Guest Post by Fazel Hayati
Fall always reminds me of my friend Peter Scholtes. It was during 2008 annual Deming Institute fall conference in Madison, Wisconsin when Peter said farewell to his friends and colleagues. He gave a keynote titled Deming 101 (that full speech can be watched online). Although inactive for many years and managing numerous health challenges, he was sharp, witty and very happy to be talking about Dr. Deming, systems thinking, problems with performance appraisal, talking to his old friends and reminiscing. Anticipating this event had really energized him. He told me numerous times he was very grateful for the opportunity. He passed away in July 11, 2009.
Peter wrote two seminal books, both remain relevant years after their publication. The Team Handbook remains one of the best in developing teams and it has helped many organizations to improve quality and productivity through team building. The Leader’s Handbook is one of the best elaborations on Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge.
Peter articulated Dr. Deming’s teaching and incorporated his own experience in six competencies for leaders:
- The ability to think in terms of systems and knowing how to lead systems,
- the ability to understand the variability of work in planning and problem solving,
- understanding how we learn, develop, and improve; leading true learning and improvement,
- understanding people and why they behave as they do,
- understanding the interaction and interdependence between systems, variability, learning, and human behavior; knowing how each affects others (Figure 2-16, Page 44, Leader’s Handbook),
- giving vision, meaning, direction, and focus to the organization.
No one has done a better job of operationalizing Dr. Deming’s teachings.