About Andrea’s Blog

Welcome to my periodic musings on the state of American education, business, journalism, the consumer experience, women and food—how it is grown, cooked and eaten. A systems thinker since I wrote my first book, The Man Who Discovered Quality by W. Edwards Deming, most of my ideas and writing are informed by a systems view of the world.

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6 Responses to About Andrea’s Blog

  1. Thomas Smith says:

    Your wrtings and insights on systems thinking are some of the most valuable I’ve found over the last 30 years. I have been working for 30+ years to persuade management to use systems thinking for safety, especially Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge, to take safety to a higher level so people can do their jobs without fear of being injured. I’m afraid we have been using command and control for safety management so long it is in Management’s DNA. Unless systems thinking is applied to safety management we will never achieve continual improvement. Safety programs are based on fixing the behavior of the worker not the system. That means while management says safety is No. 1 Management still acts quite differently when it comes to truly making safety a priortiy. I’m not just talking about tragedies like the Sago and Massey mine accidents or the BP Deepwater Horizon or the Colombia and Challenger accidents but the 5,000 plus workers killed on the job in the USA every year and the 4 million + industrial accidents on an annual basis. As Dr. Deming told us years ago the system is responsible for most accidents not the invidual person. Non-system thinkers don’t buy this and it is the biggest hurdle to applying continual improvement to safety. I would like to hear your thoughts. You can see my ideas at wwww.mocalinc.com Thanks and please keep up your great work!

    • aagabor says:

      Dear Thomas–Thanks so much for your kind words and your insights into the problems of safety culture. Please let me know if you ever run across a problem you think needs to be brought to the public’s attention…

    • aagabor says:

      A belated thank you for your kind post. You are so right about the importance of understanding interlinked processes especially in complex systems.

  2. Thankfully there are good journalists out there like yourself, making sure we are informed with information that we can research ourselves to make a decision about whatever issue at hand. I am a firm believer that it is up to the media to make sure we have the facts and/or relevant information in a news story. On the public side I believe that we should think for ourselves on a topic so we can decipher what is the truth. I am looking forward to following you and my gratitude is yours, Allie.

  3. Gail Walker says:

    Thank you for a thoughtful and thought provoking review of Building a Better Teacher. As a teacher and principal for 36 years I worked to build better relationships with students, colleagues and parents in order to find ways to engage students in deep learning. The atmosphere of education today not only saddens me, but fills me with concern. Your description of Elizabeth Green’s book gave me greater insight into concerns for teacher training and the effect of charter schools on the teaching profession. I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1973. In a, then unique teacher training program I spent one semester each year in a local school, working closely with a master teacher. My mornings were spent in the classroom and my afternoons were spent in a seminar where, under the guidance of the professor, twenty student teachers discussed concerns and strategies to improve teaching and student learning. Alternate semesters were spent studying math, science, literature, writing, and history; a challenging academic schedule. I went on to earn a Masters degree in education and a Professional degree in School Administration: taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades and served as principal of elementary and middle schools. As an administrator I looked to Deming’s leadership philosophy to inform my team building efforts. I feel concern for the future of education. How will our schools attract and keep intelligent, caring and energetic professionals if they are not respected? Again, I thank you for thorough analysis of this important book, and I look forward to following your blog.
    Sincerely, Gail

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