophy” approach when I was interviewing for the job, but it turned out to be all in the past, sadly.

In the third post, titled “Reflections on Dr. Deming's Hospital Notes – What Has Changed Since 1990?,” I'll share thoughts on some notes Dr. Deming himself wrote during a 1987 hospital stay. John Hunter has already written about this document for the Deming Institute blog.

How has Dr. Deming's work affected your life and career?

Here are some past Deming-related podcasts of mine with John, with Kevin Cahill (Dr. Deming's grandson), and others who worked with him:

Podcast #174 – John Hunter, “Management Matters”

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

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

Podcast #156 – Mike Stoecklein, Memories of Working with Deming

LeanBlog Podcast #57 – Alfie Kohn, “Punished by Rewards”

Thanks for reading, and for listening!

If you enjoy the podcasts, please take a second to rate and review them through Apple iTunes or other places where you get podcasts.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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