—Joshua Spodek's adventures in stewardship—

423: Kelly Allan, part 2: Restoring joy to work through Deming and stewardship


We correct two big misunderstandings. First, most people associate acting on the environment with obligation, chore, deprivation, and sacrifice. We lead them to feel that way when we tell them what to do. We may think we're right because the science says so, but leadership depends not on how right you are but how the person you want to motivate feels. Second, people don't know Deming, or associate him, to the extent they know him, with statistics and how they felt about math problems in school. When you get Deming, you see understanding patterns reveals effective leadership, which is liberating, even fun. Kelly shares how digging dirt and planting plants became fun when led effectively. Since everyone cares about the environment in some way---after all we all breathe, eat, and drink---we can all feel this way. As I speak to more people in the Deming community, I sense we are forming a strategy to apply Deming's work to sustainability. As he turned around Japan in a few years to lead the world, so can we lead our communities. Kelly being on the Deming Institute board, before and after recording this conversation, we talked about involving people who practiced and mastered Deming's approach. Something is going to happen with this community. We are going to contribute to lead people, companies, and industries to embrace sustainability with passion and joy, stopping wrongly expecting burden, chore, deprivation, and sacrifice. Our culture has disconnected us from what brings reward and joy. Great leadership will restore it. If you're into improving your leadership, especially in the style of Deming, you sense we're on the ground floor of a change on the scale of Japan's transformation in 1950, and you want in, contact me.

382: Kelly Allan, part 1: Deming 101, community, and beyond


Kelly is experienced in theory, practice, and community of W. Edwards Deming. If you don't know Deming, you'll hear from this conversation, but for context, growing up my top role models were Gandhi, King, and Mandela. As I practiced sustainability, I realized acting in harmony with nature and motivating others to connect with deeper values isn't exactly what they did. New role models emerged: Patton, Eisenhower, and Ali, for example, but they didn't lead people exactly to connect with their values. Then came Deming. He transformed a war-destroyed Japan starting in 1950 after helping win WWII in the US in a way comparable to developing radar or cracking the Nazi's codes for their secret messages. He did it in four years, an attractive time frame to turn around a nation's culture given scientists' warnings that humanity has under ten years to reach zero greenhouse emissions if we hope to avoid processes running out of control from our previously stable equilibrium sustaining life and human society. Kelly has been learning and teaching Deming for decades. This episode may run long, but the conversation made me as enthusiastic, motivated, and optimistic as with any other guest, for the hope and direction Kelly gave. We talk about specific ways to follow up just knowing transformation of a nation without hope in under five years is possible. After we finished recording we already started following up with whom to talk to next. I didn't dream before this conversation that there might already exist a community of organizations and people who have transformed similarly in other areas that would love to transform again that way. I'd thought of finding people and organizations with the biggest demand, biggest potential to change, that I was most connected to, or other ways. I hadn't thought of people or organizations most skilled at systemic change beginning with personal transformation, nor of connecting with someone at the middle of such a community who also loves that kind of experience. Maybe this is the beginning of a big initiative. I suspect I'll learn as much as anyone.

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