Future Events

Face-to-Face Meeting - Understanding Variation, De-Crapifying Work - Tuesday 20th Sept 2022

The theme for this day is Understanding Variation and De-Crapifying Work, and is two-fold: firstly to understand how we can understanding and manage variation, and how we can make work better. There are two sessions:

MORNING - Helping business to understand and manage variation - Omar McCarthy

When business people experience variation in results they can often treat this as arising from human (operator) error, and as a result mis-direct their improvement actions. Since we can not ‘Know what we don't know’ a vital prelude to initiating substantive change is to gain insights that point us to other causes, and lead us to change our thinking.

The workshop will be particularly valuable to leaders and managers who study performance and seek leverage to raise it.

Our speaker will discuss how a leader in manufacturing raises visibility of this problem and prompts the organisation to tackle variation by adapting their approach to problem solving and applying some of Deming's teachings. He has channelled this across the manufacturing sites, through business processes and the engagement of management, where talk of variability and how to get to grips with it is the 'new normal’ priority; and ensuing improvement activities are guided by cycles of measurement and testing. 

Take-aways will include how the experience of improvement efforts in ‘Big Pharma’ is achieving tangible business benefits; and how these might fit with your own settings.

Omar is Lean Director at AstraZeneca, a global research based Bio-Pharmaceutical company. He has also worked in financial services, and trained in statistics. Amongst his current specialisms, he is Global Lead for Process Robustness, and led the development of the AstraZeneca framework for Problem-solving in Operations. Omar is keenly interested in how organisations can benefit from viewing themselves as systems, focusing on high-value learning, retention of key skills, and seeking the next steps in improvement.

AFTERNOON - De-Crapifying Work - Colin Newlyn

Our speaker argues that we urgently need to ‘De-crapify Work' - because, for too many people, the experience of work is crap.
Does that ring true for you? - if so then this workshop is one you should not miss. Even if you are lucky enough to answer ’No’ can you say the same for everyone else (including supply chain and customers) you deal with?

Colin notes that levels of employee engagement are pitifully low, that a majority of employees would change jobs tomorrow if a better opportunity arose and that our workplaces are awash with apathy. All these are denying the creativity, innovation and collaboration that organisations and the world need, to address the challenges and opportunities we face every day. See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/decrapified-workplace-colin-newlyn/ 

This epic waste of human potential is why: stress, anxiety and depression are at record levels and continue to rise, also people are dying from work-induced stress-related illnesses, including burnout and suicide.This lively workshop will take us on a journey towards happier and sustainable workplaces.

In de-crapifying work, Colin insists that any of us can take action now to improve their workplace. His lines of action include encouragement for us to recover the pleasure we get from doing good work well, and to 'Release our Inner Pirate’ and to ‘Make Good Trouble’ at work. He highlights a need to provide 'Visions of Better’ ways to operate, such as the Pirates example and Laloux on self-organisation. And he powerfully challenges the widespread management misconception that managers raise performance best by steering, controlling and ‘managing people’. 

Key questions include: Why is work crap for so many? What can we do individually and in teams to effect change around us? What could a de-crapified workplace look like? What are the systemic changes we need?

Colin Newlyn has studied, worked and consulted widely around coaching, leadership and culture, and has a varied background ranging across infrastructure, economics, and financial services.


To close the day our speakers will lead a discussion with participants of what they have noticed and learnt, and ask “What does this change?"

Our speakers will lead a plenary session, asking participants to share their learning, and to help them make plans.  

If you are able to attend, please advise Brian Leeming as soon as possible, on: brianwleeming@gmail.com

If you aren't a member of the Alliance (i.e. pay meeting-by-meeting rather than annual subscription) we will invoice you for this meeting (£55) as soon as you register to attend.  You may change to becoming a Member at any time during the year by going to our website at: https://www.demingalliance.org/membership/application/ 

Face-to-Face Meeting - Understanding ourselves and healing organisations - Thursday 9th June 2022

The theme for this day is Understanding ourselves and healing organisations, and is two-fold: firstly to better understand what we value most, and secondly to place our organisations on a cycle including crisis and renewal. There are two sessions:

