Building on the Work of Peter Scholtes


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When Peter Scholtes retired from conducting seminars and consulting, he asked Kelly to continue his work. After five years of doing this, Peter wrote a note of thanks and admiration to Kelly for his efforts, which I highly recommend that you take a look at and read. Kelly also serves on the advisory council of The W. Edwards Deming Institute.

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Building on the Work of Peter Scholtes

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing Systems Building on the work of Peter Scholtes Guest was Kelly AllanRelated Podcast: Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Sponsored by Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Kelly L. Allan is Senior Associate of Kelly Allan Associates, Ltd., a company with 24+ Associates who has been in business since 1974. Kelly has published articles, commentary and letters in a variety of journals, including Business First, Fast Company,, Personnel Journal, Marketing News, Inc., Business Marketing Association News, Nature Conservancy, Harvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal.In 1999, poor health forced Peter Scholtes to retire fromconducting seminars and consulting. Peter asked Kelly to continuethe seminars and consulting practice. Scholtes says, "There ismuch to appreciate about Kelly. His exceptional ability to combinetheory with real-world implementations is perhaps what clientsappreciate the most."In 2004 Kelly was one of only 12 people selected by The W.Edwards Deming Institute to conduct Dr. Demings famous "FourDay Seminars." In 2010 Kelly accepted the invitation to serve onthe Advisory Council of The Deming Institute. About: Peter Scholtes was an internationally known author, lecturer and consultant and the recipient of numerous awards such as the Deming Medal and the Ishikawa AwardFrom 1987 to 1993, Mr. Scholtes shared the platform with W. Edwards Deming, helping to educate corporations about the new philosophy ofthe Quality movement. He was one of the first to synthesize theprinciples of the organizational development field with theteachings of Dr. Deming. Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Transcription of PodcastJoe Dager: Welcome, everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host ofthe business 901 podcast. With me today is Kelly Allan. Kellyleads an organization made up of over 24 associates groupedtogether in the Kelly Allan Associates Company. In 2004, Kellywas one of the 12 people selected by the W. Edwards DemingInstitute to conduct Dr. Demings famous four-day seminars. In2010, Kelly accepted the invitation to serve on the advisorycouncil of the Deming Institute. When Peter Scholtes retiredfrom conducting seminars and consulting, he asked Kelly tocontinue his work. After five years of doing this, Peter wrote anote of thanks and admiration to Kelly for his efforts, which Ihighly recommend that you take a look at and read. I would liketo welcome you, Kelly, and could you start the conversation andtell us about Kelly Allan Associates.Kelly Allan: Thanks, Joe, Im glad to be here. Kelly AllanAssociates is a collection of experts, and everything we do,whether it is marketing and sales work, whether it is quality andproductivity work, whether it is human resource, managementconsulting work, statistical work, everything comes from the basisthat was established by Dr. W. Edwards Deming and by Dr. PeterScholtes, so I think that makes us fairly unique, in that we reallyfollow those teachings very carefully.Joe Dager: I think it does, and as most others that shared astage with Dr. Deming, Peter Scholtes work, was his backgroundin statistics?Kelly Allan: No, Peters background was actually in theology,but you can tell if you look at his books that he was a very smartguy. Peter had been a Catholic priest at one point in his life, butseemed to take naturally to the Deming philosophy, which is initself; I think, a very natural approach to management. Peters Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsspecialty, and I think, one of the things that Dr. Deming reallyappreciated about Peter was the great insight about how to leadpeople. Dr. Deming did; I think, in many cases, prefer to workwith statisticians, and Peter was a big exception to that.Obviously, he knew the basics; he learned the basics of controlchart thinking and using the quality tools, the technical tools, toget at issues whether they were related to productivity, orquality, or to the management of people. So, he brought adifferent kind of package to the table for Dr. Deming and itworked out really well for them.Joe Dager: What did Peter do before he became associated withDr. Deming?Kelly Allan: He worked with a variety of groups in Madison,Wisconsin that was engaged with thinking about and trying tolead differently and to increase productivity and to solveproblems in new ways. So, Bill Hunter, if you know John Hunterand, Peter worked closely with Bill Hunter. AndMadison seemed to have a collection of these folks who reallywanted to think differently about things, so that when Dr. Demingcame along with a different way of thinking, I think it was just anatural way to collaborate.Joe Dager: Well, Peter, of course, is famous for his work withDr. Deming, but in his own right, Peter was a great visionary. Imean, his writings seem like the basis for much of what weretalking about in the workplace environment were discussingtoday. What parts have you seen the most interest in?Kelly Allan: Well, first I would agree with your