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


IQI Blog

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
"Capital Quality and Innovation (CQI) is now the Institute for Quality and Innovation (IQI)"
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We have some big things in store for 2019! Starting with the introduction to the new and improved Institute for Quality and Innovation!

Committed to the purpose of “Developing the next generation of transformational leaders,” the Institute for Quality & Innovation (IQI) is the next step in the CQI’s 27‐year journey of transformation.

The  renamed  organization remains a leader in teaching The System of Profound Knowledge for quality and innovation. Individuals and organizations will continue to benefit from the  learning and networking opportunities provided in the popular Academy and Lunch & Learn programs.

First and foremost, we want to thank you for your investment in learning how to become a transformational leader. We hope that you have been able to put to good use what you have learned through the academy both professionally and personally.

Whether you participated in the first CQI Academy many years ago or graduated from the last IQI Academy, you are an important part of transformational leadership and we invite you to our next stage of growth.

Included in this invitation is a 1st year complimentary membership to IQI,

which includes:

• Discounts to Lunch and Learn

• Discounts to the Annual Conference

• Discounts to the "new" Improvement Lab - Participants in the Improvement Lab meet quarterly in a safe, open discussion setting to review and plan approaches to their current improvement projects. Using the lens of the System of Profound Knowledge and free from some of the organizational constraints that may exist when exploring challenging issues, the Improvement Lab is where we experiment with the work of getting better. Graduates of the IQI/CQI Academy are welcome.


The IQI Board

Forums for innovation and quality leadership will expand in the next coming months through improved Lunch & Learn offerings, Improvement Lab sessions, Annual Conferences, research projects, advisory council sessions and expanded social media activity. 

Visit for event schedules and more!

Tina M
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Authored by Eric Budd

Choice and autonomy are distinguishing conditions. Fear can produce two different brain hormones. One creates invigorating action. Another creates potentially debilitating stress

A sense of control and autonomy distinguishes the two types of fear. If, as a leader, you must always be in command, make the decisions or overrule the decisions of those working for you, chances are good, you experience the performance inspiring hormone Noradrenaline while the people in your organization experience the stress inducing hormone, Cortisol.

John Medina’s definition of stress is helpful (author, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School). If all three parts happen simultaneously, a person is experiencing stress. 

  • There must be an aroused physiological response to the stress, and it must be measurable by an outside party.

  • The stressor must be perceived as aversive. This can be assessed by a simple question: "If you had the ability to turn down the severity of this experience, or avoid it altogether, would you?“

  • The person must not feel in control of the stressor.

Friederike Fabritius, (“"Fun, Fear, and Focus: The Neurochemical Recipe for [...]" | Talks at Google”) tells us that noradrenaline, is a positive stress hormone. Tasks that are challenging—not in one’s comfort zone, slightly beyond our capabilities—are a common source of the useful type of stress. This enables the body to perform well in short-term stressful situations. 

Fabritius says that cortisol, the negative stress hormone, is released under chronic stress and the number-one protection against cortisol is autonomy. Long-term production of cortisol leads to amygdala growth (producing reflexive responses such as flight, fight or freeze) and shrinkage of the pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain we use to think) and hippocampus (learning).

People who experience choice and autonomy in their work are less likely to feel the debilitating lasting effects of stress and more likely to be invigorated by challenges of the task at hand. 

Tina M
Developing a Workforce with Profound Knowledge
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Co-authored by Paige Thompson and Eric Budd

Our goal at Emergent Biosolutions: Create a sustainable culture of organizational excellence. 

Our leadership recognized that the foundation of our development strategy required a focus on thinking in systems within a culture of a continuous improvement learning lifecycle (PDSA2) culture. W. Edwards Deming's System of Profound Knowledge3 meets this foundational need, allows us to bring systems thinking to all levels of the company, and respects our people and core values. The Capital Quality and Innovation (IQI) Academy for Quality Management Fundamentals4 provides a venue for this to take place. 

Our initial obstacle to overcome was that employees mistakenly perceived the curriculum as best suited for our “quality” teams. This is far from the truth. The emphasis in the title is better placed on Management rather than Quality.  The IQI Academy applies to all levels of organizational experience and applies to every business function. Our investments in IQI Academy participation also pays dividends by:

  • Increasing individuals’ joy in work

  • Developing leadership skills for the good of the organization

  • Teaching a deeper understanding of variation in operations and business support systems

When defining our strategy for employee participation we did not believe that mass enrollment would be successful from a cultural change perspective. Nor did we expect that everyone in the organization would be available to make the commitment of six sessions spaced across 12 weeks. We made a key decision to enroll employees from all areas in manageable cohorts of 7-10 people. 

Strategically selecting participants (high performers willing to learn from each major functional area) has helped to obtain the "thinking in systems" buy-in and support in each area for which we had hoped. These individuals have become champions “in-place” for the principles learned in the IQI Academy. It has also been vital for us to obtain sponsors in each functional area.  

Read more

Tina M