Improvement Insights Blog
A PhD in Leadership – Deming Style
John, a senior executive who went to Japan said he felt like he got a PhD in leadership, but probably not the kind they teach at Harvard. Probably the Leadership Deming spoke of.
“I’ve been telling you a little bit about my discussion with John, who was a senior executive at one of the large lumber companies, who went to Japan for 30 days. He said he felt like he got a PhD in leadership… a PhD in leadership.
“Now I think this is the leadership that Dr. Deming always talked about, but I don’t think it’s the leadership that you hear about at the Harvard Business Review. I think these are two different things.
“So there was a learning event there; there was a mind shift, and I think what Deming was talking about in leadership and what Harvard talks about as leadership are somehow different, right? I can’t name it because I haven’t been there; I don’t know. But he said there was this shift, this huge shift, and the light switch came on. When the light switch comes on, he said everybody just spontaneously found a dozen ways to start making things better, faster, cheaper, satisfy more companies, grab more market share.
“He talked about the Weapon of Quality… the Weapon of Quality, right? Because it’s one of those things where if you really get good at it, customers will notice and you’re just going to do better. The Weapon of Quality.
“So maybe it’s time to start using the Weapon of Quality, get that PhD in leadership, create a hassle-free America, hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”