Friday, May 11, 2007


The following is an excerpt from an email I wrote in 1995 while at CBS Television Network in response to a leadership story by Jean-Marie Gogue former President of the French Deming Association. The statement shows the need for leaders to be knowledgeable in systems thinking and understanding the interdependencies within there own organizations. Twelve years later I am still very concerned about U.S. operational business culture and the misbelief that software can replace true leadership.



Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 08:48:59 -0500


Subject: Re: Leadership story

I read your story with interest. I agree completely with the Deming’s statement "There is no substitute for knowledge".

There are many ways of presenting the Deming theories. The most difficult way is to present the theories is the way Dr. Deming did. I believe Dr. Deming was the only person who could present his theories in his straitforward style. Dr. Deming telling his audience that their methods of management (MBO & management by fear) were competely WRONG and clearly demonstrating that there is a better way, was accepted coming straight from the master himself.

I have been working for the past several years as a Quality Director implementing Dr. Deming’s philosophy. I focus on the fourteen points and teach methods of putting the theories into practice, without focusing on the fact that "quality is made in the board room" and that "quality is the responsibility of top management". Once the methods of putting Dr. Deming’s theories into practice are well presented, any intelligent clear thinking, logical human being, can see that the job of management is to optimize the system, to achieve the goals of the organization. There may be many things to fear by following his theories and people may find that they are working for the wrong organization. In the long run a manager has to make a decision whether he/she needs to work in an environment free from fear with the ability to experience "Joy in Work".

I know exactly what you are talking about because I have experienced the same thing. The initial enlightenment message must somehow get to the Top Leadership in a non-threatening manner but it cannot come from middle management. I have found it very powerful to let top management hear the message from Leaders of other organizations who are practicing Dr. Deming’s philosophies and have them do a presentation. I have done this with great success but remember that it is a continual learning process. Each organization must learn to practice the theories and customize methods that work for particular business. The greatest obstacle is convincing the top leadership to change and transform the organization. Blindly copying other organization methods could doom the quality efforts to failure. If it was easy then anyone could do it. Never stop learning. The more I learn, the more I find out what I do not know. I heard Dr. Deming say at one of his lectures at NYU "Learning is not compulsory". I would like to suggest that maybe learning should be compulsory for all in business, especially Top Leadership.

I admire your candor in writing your Leadership Story.

Respectfully Yours,

Shane O’Donoghue


Shane O'Donoghue


ODA Consulting Inc.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Media Usage in Conversational Marketing

Among the treasured possessions that we all have as business people, reputation is one that is earned over a long period of time, but which can be lost in a day. The same goes for a company, and while a reputation may not be wiped out in a day, severe financial repercussions can affect a company’s ability to compete and win business for many years. Such potential risks are greater today that at any time in the past, with the Internet playing a huge role in the dissemination of information through the use of chat, email, blogs, news groups, video, IM and other forms of communication.

Pre-Internet, companies were largely in control of their own destiny and able to create and disseminate a branded look and feel of the company in a broadcast mode. The message was transmitted using traditional means (print, television, radio), and crude measurements were taken to determine the effectiveness of the message.

With the arrival of the Internet, users were given the ability to connect to major companies and view their websites. With the inclusion of FAQs and sometimes email connectivity, the consumer was able to forge a link with a company and obtain information that the company deemed suitable for general distribution. Accurate counts of user interactions were possible, giving a degree of granularity to previous estimates.

Consequently, as functionality increased with the arrival of IM and chat, external communication developed that was outside of the company’s control. Discussions regarding a company's brand in images, reports and dedicated forums created an online melting pot of viewpoints. Naturally, some users were favorable towards a brand and others were not.

Blogs took the interactivity to the next step by allowing the inclusion of video, images, text, links and feedback. Viral discussions developed online while a company could do little except watch or execute traditional media response plans. Little could be done to influence the discussion, and some heavy-handed attempts to interject were met with very negative results.

In order to understand and measure the levels of feeling in the online world, brand management services have developed that will monitor and present a consolidated viewpoint on public commentary.

Notable examples are Cymphony, CyberAlert, eWatch from PRNewsWire, CustomScoop and Comscore. However, there is substantial work to be done in understanding the online mood and guiding communications along a more favorable route.

Negative areas need to be disenfranchised while positive messages need to be created that address issues in terms that the community will accept. The days of the well-worded reaction from Corporate Communications are gone.

Today’s messages are contained subtly in video, audio, music and found in both the major content repositories as well as with niche (but trusted) sources. “Conversational Marketing” is developing as a framework within which this work will proceed.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007