  • Morning Session - Change, Values and Us - Jackie le Fevre
    We can all benefit from understanding which values we hold dear because they are '-our ideas of what it is most important to experience in life and how we want life to turn out for a person like us in the end.'  Stress, even distress, can be experienced when we encounter a mis-match between our values and those claimed or operated by a group we spend time with. Some of you will remember Jackie's first session 'The role of Values in business, life and decision-making; and how we can stay true to them' in 2016.  Then she took us on a journey of exploration, describing how deeply held our personal values are - that they are secreted along with layers of behaviours and beliefs, so only rarely identified or discussed. Jackie's continuing research has moved the subject along, and in this workshop she will delve into the dynamics of the values to be found in any organisation. Participants may:
    • Learn how to access and change our own values
    • Contribute individually to doctoral research into different methods of values elicitation
    • Hear how story-telling can help divine the values a group is using
    • Discover how storytelling and core values can be dovetailed to strengthen culture.
    This session is likely to deeply affect how you understand your place in the world, your own well-being and how you relate to work and voluntary activities!
  • Afternoon Session - How an ecological model of organisation makes sense of a turbulent world - Alan Clark
    Alan’s workshop will share insights from David Hurst’s book ‘The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World’, with activities to help you to consider its meaning in your context. To quote Hurst, the Ecocycle is: “…an ecological mental model of organisation and change, which…is dynamic and embraces change in both space and time.”
    The model involves 8 stages that organisations find themselves in, and twin traps that are best avoided. The challenge for management is to stay in the ‘sweet zone’ between the two traps.
    We will work through these questions:
    · What are my feelings about the Ecocycle?
    · Where is my ‘organisation’ on the Ecocycle?
    · If we are not in the ‘sweet spot’, do we want to be? -and what might be our first steps?
    · And if you don’t act, what is likely to happen next?
    Through group work Alan will uncover the traits and skills necessary to cope in these phases, and what that means for the development of leadership.

Our speakers will lead a plenary session, asking participants to share their learning, and to help them make plans.  

If you are able to attend, please advise Brian Leeming as soon as possible, on: brianwleeming@gmail.com

If you aren't a member of the Alliance (i.e. pay meeting-by-meeting rather than annual subscription) we will invoice you for this meeting (£55) as soon as you register to attend.  You may change to becoming a Member at any time during the year by going to our website at: https://www.demingalliance.org/membership/application/ 

Past Events

Leadership in Healthcare - Tues. 29th March 2022

  • Morning sessionThe Art of Rock-IT Science. NHS Surgeon and systems coach Simon Dodds returned to share more insights from applying systems engineering to operational designs in healthcare settings, aka HealthCare Systems Engineering 'HCSE’.  Members, and the wider public hold the NHS dearly and in an unspecific way are proud of the services delivered; yet they also ‘know’ that europe’s largest employer is heavily fragmented and inefficient.  Alongside the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic added to operation of the NHS there were also great opportunities to apply fresh thinking. 
    This session continued from Simon's session in November, when he delighted us with a game that showed the damage done when deploying mistaken assumptions in scheduling work - see https://www.improvementscience.co.uk/blog/?p=5898 which he calls ‘carveoutosis’ Amongst his many educational roles, Simon was the coach and designer of pivotal new service designs to tackle Covid-19, such as the DriveThruCare patient self-referral system (2021) and the Systems Engineer for the COVID Referral Centre installed in 2020 in record time in a car park at the National Exhibition Centre.
  • Afternoon sessionThe virtues and challenges of trusting your workforce to do the right thing. Paul Jansen of Trust Works led a session exploring his thoughts and experiences of applying self-management to healthcare settings, including bringing the highly successful Dutch 'Buurtzorg' healthcare model to the UK.  He has a wealth of examples showing how dramatic the improvement can be, as massive improvements to how the work feels for patients and the staff delivering care; retention of staff; and that costs also fall sustainably.  
    Paul addressed the prospects for self-management within delivery units, contrast the opportunities and difficulties faced by traditional management styles contemplating such change; and describe new roles for managers as coaches, problem solvers and dissolvers of bottlenecks. Paul spends much of his time consulting with those interested in learning how to deploy self-management, so he has a finger on the appetite for change.

