Thursday, March 11, 2010

Knowledge: A different part of the Ocean

so who among us has anything to brag about? - W. Edwards Deming

The 90-year-old speaker shuffled onto the dias, a young co-ed supporting each arm as he made his way to the overstuffed chair that would be his platform for the next four days. And I, along with 1,800 other suit-and-tie types crammed into a downtown Washington DC ballroon, sat transfixed as the master made his entrance. It was, as it turns out, the last great seminar for Dr. W. Edwards Deming and I was glad that HCA gave me the opportunity to be there.

"How would they know?", he started. Then he sat silently for the next five minutes as he tried to make eye contact one by one with every person in attendance. Four simple words and a pregnant pause summed up the essence of the conference.

As time goes by, I will try to add more about Dr. Deming and his impact on businesses in America...especially businesses in the service industry.

Additional Deming quotes:

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”

Last month Mark Graban pointed out on Lean Blog that "...Toyota has gotten away from the teachings of Dr. Deming that were so influential in their development of the Toyota Production System...". I definitely agree. Therein lies the essence Toyota's problems today.

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