Knowledge or Understanding?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about understanding.  Mostly because I see understanding as something people confuse with knowledge.  To clear it up a bit, you can have scads of knowledge and yet not fully understand, but you can come to understanding with a limited amount of knowledge.

The NEBA Luncheon this week had as it’s speaker, Rick Scott, governor of our fine state.  Got to shake his hand and I must say he comes across as a sincere, genuine sort of governor.  Governor Scott is off next week for South America, Brazil, I think.  The object being increase of trade between Florida and S.A.  I sent an email to his office encouraging
him to seek out Dan Strongin, the Deming Collaboration consultant there.  Dan will let us know if the governor calls.

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Relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon.  Trying not to think too deeply.  Flipping channels and updating the 6 or 7 websites I maintain for clients and friends.  After a couple of times around, the tele landed on Streetfighter, the Jean Claude Van Damme movie from recent time.  I can’t help but wonder, is this where we are?  This movie is just plain silly.  The acting is awful and every scene involving a female has her giggle like a ten-year-old, even if she has just disposed of a bad guy.  This is, of course, just one example of the way the quality of entertainment has been going down, down, down.  Look at the lineup of shows for the new season.  Busting to the seams with “reality” shows.  Say that that is what the public wants but please note nothing, and I mean nothing could cost less to produce than a reality show.  Can we reach a bit higher?  Can our entertainment reflect our desire to bring about a better world?  Shouldn’t it?

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The other day my wife Carolyn commented that life, at least in the U.S., seemed so full of distractions.  I never gave it much thought, but now that I do, I see that she is, for once, right.  Sports seasons run non-stop and if there is an hour empty of a championship run, there are always re-runs.  So what’s the problem?  Just this.  You may have noticed things are pretty bad right now.  To get us out of this mess we are going to have to think as well as act.  While I enjoy a good football game or any number of other sports, we needn’t think
things will get any better if we all stay in a state of suspended animation.  So spend some of that arm chair quarterbacking time discussing  how we can make this a better world, one family at a time.  Here is a good place to start, the life and philosophy of W. Edwards Deming at

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Let’s get this straight

The recent exercise in futility that was the debt ceiling crisis was, as most of us expected, a bit ant-climatic.  All the emotion aimed at preventing any real change in the way this country is run was, in the end, successful.  We have pushed the problem out into the future a bit but no one thinks any real change is “out there” either.  Friends, I too hate it that this has happened when it did, let alone at all.  We have for many years known something like this was coming, known collectively that we could not sustain the path we were on.  So now what?  No one wants to lose a penny of what they have been receiving, no one wants any cut to the monies that have been coming in.  We adapt to live on what we get, it is no different in tough times, though we have less, we still expand to fill the space.  Change is not going to come politically and it is not going to come from the top.  It must come from you if it is to come at all.  Learn how to change your life now and start to affect change in the future for the rest of the world.

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It seems any attempt talk about education is met with one of two very old arguments.  One, and currently the stronger of the two is the “hold everyone responsible” argument.  This “solution” takes the tack of trying to improve the quality of our children’s education by holding everyone in the chain responsible for “the results”.  This sounds mighty sincere and attempts to at least put the blame somewhere.  The other way to solve the problem is to throw money at it.  These proponents believe that results are directly related to how much money is spent per student.  Let me jump in here and simply label both of these very opposing ideas….. wrong.  Once you view the education of children as what it is, a single system, with students, teachers, parents, school staff, etc., all having a part to play in what is arguably the highest calling we can undertake, you will dispense with singling out just one part of the whole system.  It is one system and must be treated that way.  Tamper with one sliver of it, and you harm the whole, more than that, you can prevent the success of the whole.

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Dr. Franklin, I Presume

Marvin & Alan

Thursday evening, the 7th was quite a hoot.  There was a concert by Marvin Goldstein, an internationally known pianist and entertainer.  Carolyn and I have know Marvin for nearly 30 years.

