Institute For Quality and Innovation
Developing the next generation of transformational leaders


IQI Blog

Each of us have untold stories and challenges
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"First and foremost our work is created, performed and consumed by people. Each of us have untold stories and challenges. Of all the views that Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge provides, the view through the lens of Psychology is a critical one for effective leadership. Deming wrote, “Psychology helps us to understand people, interaction between people and circumstances, interaction between customer and supplier, interaction between teacher and pupil, interaction between a manager and his people and any system of management.”

Tina M
Learning Cycles should be Short and Simple
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"Move something—now. See what happens. “What’s next?” becomes more obvious following a test with something tangible. Note your predictions before the test to increase the speed of your learning. Useful prototypes can be: a “paper doll” layout on the floor to gauge spatial relationships; cardboard boxes to simulate sizes of equipment or positioning of furniture; a sketch of a new screen layout to gather quick feedback; or some signs around attached to people to judge flow and work-ability of new process.

Check out IDEO’s “How to prototype a service” or their “How to prototype a business” Also, Rapid Prototyping tips:"

Tina M
90/30 Rule by Eric Budd
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Forms of this rule are also known as the IKEA effect (Dan Ariely), Dunning-Kruger effect and self-serving bias. In her 1988 visit to EDS People Systems Division, Mary Jenkins taught us the 90/30 rule: 90% of people think they are in the top 30% of the population. For organizations that have feedback processes in place, this rule is a two-edged sword. Mary worked with Dr. Deming applying his System of Profound Knowledge to work performed by Human Resources professionals.

For most, feedback will conflict with one’s self-image. If one believes one is in the top 30% of the population, hearing a message that says otherwise will create an internal conflict. The message giver may no longer be seen as a trusted source of feedback—regardless of the “facts” surrounding the feedback. The other edge of this 90/30 sword is that feedback providers view themselves with this rule as well. This creates a perspective that most everyone else does not perform as well as the feedback provider could and thus are deserving of feedback from such a perspective. In order to maintain the 90/30 ratio in a feedback providers mind, others must fall into the 70% below the top.  

Whether giving or receiving feedback, the 90/30 rule presents a powerful challenge to useful communication between people.

Tina M
Do you understand the lessons of these two curves?

Effective change managers do.

The two curves, The Learning Curve and the Kubler-Ross curve are in effect during every change effort.

The Learning Curve (named after the exercise that creates it) demonstrates that when you ask people to learn a new process, even if all the new process steps are known and familiar, performance will get worse before it gets better. Managers who fail to appreciate the Learning Curve will be tempted to abandon a change effort too soon. The old saying, “Things get worse before they get better,” is demonstrated in this curve.


When should a change manager evaluate the effects of a change? The Learning Curve suggests that the time to make that evaluation is when all the special cause variation has been eliminated and only common cause variation is present in the new process.

The second curve, the Kubler-Ross curve, is useful because of its descriptions of how we cope with change or significant loss. The model was originally designed to postulate a progression of emotional states experienced by terminally ill patients after diagnosis. The five stages are chronologically: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 


Nearly all change, in initial stages, is viewed from the perspective of, “What am I going to lose?” When that happens, resistance to change should be responded to as natural and expected. What effective change managers do is allow people to have their reactions to the changes they are experiencing. While there may be a few who get “stuck” in the early stages of processing their losses, most people are able to work through all the stages. They stop resisting and even become advocates for new approaches.

The two curves help us see that quickly abandoning new changes or eliminating resistant employees are probably ill-informed and ineffective strategies. 


Tina M