The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Kevin Cahill’s Welcome Message to the Deming In Education Conference

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Kevin Cahill’s welcome message to 2015 Deming In Education Conference. Kevin is the Director the The W. Edwards Deming Institute.

Kevin talks about the need to break the bounds of common sense practices. Without change we continue to get the results we have always achieved. To improve we need to try new strategies and to get the most leverage we need to change where the impact is greatest. Changing how we manage organizations has great impact.

In order to find practices that work we need to question the common sense ideas being accepted without criticism. Performance appraisals were common sense. Decades after Dr. Deming said this common sense practice was ineffective some organization have agreed and dropped the practice.

Decades after Dr. Deming advised managers to remove barriers that rob people of pride in their work many managers follow the theory x idea that workers must be threatened or bribed to do their job. Again there has been movement in the right direction over the last few decades but there is still a long way to go.

The list goes on. But most importantly we need to experiment to test what works and what doesn’t. We can’t rely on common sense. We need to experiment and learn and adjust and experiment and learn as part of a continual improvement process (continual PDSA improvement cycles). This idea of relying on evidence instead of common sense is part of the theory of knowledge in Deming’s management system.

The clip above also includes a clip from Quality or Else showing the application of Deming’s ideas in education at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska.

The need to question the “common sense” practices is just as important in education as it is in business.

Related: Podcast with Joyce Orsini and Kevin CahillLean Blog Podcast #238 – Kevin Cahill, on his Grandfather, W. Edwards DemingPeople Copy Examples and Wonder Why They Don’t Succeed


Categorised as: education, theory of knowledge


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