Question and Answers
with Kelly Gerling


What is the difference between Dr. Deming's ideas on quality and Values-Based Leadership?

Dr. Deming and his work continues to inspire me.

He developed fourteen primary points that he promoted for organizations. VBL helps organizations achieve several of his points while focusing on the process of thinking itself.

The main points in Dr. Deming's philosophy that relate to VBL are :

Dr. Deming talked about the importance of what he called "profound knowledge." His primary focus of his teaching was on the systems in organizations. When I developed Values-Based Leadership I wanted to create methods for developing the thinking abilities of individual leaders.

When I went to his workshop and met him in the early 1990s, it was evident that he is a superb systems thinker. During my interview with him, I asked him this question: "What are the differences in the thinking between those who can implement your philosophy and those who can't?"

He thought for a minute and replied, "I don't know."

His unknowing answer actually inspired me to do more work on finding an answer to that question. That was in about 1991. VBL is my current answer to the question I asked him.

What do you think about unions in companies?

I think that creating unions are a right of people in organizations. When working with unions or organizations with unions I emphasize skill development. To the extent members of unions, members of management and others develop into skilled values based leaders is the extent that cooperation and a healthy culture that fulfills values will emerge.

How does globalization affect the ability of individual companies to treat individuals well and practice our values?

The current system of corporate globalization has built-in problems. Primary among these are undermining democracy and actions inconsistent with a healthy relationship with the natural world.

On one level, companies and agencies have to take into account the trends of globalization in their strategies for being successful with customers and for being successful financially. Doing this will be different for each organization.

On another level, it is important for members of organizations to work for a world that has robust democratic processes, methods to prevent too much power by large organizations, effective ways of eliminating poverty, and ways that work to preserve a healthy relationship with our neighbors in the natural world.

For further reading about globalization, I suggest reading a number of informative books.

While I don't think that any one book has all the answers on any subject, these books relating to globalization were helpful to me. They point out problems as well as new and really cool visions for the future.