If good leadership is good for business, why are most managers mediocre? - Feb 2022

Ed and Emma introduced us to the ‘Blue 4’ behavioural leadership style that instils more productive traits. They were refreshingly relaxed over the sometimes contentious issue of separating definitions of ‘leadership’ and ‘Management’ -since few if any of us operate wholly in either one role.

Leaders who adopt Blue 4 exhibit an advanced ability to juggle both Concern for setting Direction; and Concern for People (which includes supply chain), leading to higher performance.   An ideal preferred position then is to be in the Blue Zone (see diagram) rather than zig-zagging between the zones.

Blue 4 styles

Next they led us through a revealing exploration how our preferred stance (or range of styles) affect our judgement and interactions with colleagues, in situations such as problem solving, giving feedback and entrepreneurship.   It follows that we should look into how our behaviours link into the ‘organisational climate’ of the business, and its performance. 

Emma suggested that unbidden, we may not be recognise our own basic or 'angry person position’ such as “When I’m in a good/bad place I am usually x/y…” and from that to steer ourselves into a more productive segment.  And an example was that it had made it easier for them to ‘Deal with Young People’ by “Connecting before Correcting” - helping them to move to a thinking/reflecting space, instead of a(another) Confrontation.

Successful customer centred projects need more than just project management - Feb 2022

In Louise Ebrey Hill’s workshop we explored several views of skills and roles, as the building blocks for change:

  • The disciplines needed to make change successful;
  • The differing skills, processes, tools and approaches that successful people bring to these roles;
  • How this changes across the stages of project delivery, and where the roles sit in both temporary projects and the ‘Business As Usual’ organisation;
  • Why it matters…what happens when the right people with the right toolbox, skill-set and mindsets are not in the right roles or the right places in the organisation at the right time in the project lifecycle;
  • How well we articulate these needs in attracting people;
  • How changing our approaches to diversity (including backgrounds, cognitive & neuro-diversity and experience) affect the success of change initiatives.

Lou revisited her strap-line of 'Helping people find their natural home in projects and attracting a more diverse range of practitioners’ by examining the skills facets of change management, and how people can be slotted into roles that best suit their development.  

Using a serial view (a modified SIPOC chain) of how organisations engage with changes, she helped us to apply: Project; Outputs: Capabilities: Outcomes; Benefits realised: (contribution towards-) Strategic Objectives - to highlight the many areas in which skills matching are crucial to success.  From the perspectives of each project board; as knowledge management, or the retention of skills, Louise highlighted need for attention to be paid to maintaining flow along this chain; including feed-back to decision makers.

For example:-

  • Organisations fostering hundreds of change projects commonly suffer from a lack of alignment with their core purpose, and the coordination function to marshal skills towards the true priorities;
  • Those favouring selection from an insider pool with a focus on existing capabilities, often perpetuate skills gaps that cripple change management, leading to stagnation. 
  • When management focuses on a string of KPIs, it is quite feasible to inadvertently marginalise the benefits that projects have already declared, and to waste the resources lined up to deliver them.

Lou suggested that both parties generally benefit from our spending a greater proportion of our work lives building/extending our capabilities "Playing more inside the Box.” -which highlights the intrinsic rewards of work; ‘-being like a kid after opening Xmas presents' and improving retention of skilled people. 

Leadership in Healthcare - Tues 9th Nov 2021

Our face-to-face meetings at Nettle Hill resumed on Tuesday 9 November 09:30-16:30 - with the theme for the day being Leadership in Healthcare

The Art of Rock-IT Science. Surgeon and systems coach Simon Dodds returned to share recent insights from his work applying systems engineering aka to improve management in healthcare settings.  Alongside the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to the NHS there were also great opportunities to apply fresh thinking. 

This half-day session leads into a second session on 29 March. Simon was the creator of the DriveThruCare patient self-referral system (2021) and the Systems Engineer for the COVID Referral Centre installed in record time in the National Exhibition Centre car park in 2020.

    This was a rousing return to what we have missed so much during the lockdowns, the opportunity to challenge the effectiveness of the status quo, to work together and to compare notes in friendly dialogue.

