top of page

The Everyday PM Podcast | "Defining a New Normal of Leadership with John Dyer"

Updated: Feb 27, 2022

John Dyer, Author, Coach, and Trainer

John Dyer is an author, coach, and trainer with 36 years of experience in the field of improving processes. His published book, “The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership” examines the four leadership styles required to move an organization’s culture to one of trust, collaboration, and teamwork. John started his career with General Electric and then worked for Ingersoll-Rand before starting his own consulting company. He has had the opportunity to study with leaders in the continuous improvement field such as Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Brian Joiner, and Stephen Covey.

The first line in the book “The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership” is: “Perhaps everything we know about how to manage people is wrong.” We have decades of bad management practices to overcome if we have any hope of implementing and sustaining team-based improvements such as Lean and Six Sigma. The first step to make improvement happen is to first admit that there is a problem (and then identify and fix the root cause). In many cases, that problem begins with the organization’s managers. But what is the root cause of why good people continue to use the old management ways?

In 1991, John was introduced to Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points to running an effective organization. After convincing his boss at General Electric to allow him to attend Dr. Deming’s seminars, he remembers having his entire perspective on how to lead others to change dramatically (“Drive Out Fear” was the principle he spoke to me about the most once he discovered I worked for GE). Most of the 14 points involve changing the behaviors of the leaders inside of the organization. A couple of the principles suggest stopping something executives have done for decades (such as the use of Management By Objectives) and instead “substitute leadership.” But what does leadership mean?

John Dyer with Dr. Deming

Throughout history, there are many examples of great leaders. Some, who have inherited a crisis, are direct (with a sense of urgency) and take responsibility for their decisions (a leader in the military for example) while others are coaches who can bring the best out of their players and form high-performing teams. Some leaders are good at creating inspiring visions and then training and empowering their employees so that problems can be solved and the customer can be delighted by the people closest to the process. The truly great leaders can do all of the above and know which style of leadership to use in order to help the organization mature in their ability to work together to solve problems, eliminate waste, and achieve excellence. Why is it difficult to find these multidimensional leaders?

“The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership” explores the answers to this and many other questions on leadership by sharing the story of Jim Brown (a new executive who wants to do the right thing but inherits a staff who refuse to change) and Frank Smith (an executive in the same company who will do anything to make himself look good in order to get ahead). The narrative is based on actual events (for example, the author was the one who was given a stick to unjam parts on a machine in order to make sure the production numbers were met and almost lost his finger in the process). Each chapter concludes with a description of how to take the lessons learned from the story portion and apply them to help an organization change, produce “enthusiastic productivity,” and achieve excellence.

Here's a preview of the questions we cover in this week's episode of The Everyday PM Podcast:

  • What about your professional journey has led you to become a champion for continuous improvement and operational excellence?

  • What was it about Dr. Deming's work that motivated you to take his seminars?

  • What inspired you to write the book from the perspective of two fictitious but very real characters who represent the old and new normal of leadership?

Enjoyed this new-themed episode with John? Want to learn more about how he works with several organizations to assist in the implementation of team-based, improvement initiatives? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below! Make sure to follow John and me on LinkedIn for more.

Purchase The Façade of Excellence: Defining a New Normal of Leadership:


Follow Our Hosts on LinkedIn:

Director of Project Management at One & All

Program/Project management professional with over a decade of experience in product development, physical retail launches, health care, and tech industries. Helping grow and diversify the project management community, one podcast at a time.

Author, Coach, Trainer

John has an Electrical Engineering degree from Tennessee Technological University as well as an international Master's of Business from Purdue University and the University of Rouen in France. He is a contributing Editor for IndustryWeek magazine and a judge in the IW annual “Best Plants” contest.

21 views0 comments


bottom of page