statement, andDr. Deming encouraged Peter to write because Peter had a waywith words, and he really was an effective communicator,whether in public speaking, in conversation, or in print. As youlook through the two main books, The Team Handbook and The Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsLeaders Handbook, in both cases, lets start with The TeamHandbook. The Team Handbook, I think, is about two key things.One, it makes teams more effective because it introduces thediscipline of the quality tools to teamwork. The second thing,then, is kind of the reverse of that in that it introduces people tothe quality tools in a way that makes them come alive and useful,not only in a team context, but in an individual context. And sincemost strategic and important challenges, opportunities, problems,are more complex, they typically require more brains.The initial work on teams were benchmarked from Japan withquality circles, and of course neither Deming nor Scholtessupported thoughtless or maybe even thoughtful benchmarkingbecause it misses the systems part, the interconnections, so justtaking a best practice and trying to bring it into yourorganization, such as is the case with quality circles, it is doomedto failure. So, when The Team Handbook was published, itchanged everything about teams, so you see a lot of thatdiscipline of project management and group team management,project team management, today, whether it is agile softwaredevelopment or something related to marketing and sales, thosebasic approaches and some of the advanced approaches thatPeter outlined in The Team Handbook, are in use today insuccessful teams, even though many of the team members andthe team leaders do not know that the tools and techniques theyare using came from Peter Scholtes or, before that, from Dr.Deming, because those teachings, those tools, have been sointegrated into the core curriculum, of how we do things thesedays, they have just been absorbed. And, people dontnecessarily know where they came from, they are just consideredto be the way you operate.Joe Dager: One of the things I noticed in, lets say in TheLeaders Handbook, is that Peter chose not to use the term"Lean" in his body of work. Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsKelly Allan: When Peter was writing The Leaders Handbook, thephenomenon of "Lean" was in its infancy in the U.S., and its kindof a complicated issue in that Taiichi Ohno, who is the father ofthe Toyota Production System, which we would call "Lean" did notlike labels, as Deming did not like labels. He didnt care for TQM,for example. When Peter wrote The Leaders Handbook, he wasvery careful about any of those kinds of words and phrases thattend to pigeonhole things and limit their effectiveness.Joe Dager: Well, I think whats interesting about The Handbook,is that it has always served as my bridge, kind of, directly toapplying Dr. Demings principles, and its untainted, as Imentioned, with Japanese terms and the Toyota validation thatoccurs in practically every "Lean" book anymore, that, it needs tobe validated if Toyota did it or not, but if you really want trueDeming, I open up Peters book.Kelly Allan: You are not alone in that. Peter was an excellentstudent of Demings, certainly, and a thinker in his own right.The Leaders Handbook is bigger in scope than "Lean" qualityproductivity. It links those elements into a managementapproach, so The Leaders Handbook is about creating anorganization that really has win-win-win for everyone involvedrather than experiencing the unintended negative consequencesof trying to lead an organization through silo thinking or bypitting departments against one another for budgets andrecognition and rewards. Peter knew, as Deming knew, only atthe visible numbers, where we look at the KPIs, and when we tryto set targets without understanding ability of people, andprocesses, and teams, etc., what we are doing is creatingtomorrows failures. We are creating unintended consequencesthat people try to optimize their own area, achieve their owngoals within their own departments at the detriment of the entireorganization. And thats something that is still not well Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsunderstood.Joe Dager: Well, I think one of the things I noticed, because Iplay in the sales and marketing world a little bit, is it has beenvery difficult to take "Lean" into sales and marketing because it iscentered on internal structure and the first thing they talk aboutis leveling sales and making it better for the production. Well,when I read Peters work and Demings work, it is systemsthinking where we are trying to make both the supply and thedemand-side work together, and just as you alluded to there inyour description is that type of systems thinking is what Dr.Deming and Peter Scholtes and others were about.Kelly Allan: You are absolutely correct, and I think its a goodinsight that you mentioned that one of the, and its true not justof "Lean, " I mean "Lean" has really excellent things to offer, butwhen we try to apply anything without seeing the larger context,we typically get those unintended consequences. The exampleyou gave about sales, trying to level set sales with production, itsnot thats a bad thing, and it certainly can reduce some of theupsets that come from those two areas being out of balance, butthats still kind of a black-and-white world, and with Dr. Demingswork and with Peter Scholtes work, we are no longer in a black-and-white world, we are in a color, 3-D world instead of a two-dimensional, black-and-white world. We have to bring in otherthings, and its not just