First Hand Stories

I was very fortunate to have corresponded and spent time with WED in his last 4 years.  As I get older and find I have less energy, I often think of an interview between Dr Deming and a journalist from the Financial Times. It was the Sunday morning of a BDA (British Deming Association) retreat at Ashridge College in 1991. The then BDA Secretary General, Patrick Dolan, asked if I would act as interlocutor for their meeting. As we know Dr Deming was always precise in his answers, but often misunderstood.

The journalist asked a number of questions then, after he had settled in, he adjusted his tape recorder, cleared his throat and asked The Big One: 

“Dr Deming, you have a work schedule which would punish a man half your age. Why is it you continue to work? Is it because you believe your message is important for the world?”. 

Deming instantly replied “Hell no! I’m having fun! Why else would anyone my age want to work?”

That answer made a difference to my life. I quit a very well paid job to become an independent consultant. A decision I have not regretted once in over 25 years as it has optimised my possibility for joy in work. 

May you find joy in yours.
Kind regards

After I discovered Dr W. Edwards Deming and I attended a dozen of his seminars. I attended conferences and met Peter Scholtes we were personal friend's up until he died. He was of course the one that I went to a class on the case against performance appraisal systems. He, coupled with Alfie Kohn, "Punished by Rewards" author and Tom Coen and Mary Jenkins led me in 1995 to send a letter to Vice President Gore returning my bonus check and encouraging him to use it to go to a 4 day Deming seminar if he really wanted to "reinvent government".

Jim Chandler

Gipsie Ranney told the story about receiving feedback from Dr. Deming on something she wrote. At one point in the conversation, she told Dr. Deming ‘I thought work was supposed to be fun, I’m not having fun.’ At which point Dr. Deming sat up in his chair, grabbing his suit jacked lapel and said “I am.” (Dave Nave)

The Deming Scholar program forever changed my perspective and set me on a career that has so far been a very fulfilling and impactful path.  Foremost, the program enhanced my capability as a lifelong learner as is required of systems thinkers.  Secondly, it gave me unique perspective that has proven critical in leading practical, organizational change.  It was somehow sweet irony that the first course Dr. Orsini arranged for us was on Information Technology.  I’m very thankful and proud to be among the world’s Deming Scholars.

… Robert Wilson

The Deming Cooperative - 2019