Blood, Sweat and Gears

What is it about people and their cars that makes you see red?  On recent trips to S. Carolina and Texas I encountered drivers who thought they ruled the highway, the parking lots and the side streets –yelling or gesturing when I unintentionally bumped their car door with mine, or honking when I didn’t move fast enough at stop signs.  To really understand my frustration, you have to imagine me at 5’6″ in the drivers seat of a dilapidated old Datsun Hatchback; without a/c; owned by my 5’8″ daughter; on a hot day.  The driver’s seat is permanently pushed back as far as it will go; my right leg is stretched out as far as it will go, and I’m sweating profusely while frantically trying to push the clutch in –while going uphill! 

I may not be totally competent with a stickshift, but I am competent on a broomstick and I was tempted to let loose on those poor souls.  Thankfully, I held my emotions in check and modeled the appropriate behavior to my daughter. 

When faced with others peoples behavior, it can be difficult to act responsibly and respectfully.  Over the years, I have learned that true leadership is identified by how one reacts to feedback and responds to change levers. For instance, do you admit your mistakes or blame others? Do you avoid change or develop a theory for imporvement and test it?

Being a big picture thinker has afforded me the opportunity to test many theories over the years.  That one ability, or tendency, probably best explains why I enjoy learning about Dr. Deming and his System of Profound Knowledge. And speaking of cars and gears, Dr. Deming started his transformation of managment with the auto industry in Japan, believing that “everyone doing his best is not the answer; it is first necessary that people know what to do”. Furthermore, he believed that management everywhere needs help to succeed, a belief that I share and put into practice on farms, with non-profits, and in all types of business entities. I especially resonate with his commandments to drive out fear and to adopt self-improvement for everyone, not just leaders.

Dr. Deming envisioned workplaces where there is joy in work and joy in learning – what a concept! As a former teacher, I can appreciate what that would look like. 

For over 25 years, his philosophies have been used to transform the way organizations do business. This new approach requires new knowledge, an appreciation for a system, and it must be geared towards the creation and actions of high performing teams. So, instead of blaming others or seeing red when encountered with a problem, my clients rely on me to dive in, identify barriers and help them optimize the system so everyone will gain.  It sure beats the alternative of high blood pressure; dented, damaged or lost relationships, and poor role models.

Contact Kristine Ranger at 517-974-5697 or