about, then, whether we are trying tolook at the numbers of what production is, or service delivery iscapable of providing, so that sales can sell that. We also want tohave feedback loops that include market research, and includethe customer, include new innovation, and we want to be usingsales, not just as a sales function, but as in part a researchfunction, to hear the voice of the customer, and to test things thecustomer might not have thought about It becomes multi-dimensional, and thats where I think the example you gave wasreally excellent, because we see so many companies trying to Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsforce-fit "Lean" methodologies without seeing the largerramifications of that. Things will get better in some ways if youforce-fit "Lean" into sales, but they wont necessarily stay there.Joe Dager: Peter Scholtes work, and Dr. Demings, is adiscussion of merit pay. That hasnt seemed really to take hold,and maybe many people have said merit pay is bad, or salescommissions are bad. These two, most specifically were writingabout it 15 or 20 years ago, and why is this? Were they wrong?Kelly Allan: We have to look at whats most useful, and if weregoing to look at the organization as a system, pay forperformance, merit pay, pay for results, those kinds of 2-D,black-and-white tools start to have unintended consequences,and they pit people against one another, and they cause all kindsof wasted time and wasted effort and turnover of staff, but theyare very difficult for the human brain to unhook from, because onthe surface, it seems so logical. When we get a call from anorganization that says, "Well, we think we want to unhook frompay for performance and merit pay. Help us do that." Ourresponse is "Are you really sure you want to start there, first ofall. If you do, you need to know why." So both Dr. Deming andPeter Scholtes make it clear that the "why" comes from themath. Both those men were humanitarians, both very muchappreciated the destruction of people that comes from merit payand pay for performance and those approaches. But the reasonsfor unhooking come from the math. And just as a preview, themath has to do with the control chart, and what is the capabilityof the system and the people within the system to be successful.There are a couple of hands-on exercises that we take peoplethrough to help them unhook so they understand the sciencebehind the methodology. Once they understand the sciencebehind the methodology, otherwise guaranteed arguments aboutmerit pay and pay for performance dont go away, because ourwhole culture, and many cultures around the world, from the time Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemswe started school, are based on individual merit, so our brainsare programmed to defend that.Joe Dager: Why do you think, Dr. Demings work mostparticularly, but Peter Scholtes work, is really applying all ofthese principles and kind of the how to do it within anorganization. That work seems to me more relevant today thanwhat it was 15 years ago. Can you kind of expand on that alittle?Kelly Allan: Yes, I think you are correct. We see more, everyyear, of organizations wanting to move more toward what Dr.Deming and Peter Scholtes describe as the New LeadershipApproach - the New Philosophy of Management. There areseveral reasons for that. One is most organizations that havebeen diligent about applying the prevailing methods ofmanagement we talked about with merit pay and pay forperformance and performance appraisals and those tools andtechniques that are sort of just accepted without thoughtfulnesstoday, that approach to management is hitting a wall, especiallywith the new people entering the workforce who do not want totolerate, will not tolerate, that old command and controlstructure. So, they dont stay long in these organizations, or theyfind different ways to achieve and go about their lifes work. A lotof organizations are finding that productivity is going down, costsare going up related to employee recruitment, retention, and theyare starting to sense that what they are doing does not provide acompetitive advantage and is not fostering and is not bringing outintrinsic motivation in people. So, even though The LeadersHandbook was published about 15 years ago, 14 years ago, itsstill being read, its still being purchased, and its still beinghanded around as people say "we need to find something new."There is also a resurging interest in the Deming Institute and thework that the Deming Institute does. So, youre correct. There is Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdefinitely a trend. And another reason that trend is movingforward is once an organization moves to the Scholtes/Demingway of managing; they tend to soar and to become much morehighly competitive. They can attract people more cheaply, theycan retain people more cheaply, and they get work done morecheaply, at a higher quality level. It is the virtuous cycle. Theonly way they would go back to the old management approach isif the senior leadership changes and the new senior leadershipcoming in doesnt understand it, does not want to understand it,in which case they go back to command and control, and thenthey start to see the same patterns again, with higher turnoverrates, etc.Joe Dager: Is there a particular area of Peters work that youconcentrate on with Kelly Allan Associates? I just wondered ifthere was a particular area, such as merit pay.Kelly Allan: We like to think that we cover the full range.Certainly, if we were to do a Pareto chart of requests, what youjust mentioned with the merit pay and how do you pay