The concert lasted nearly 2 hours and included many patriotic songs.  This concert was the brain child of another friend and fellow professional speaker, John Curry.  John was celebrating 36 years in business and put the concert on as a way of thanking his many customers.  The Turner Auditorium at Tallahassee Community College was nearly filled to it’s 500 seat capacity.  This would have been all well and good, but with the patriotic theme John decided to add another touch.  He hired my good friend Lloyd Wheeler, AKA Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to greet the guests and to make a presentation during intermission.

Charlene and Dr. Franklin

Here is a shot of Dr. Franklin with my sister-in-law, Charlene Wilson.  There were five of us attending, Carolyn and I, Charlene, and our very good friends, Joe and Myrtie Mott.

What a fabulous time we all had!

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Now Hear This!

“America has been in decline in world markets for the last 30 years”.  So says economist Paul Cain.  I agree. Yes, I think we have slid a good bit and most of it has happened since 1980.  Why?  After WWII the United States was one of a very few countries that had a manufacturing base still in tact.  The world was screaming for stuff and we were able to make it.  This is called an expanding market.  W. Edwards Deming, the American that taught the Japanese about quality after WWII, said, “any manager can succeed in an expanding market.”  With little or no competition, I might add.  It was around 1950 that Deming went to Japan and though the the products from Japan started an immediate cycle of improvement, it took at least twenty years before we here in this country felt the pinch.  Remember the first Toyota and Honda cars?  I still laugh to think about it.  By 1980, the whole world market was changing, as Deming said it would, and many countries were looking for protection from the Japanese, whose biggest crime was that they had listened to Deming, applied his System of Profound Knowledge, and changed the world market as we knew it.  By the ’90’s and beyond, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche, Volvo, and most notably, Ford Motor Company, had started giving the world a much, much better product.  This was necessary to survive.  Today, the quality of everything can be higher, because of what an American taught a devastated, war torn island over 50 years ago.  Isn’t it time we found out what that American had taught Japan and tried it ourselves?

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Way to go, Governor Scott!

Just finished watching the Saturday 8 pm Huckabee Show and one of the guests was our own Governor Scott.  Way to go, Governor!  A great job.  Governor’s staff reading this don’t forget to tell the governor he is very invited, with entourage, of course, to sit in on my presentation to the Department of Education on July 26th or 27th, I forget which.  The presentation will be about the life and work of W. Edwards Deming, the American that taught the Japanese about Quality.  Governor Scott was so right when he said we must make Florida the place people want to start a business or move one.   How many states are actually lowering their unemployment rates?  Not many.  Florida has gained almost 2 full points since December 2010!  That is huge.

Way to go, Governor Scott!

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Greece can be Saved

In 1946, the year I was born, Dr. Deming was 46 years old.  It was that year that he wrote a paper on his observations of the elections in Greece.  I have a fondness for Greece and the Greek people, having worked closely with Autogram International for the last 18 years.  We spent 8 days there in the late 90’s and along with New Zealand, it is a place I wish everyone could experience.  Things are very bad in Greece at this moment.  The austerity measures Greece must put in place to secure the remaining loans from the EU are causing unrest.  The solution to Greece’s problems is no further away than what Dr. Deming taught.  A half dozen Deming trained consultants, with permission, could put the country on the same track Japan took after 1950, a track that took it to the top of the world in quality of manufactured product.  Dr. Deming observed about Japan that there was nothing unique about them, they simply took what he taught them and changed the world.  Deming’s philosophy  still holds that same kind of power to change the game.

Start down the path to discovery here.

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Great Opportunity

Monday, the 13th of June the Experiment with the Red Beads will be given by myself and Kevin Kjellerup at the Po’Boys in Killern.  Get the details here.

Many have turned up on
LinkedIn wanting to know more of Dr. Deming.  I can with no reservations send you to this site.
Click Here

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