    From Spuddling to Stronger Decision-Making - Mar-Apr '21

    Across the UK there is a great appreciation for the National Health Service, particularly since its 70th anniversary and the Covid epidemic.  Boards need reliable information and clear prompts, upon which to make better decisions.  Yet within the NHS (and in business) the prevalent approaches to looking at performance data are two-point comparisons and traffic light ‘red, amber, green’ reports.  We recognise these are difficult to read, and tough going when trying to spot meaningful trends, let alone to make predictions.

    In this workshop Samantha Riley of NHS Improvement explored better ways for Boards to understand and manage the variation in results, and provide a sound basis for assurance.  This movement has proven to be very successful in strengthening decision-making or ‘governance’.  Sam’s small team have convinced half of the NHS’s 217 Trust Boards to adopt this approach, and are engaging with the remainder.  

    With a similar change overdue in industry, education and government, the field of application is vast.  Attention was placed on how executive members have been encouraged to adopt a different approach - without their needing to perform detailed data preparation, which others do on their behalf.

    This was an online event held on Thursday 25 March 2021 at 14:30 GMT and Thursday 1 April 2021 at 14:30 GMT.

    Slides: the presentation slide-set from the event is available by clicking on the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GKsUofW_k8yPL9QUvVhsU185aG8kYQLf/view?usp=sharing

    Video Recording: the video recording for the workshop event is available by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/VhfUkUqv_QA

    Audio Recording: sound recordings of both events are available via the following links:

    SPC Tools & Training: further guidance and support information is available from the session, and associated materials at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hO8c4VEdblrKmEpz3h8ovb1nxl4SEr-c/view?usp=sharing

    Academic Papers: three papers are available containing useful thinking and guidance on the subject:

    Designing a Culture for Innovation - August 2021

    Culture guides the way staff behave when management is not intervening.  In this interactive 90-min workshop Peter Leeson asked 'What sort of culture do we need to allow innovation to flourish?', and 'How do we influence that?'

    An organisation that does not innovate is condemned to repeat the same thing until they are made obsolete by their competition or replaced by automation.  Staying in your groove means that the more creative and performing staff members will soon get bored and look elsewhere, while the younger graduates do not see you as a tempting employer.  Yet, many organisations insist on how we have always done things, follow the rule book, respect the process, and ask supervisors before improving anything…

    Imagine a culture in which improvement and change are the foundation stones.  You don’t have to invent new products. You don’t need to be Edison, da Vinci or Picasso.  You might “just” consider how to be more effective, improve the quality, reduce the paperwork, speed up the process.

    Culture is not something that is imposed: it is something that grows, that arises out of habits, tradition, communication, stories.  Changing the culture is not like replacing a piece of machinery.  It needs to be designed, thought through, planned and implemented systematically.Within this workshop, some culture change principles and creativity will be considered; you will be encouraged to define your approach through a series of exercises – anonymously; you will have the option to review and learn from others facing similar issues.

    This workshop was developed by and facilitated by Peter Leeson, a chartered quality professional bringing you 45 years of global business experience, helping large and small organisations improve their working ways, culture, processes, communication, and, ultimately, the quality they deliver to their customers.  Peter is a recognised speaker at international conferences and a respected consultant and coach.

    This workshop took place on Weds 4th Aug 09:00 BST, repeated on Weds 25th Aug 14:00 BST.  There are a number of resources that Peter has made available: 

    As well as presentation content from the workshop:

    Culture Change Workshop
    Designing a Culture for Innovation

    You may like to follow this quick introduction at https://youtu.be/-aKg1fzHqSU to the ‘Miro’ online whiteboard system, used extensively in the workshop. The video of the workshop can be found online at  https://youtu.be/0JP5X3nEBBQ

    Peter can be reached for further discussion via https://bit.ly/OK-LetsTalk, and would very much appreciate any feedback either by email at: info@pleeson.co.uk 

    A new event in Deming Alliance's 'Out of the crisis; better management in a post pandemic world' series.

    Leadership for sustainable performance: creating a legacy - Dec'20-Jan'21

    Facing an increasingly complicated environment, managers and leaders can be dazzled by shifting boundaries at national and local levels, overwhelmed by the range of claims made for quick-fixes, and concerned over relationships between leaders and employees. This 90 minute interactive workshop was for managers and staff of public and private organizations to navigate the maze.

