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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Demings Red Beads

The original Red Bead Experiment, inspired and used by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
There is a lot of management training hype being taught in companies and schools all over the world. What is important is to practice what is being taught. We must learn to live the way we talk.
Practice what we preach!
The name Red Bead is a metaphor for the problems that we experience every day in our life.
The world is a never ending supply of problems. Each day, you get up in the morning to solve the problems of the day. Solve one problem and more problems appear. It is the way of the world.
After World War II,
Dr. W. Edwards Deming
went to Japan help them recover from the devastation of the war. Japan's success is a fact in history. Even today, the Japanese economy is strong and one can make the case stronger in some ways than the USA and most of the world.
In 1982, a teaching tool was created with Dr. Deming that he used in his seminars around the world to teach his famous 14 Obligations of Management. Dr. Deming called this training tool, The RED BEAD Experiment
Red bead Game.
When you play the game, each player uses a special metal paddle to draw small red and white colored beads from a large bowl.
Each draw of the paddle gets 50 beads. Some are white and some are red.
The white beads symbolize the good things that we experience each day as we do our work and the red beads symbolize the problems or bad things that we experience.
As each player draws their paddle full of beads each player receives a different mix of red and white beads. It's a random draw.
There are many teaching examples as you play the game. One of the examples is that
that our lives experience different things each day; some good and some bad.
We as willing workers most of the time have no control over our experiences. We the willing worker did not make the company; our bosses did, and we should not be held responsible for most of the problems or mistakes. Yes, we can control about 4 out each 100 problems but not the other 96; as they are problems created by the system.
If our bosses want us to do better work, they need to use specialists to ask us questions and then design improvements to the system to remove permanently the problems (red beads) that we find each day.
Yelling by the bosses at the workers will not do any good. Actually yelling just makes the workers more quiet and shy and the names of the process problems will be hidden even more.
So the workers have a very important role in assisting the bosses to improve. They know the names of the problems and our bosses should create a friendly work environment that make the workers feel free (not afraid) to speak up and share what they know.
On and on the game is played and more and more management points are discussed. This is the parable of the RED BEADS as Dr. Deming calls it in his books.

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