Category Archives: Quotes

Survival is Not Mandatory

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory”

 — Dr. Edwards Deming

I always liked this quote from Dr. Deming.  I thought it really highlighted the importance of change.

The point is that you don’t have to change, but it is key to survival.  Over time everything changes and you must be able to keep up with the changes and adapt or change also.  If you don’t, things will pass you up and eventually you won’t survive.

This rarely happens overnight.  GM is a great example.  For decades, they did not change a single thing about there management, accounting and manufacturing practices.  Finally, after the turn of the century Toyota caught and overtook GM as the #1 car manufacturer.  Profits are higher.  Quality is higher.

Even with the stumble by Toyota a few years ago with the quality issues, they maintained their profitability and continued to change.

There comes a time where every company needs to change its practices in order to survive.  In some cases, it may take years or decades to feel the pressure (GM) and in some cases it may take a few months (tech companies).

Of course, you don’t have to change, because there is nothing to say you have to survive.


Lean Quote Reader Participation: Can’t Please Everybody

Tim McMahon, who runs the blog A Lean Journey, posts a quote every Friday and discusses how it relates to lean.  Tim does a great job of pulling quotes from all types of sources.  I like it and look forward to it every Friday.

With that in mind, I want to try something similar but with a different twist on it.  The success of this depends on you, the readers of this blog, and your participation.  I will post a quote and in the comment section I would like you to tell me how this quote might resonant with you and what you are doing to implement, coach, teach, and practice lean.

Like everything else, lets experiment and see how this works.


“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

—Bill Cosby

I look forward to reading your thoughts on how this quote might relate to what you are doing with lean.