    Now more than ever staff at all levels need to know that leaders are well-equipped to identify the areas most needing improvement, steer adaption, and how to effectively gauge progress. David Anker taps his broad experiences of these issues, and share powerful practices to help leaders and supervisors compare forecast with results, and maintain traction on the 'big ticket issues'.

    Recording: the video recording for December 2020 workshop event is available by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/4xQxVRYloNY 

    Recording: the video recording for January 2021 workshop event is available by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/mbDFUhkSlHo 

    Notes: a copy of David's notes in PDF format are available here: Leadership for Sustainable Performance

    The Trust Equation - development workshop - Sept '20

    The Trust Equation - addressing a deep need in both modern business dealings and in wider society. Working from first-hand experience Jane and Mark Lewis created a 90 minute session to help us understand how trust works, and can be lost or built between players; to see: How to see when trust is breaking down? How does lack of trust affect us? What is needed to re-build trust?

    This session was help anyone, whether in non-profit or business situations or in civil society, to navigate the maze of relationships, which are fundamental to getting things done, persuading others to take a course of action, or re-examining how they view an organisation. Participants were encouraged to recall briefly two anonymous situations: one of a lack of trust; and the other requiring a high degree of trust, from any walk of life.

    This workshop took place on Thursday 24 September from 14:00 to 15:30 BST, repeated on Wednesday 30 September from 18:30 to 20:00 BST

    Presentation Material: the slides for this event are available in PDF format at: The Trust Equation 2020 slides

    There was also a trust questionnaire used in the workshop, which is available at: https://drive.google.com/file/...

    Recording: the video recordings for this event are available by clicking on the following links -

    Untangling motivation and performance - August 2020

    This event explored why we go to work, and how we can take pride in it. In today's shareholder society many feel that 'We have to work for the money' - yet is that all we have to look forward to? This workshop was both employees and employers tease out a mix of reasons for us to work; who values our contributions, and how individual and team performance link to more factors than monetary rewards. 

    This presentation took place on Mon Aug 3rd 11:00-12:00 (BST), repeated on Thurs Aug 20th 19:00-20:00 (BST)

    Presentation Material: the slides for this event are available in PDF format at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d_RXvf6s_fxXSZBa2J0BKmFwoDrbYAJv/view?usp=sharing  

    Recording: the video recording for this event is available by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/Rs1nXcUpBF8

    Change-enabled Organisations - July '20

    How is it that some organisations stay out in front of their competition for decades at a time without the need of "transformation programs" or episodic change initiatives? As well as being some of the most successful businesses they are also often regarded as being highly desirable organisations to work for. In this session we discuss these progressive organisations and our research that reveals the difference that makes a difference.

    This free, interactive web workshop with Ben Simpson and Denis Bourne was addressed to business leaders, board members and their advisers interested in ensuring that their organisations can not only survive, but thrive beyond the current crisis.  

    This was an on-line event held on: Tuesday 21 July 18:00 BST + 90 minutes, and Tuesday 28 July 1100 BST + 90 minutes.

    Slides and Materials: A comparison of change-enabled and non-enabled organisations is available to view on-line. The full slides from the presentation is available here as: [cms:asset 253 title="Change Enabled Organisations DA July 2020 v1"] 

    Video: a recording of the presentation video is available to by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/tMsOPM93YgM

    Doing Measurement Well - June '20

    The Deming Alliance presented a number of online workshops on the theme of "Measurement and Performance". Good measurement is vital to every institution and organisation and the first of these events explores the subject of "Doing Measurement Well". The opening event was an interactive session for any manager, consultant or continual improvement professional involved in specifying, using or improving measures. It explored how we can design measures, define them so they’re understood, and use them effectively to support decision-making and direction-setting. 

    This was an on-line event held on: Thurs Jun 25th 18:30-19:30 (BST), repeated on Tues Jul 7th 11:00-12:00 (BST)

    Slides: the presentation slide-set from the event is available here: [cms:asset 242 title="DA performance measurement ultra brief2 Apr2020"]

    Video: the session video was recorded and is available by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/UHVkf6DKJO0

    Your Account

    Existing member login

    Forgot your password? Reset it here.

    New member

    Apply for membership

    Thank you. Your email address will be added to our mailing list.

    Thank you. Your form was successfully submitted. We will contact you by email to complete your application.