W. Edwards Deming Quotes

Quotes in leadership

A leader is a coach, not a judge.


the aim of leadership should be to improve the performance of man and machine, to improve quality, to increase output, and simultaneously to bring pride of workmanship to people. Put in a negative way, the aim of leadership is not merely to find and record failures of men, but to remove the causes of failure: to help people to do a better job with less effort.


The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.


Deming’s First Theorem: “Nobody gives a hoot about profits.”
Deming’s Second Theorem: “We are being ruined by best efforts.”


Support of top management is not sufficient. It is not enough that top management commit themselves for life to quality and productivity. They must know what it is that they are committed to — that is, what they must do. These obligations can not be delegated. Support is not enough: action is required.


As I use the term here, the job of a leader is to accomplish transformation of his organization. He possesses knowledge, personality, and persuasive power.


"No community need be poor if it has people and good management. No country need be poor if it has people and good management."


There are four prongs of quality and four ways to improve quality of product and service:

Innovation in product and service
Innovation in process
Improvement of existing product and service
Improvement of existing process

The common mistake is the supposition that quality is ensured by No. 4, improvement of process, that operations going off without blemish on the factory floor, in the bank, in the hotel will ensure quality. Good operations are essential, yet they do not ensure quality. Quality is made in the boardroom.

A bank that failed last week may have had excellent operations— speed at the tellers’ windows with few mistakes; few mistakes in bank statements; likewise in the calculation of interest and of penalties and loans. The cause of failure at the bank was bad management, not operations.


A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.


To manage one must lead. To lead, one must understand the work that he and his people are responsible for.