A friend and colleague of mine, Lee Jenkins*, recently gave me a series of quotes he collected from a Deming Conference in January 1992. Lee has been a pioneer in applying Deming’s principles and strategies to improve student learning in classrooms across the nation. W. Edwards Deming is often credited for unleashing a quality movement in US manufacturing after helping Japanese companies rethink management, leadership, and quality following WW2.

Below are a few choice quotes from Dr. Deming that reflect his blunt way of helping leaders take responsibility for the success or failure of their team. As I read them, I find myself asking which ones I am reinforcing with my own team and the clients we serve:

Blame the process, not the people.

Accountability rests at the top.

There’s the movers and shakers; and the moved and shaken.

Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop.

Everyone has the right to enjoy work.

Quality is made at the top.

Do you see a pattern? I did. AccountabilityEnjoyment, and Quality can and should co-exist as a result of my leadership. When they do not, I risk leaving shaken, negative people in my wake. In Dr. Deming’s systems thinking, these three things are not contradictions. Instead, these three words positively impact the attitudes and actions of every employee – beginning at the top.

So, in the eyes of your team… are you making quality?

*Lee Jenkins can be reached at www.linkedin.com/in/ltojconsulting