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

September 9, 2020 by Joshua
in Podcast

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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