What is a RED BEAD? New Video Explains Why It is Important and How to Use It

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The world is a never-ending supply of problems. Solve one and another comes along. The name red bead is a metaphor for the problems that we experience every day in our life. In 1982, working with the noted consultant Dr. W. Edwards Deming a teaching tool called the RED BEAD Experiment was created that Dr. Deming used in his world wide seminars for almost a decade. When you play the game, each player uses a special metal paddle to draw small red and white colored beads from a large bowl. Each draw of the paddle gets 50 beads. Some are white and some are red. The white beads symbolize the good things that we experience each day as we do our work and the red beads symbolize the problems or bad things that we experience. There are many teaching examples as you play the game. One is that "Willing Worker" has little control over the RED BEAD problems. If management is not happy with the results, they dare NOT blame the worker, they need to change or improve the system.

Red Bead Game paddle

The Willing Worker has little control over the RED BEAD problems in a company. If management is not happy with the results, they dare NOT blame the worker, they need to change or improve the system.

Now companies and organizations have a video based quick-reference guide on the fundamentals behind Six Sigma and Total Quality Management programs. Entitled Learn to Live the Talk - Beyond Total Quality Management, this 38 minute video has just been released on DVD and is available from Amazon.com.

Based on the famous Dr. Deming RED BEAD Experiment, this DVD is an insightful learning tool that points out how absurd and ineffective that many traditional management styles are; and, how unproductive the workplace is when the basic system is flawed. No matter how you try to ignore it, by painting those RED BEADS white or blaming problems on the employees, a faulty system is an unproductive one.

There are many teaching examples as you play the game. "The Willing Worker has little control over the RED BEAD problems in a company. If management is not happy with the results, they dare NOT blame the worker, they need to change or improve the system." These teachings are presented in numerous text books, newspapers, magazine articles and other video programs.

Professionally scripted and filmed originally in 1994 and produced on VHS cassettes, it has just been re-released on DVD with deep linking menus. This means that the user can quickly and easily view the appropriate topic section of the video. Rather than be watched once and stored on the shelf; this DVD, may be used regularly to review a concept point or clarify an issue with an colleague, employee, customer or supplier.

Part one, shows a typical office department playing the game. The video utilizes stop action narratives presenting "concept points" and suggestions on how the game should be played.

Part Two is a conversation with Mike Johnson, a management consultant and producer of the Red Bead Experiment and the players from Part One. There is an interactive discussion of how the players felt while playing the game. The video also presents stop action "concept points" and theory from Dr. Deming's 14 Obligations of Management - 14 Points.

Since 1984, when the Red Bead Experiment game first shipped commercially, thousands have been shipped world wide to companies, government agencies, consultants, schools, universities, management consultants and even to two Presidents of the United States. A donated game set is on display at the new ASQ Headquarters building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

The Red Bead Experiment game is now being used by several large world wide corporations and their consultants to teach Six Sigma concepts to their work force.

One Six Sigma consulting company using the Red Bead Experiment to teach statistical process control aspects in their Six Sigma To Go classes, Rath & Strong states on their website we believe process and operations improvement are linked to a company's politics and culture. That's why we address issues of culture and customer focus simultaneously. The result is work that ensures responsiveness to customers, maximum efficiency and continuous improvement.

Another company, Green Leaf Mapping and Control Systems is utilizing the information and techniques from the Red Bead Experiment to develop processes to manage and improve custodial services in hospitals and save water in landscape projects.

Other clients include: British Post Office, US Navy, US Coast Guard, restaurant chains, hospital and healthcare systems in the UK, Singapore, USA and Canada, several big 5 accounting firms, major pharmaceutical companies, worldwide parcel delivery companies, and universities and schools all over the globe.

The RED BEAD Experiment video is not intended to be a one-stop solution. It is however, a "quick reference" tool that may be used by individuals and organizations to "get started" on the road of a continuous improvement program or to be used in conjunction with other consulting efforts. Whether you call it TQM, process improvement or Six Sigma, the fundamentals behind and the concepts to get started are the same.

The most important message that the video projects is as the title suggests: Learn to Live the Talk. A lot of theory is being preached by colleges, universities, consultants; but, little effort is given to make sure that the theory is used continually, day after day, year after year.

The best theory is useless if it remains on the shelves. The Red Bead Experiment video is potentially a powerful tool in the hands of a business owner, supervisor, supplier or willing worker. With modern computer technology allowing most everyone to have a DVD player on their desk, our quick reference guide DVD may be a key to allowing the theory to be put into practice.

Since 1984, Michael Arthur Johnson Company, has been the worldwide manufacturer and distributor of the Deming style Red Bead Experiment.

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