Out Of The Crisis: The Deming Institute’s Response to COVID-19
First and foremost, we want to express our deepest sympathy to the people and families whose health and wellbeing have been impacted by the pandemic. We also want to thank those of you on the front lines – the healthcare workers, pharmacy staff, grocery clerks, truck drivers, government workers, and other unsung heroes who are working long and exhausting hours, risking their lives to keep our society functioning as we face this unprecedented crisis.
We are all in this together – none of us will be unaffected by what’s happening, and the world will never be the same.
Why Deming, Why Now
As events unfold, I (like many of you, I am sure) am thinking a lot about Deming. It’s far too easy to focus on the systemic failures happening all around us, shake our heads and say, “If only people had listened to Deming.”
But in his seminal books Out Of The Crisis and The New Economics, my grandfather talked about that remarkable ability that a crisis has to bring people together to make things better. In the face of a common threat – whether it’s a community navigating a natural disaster or a company trying to avoid bankruptcy – people often find creative ways to cut through bureaucracy, remove barriers, and help each other in ways that are remarkably efficient and unselfish. And while at the Institute we are also thinking about how not to go back to “business as usual” as soon as the crisis is over, for now, we want to focus on all the good that is happening in the world. Look around you. The stories are not hard to find.
Stories of Hope and Inspiration
Across the globe, people are coming together. We’d like to share with you three stories straight from your Deming community, from three long-time Deming enthusiasts whose work was either impacted by their interaction with Dr. Deming, or who learned directly from family members who worked with him:
- Doug Hall, founder of Eureka! Ranch, has converted his bourbon distillery for hand sanitizer manufacturing; the company is then donating the hand sanitizer to local organizations such as food banks and hospitals that are in dire need of this scarce resource.
- Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale made headlines when his furniture business housed and fed hundreds of Houstonians displaced by Tropical Storm Imelda. Today, McIngvale is also stepping up to help seniors and children in need during the crisis, and he teamed up with a doctor from Houston’s health department to release a public service announcement to help calm and inform the public about the pandemic.
- Dr. Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, wrote this moving article about the many ways in which healthcare workers are coming together.
These are the kinds of stories that my grandfather would have loved. He would have then gone on to show us how we can maintain this same level of efficiency, selflessness, and teamwork for the long term. Please be assured that we at The Deming Institute are deep in conversations with organizational leaders, developing a plan for how to support that sort of transition, which we expect to happen on a massive scale in the very near future.
Please, Share Your Story
But today, we want to hear what’s going on in your life, your organization, your community, right now, as people come together in big and small ways. Please share your stories online with the hashtag #outofthecrisis, or email your story to [email protected] with the subject line “Out Of The Crisis.”
With your help, we can raise awareness about Deming, and show the world that we already have what it takes to drive out fear and come out the other side of this stronger, together.
Kevin Cahill, Executive Director