people,how do you go about promoting people, how do you make thosejudgments, about who should be promoted, and how you set pay,and how you determine raises, all of those things would be thehighest bar on the Pareto chart because, everything else is fairlystraightforward once you move into the 3-D, color world thatDeming and Scholtes describe from the 2-D, black-and-whiteworld of command and control, once you move into that muchricher world and understand some of the basic tenets of how tobe successful as a leader in that, everything tends to fall intoplace. You know how to look at numbers differently. You knowhow to look at spreadsheets with a new set of eyes. You know theimportance of driving out fear. You know the importance ofasking, "why?" five times or seven times. You know theimportance of not looking for someone to blame, but to look for a Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsroot issue, and is that root issue a special-cause issue that justhappened, or is it a common- cause issue thats really a systemspiece we need to diagnose and tease out and understand. Thepiece thats remaining, the one that seems, still, to most people,counterintuitive, is how you unhook from those black-and-whiteways of managing people. It does all fit together with everythingelse that Deming and Scholtes did, but, as I mentioned, itsometimes takes a little more unhooking and some hands-onexperiences and some discussion of some very simple math forthat last bit to drop into place.Joe Dager: What was the opinion of Peter and maybe Dr.Deming on certifications?Kelly Allan: I never had a discussion about that with Dr.Deming. Peter and I talked about it some. The sense is thatapproach is probably here to stay, in terms of certificationprovides, at least at the beginning, some kind of indication, if Ihave a certification, that I know what Im doing with thoseapproaches. The reason they were less than enthusiastic aboutcertifications is because of the danger that comes, from how doyou control and manage the quality of the certifying body itself.There are abuses that start to enter the marketplace, and at acertain point, having a certification doesnt mean much becausesome people have achieved those certifications in ways that werenot robust. And so, that has tainted the entire certification, sothat us back to "OK, do you really know how to do X, Y, and Z?And do you know how to do it within the context of the system?"That was one of the things that Dr. Deming complained aboutwith TQM, that all of us are sort of wondering in terms of some ofthe certifications for Lean and six-sigma. Its not that they arewithout value, but they can be tarnished by some of the abusesof the marketplace.Joe Dager: What is upcoming to the Kelly Allan Associates? Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWhats your plan for the future and the near future?Kelly Allan: I think well continue to do what were doing. Welike working with organizations; for-profit and non-profit, local,small organizations are exciting to work with, because they aresmaller ships to turn, so you can see the impact of amanagements moves to the 3-D, color management approach.You can see that impact much more quickly than you can in alarger organization, which is just a big ship to turn. We do a fairamount of international work, as well. I just recently returnedfrom and Malaysia, and we will be doing more work over therewith a variety of organizations, and the Deming Institute is veryinvolved with those activities, as well.Joe Dager: How can someone contact you?Kelly Allan: is probably the best way. There area lot of articles, everything is, free on the site. I would also liketo mention, which has a series of about 25short articles in their collection of whats called "The DemingFiles." Those cover everything from Peter Scholtes work to Dr.Demings work, The System Of Profound Knowledge, The NewPhilosophy of Management, as well as differences between anapproach that goes beyond Six-Sigma to incorporate more ofDemings thinking and more of Peter Scholtes thinking. Thereare some examples there of how that extra robustness of goingfurther into the Deming approach gets you even better outcomes.Joe Dager: How do you think Peter Scholtes would like to beremembered? What do you think was the most important thingto him?Kelly Allan: Certainly, joy. Pride and joy in work would be rightup there for Peter. Trying to create a humane work environmentthat also made logical sense, I think, would be important to Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPeter, and to be serious about work, but also have fun at thesame time. I mean, its our life. Peter was very much about "Thisis your life. Be sure you are living your life. And, work is animportant part of life, and make sure you are giving and gettingfrom the work." Joseph T. Dager Business901 Phone: 260-918-0438 Skype: Biz901 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Website: Twitter: @business901Joe Dager is president of Business901, a firm specializing inbringing the continuous improvement process to the sales andmarketing arena. He takes his process thinking of over thirtyyears in marketing within a wide variety of industries and appliesit through Lean Marketing and Lean Service Design.Visit the Lean Marketing Lab: Being part of this community willallow you to interact with like-minded individuals andorganizations, purchase related tools, use some free ones andreceive feedback from your peers. Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop Lean Service Design Workshop Kelly Allan discusses the work of Peter Scholtes Copyright Business901