The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Everybody Thinking, Learning and Doing

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In this presentation Dan Jones discusses what we (with an understanding of Deming’s ideas) can see as an aspect of the Deming chain reaction:

Focusing on quality and then time the consequence is that we lower costs. Rather than focusing initially on costs as most people do and then somehow hoping that quality and time will be impacted. That is the wrong sequence, the right sequence is quality and then time and then cost and then new products.

Brian Joiner also expressed this idea well:

Real benefits come when managers begin to understand the profound difference between “cost cutting” and “eliminating the causes of costs.”

Dan’s presentation includes a nice discussion of the importance of understanding the organization as a system (in his words the value streams). With that understanding you can then seek to improve the overall system. Without an understanding of the overall system organizations frequently optimize components that in turn sub-optimize the whole.

Dan also discusses the primacy good lean efforts (as Deming bases efforts also do) put on creating systems that enable people to create value for the organization. The organization must both give them the opportunity to take joy in their work and also provide the training, education and opportunity to learn and grow.

As John Shook summarizes, the power of all of this is actually learning is the work. That is the unique part of this system [Toyota Production System / lean thinking] that we have recombined the thinking, which we previously gave to experts, and the doing – we are recombining those into everybody thinking and doing. So actually we are making people at the same time we are making products, which is a phrase you will often hear from Toyota.

This idea of growing the capability of the organization and the capabilities of the people while delivering today is the core of my view on how to lead an organization.

Related: Minimize Total CostLeadership While Viewing the Organization as a SystemHow to Create a Continual Improvement CultureBuilding a Great Software Development Team


Categorised as: continual improvement, management systems, systems thinking


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