My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Donald L. Dewar

We begin the First Friday of the month, November 2014, with another of my Favorite Gurus, again from the world of TQM – the Total Quality Management movement of the late 1970s/early 1980s…

Donald L. Dewar

Donald L. Dewar, founder and president of QCI International and Quality Digest magazine.

In my experience – from back in the days of 1981 – he was Mr. Quality Circles – at least in the USA.

I used his writings and materials in developing my concepts for quality training for my internal Manufacturing, Materials and Purchasing clients’ key people at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center, specifically these 2 books from 1980:


… and …


Don also wrote…

The Quality Circle Handbook

Product Details

There are more books from Donald Dewar – here.

From Quality Digest

Dewar is recognized for bringing quality circles and many other employee-involvement techniques to the United States, and for espousing quality practices, standards, and principles around the world.

Donald L. Dewar presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 27 at the Visual Workplace International Summit 2010 Conference in Salt Lake City.

Don Dewar, left, receives his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Visual Summit from Gwendolyn Galsworth, center, and Paul Olsen, right.

From Canada to the United States to Japan

He was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1928, immigrated to the United States in 1951 to seek his fortune, and was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army, where he trained as a radar repair technician. When he finished his commitment he became a clerk for the Southern Pacific Railroad and attended California State University, Fresno, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. After graduation he secured a position at The Boeing Co. in Seattle and moved his growing family to the Pacific Northwest.

Dewar received regular promotions at Boeing and soon returned to California for a job at Lockheed Aerospace, where he headed Lockheed’s Management Association. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University in 1966, and in 1973 went to Japan to study “something” called quality control circles, and the “daring” ideas that employee teams are effective. That trip to Japan—which many consider the first time executives from the United States went there to learn instead of the other way around—resulted in the start of quality circles at Lockheed. Within two years, the company had 15 quality circles, realizing nearly $3 million in savings (a savings-to-cost ratio of six to one). As word of this success spread, other aerospace firms adopted quality circles, too. Within seven years, more than half the Fortune 500 companies had quality circles of their own in place.

In 1977, Dewar co-founded the International Association of Quality Circles, which later became the Association for Quality and Participation (AQP). In 1978, he started QCI International, the training, consulting, and publishing firm.

Dewar has written, produced, or collaborated on more than 300 articles and papers, 66 books, and 93 videos—many translated into eight languages. Three of Dewar’s books sold more than a million copies each. He started his flagship magazine, Quality Digest, in 1981.

Over many years of service, Dewar has spoken to tens of thousands of people in 25 nations and has personally helped hundreds of companies worldwide implement employee involvement, quality circles, and quality improvement processes.

Taking inspiration from Dewar and his work in quality circles, Jagdish Gandhi founded the World Council for Quality and Excellence in Education in 1999. At the most recent conference in India, 24 countries participated, with 188 schools taking part in the presentations and competitions.

“Don Dewar has not just brought quality circles to America,” Gandhi says about Dewar. “He has helped India bring quality to education and to the children of India—and around the world. Of all the great men—the great improvement gurus—who have helped the World Council on our journey, Don Dewar is among the greatest. He is, first and foremost, a man of quality.”

My Lessons From Don

What I learned from my readings were many positive concepts and techniques for improving communications and collaboration in team meetings – which were important to me in the development of my Group Processes for ISD Analysis, Design and Development – in the PACT processes – or in my EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement processes. I also learned the basics about the basic tools and techniques of TQM – Total Quality Management.

I read his clear books – and applied what I had read – with both adoption and adaption as my mode, as needed.

Share Your Stories

Donald Dewar was a huge contributor to my development back in the early 1980s. I simply wish to acknowledge his contribution.

If the work of Donald L. Dewar was a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below.

Or simply share a URL there that is relevant.

And – thank you – for sharing!

The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series

We each have many influencers, mentors, both active and passive, knowingly and unknowingly in their respective roles in our development.

This series is my attempt to acknowledge all of them… one by one… in no particular order… as I attempt to consciously reflect on what I have have learned and whom I have learned it from, regarding all things “Performance Improvement” – my first focus.

I have a long list.

Lucky me.

Next month – Philip Crosby.

Links to All of the Past Posts in the MFFF Guru Series

Here is a page with links to all of the Past Posts from this series, listed below – here.

  • Donald L. Dewar – November 2014
  • Joseph M. Juran – October 2014
  • W. Edwards Deming– September 2014
  • Bonnie B. Small – August 2014
  • Walter A. Shewhart – July 2014
  • Carl Binder – June 2014
  • Ruth Clark – May 2014
  • Rob Foshay – April 2014
  • John Carlisle – March 2014
  • Miki Lane – February 2014
  • Harold Stolovitch – January 2014
  • Bill Wiggenhorn – December 2013
  • Will Thalheimer – November 2013
  • Roger Kaufman – October 2013
  • Roger Addison – September 2013
  • Ray Svenson – August 2013
  • Dick (Richard E.) Clark – July 2013
  • Allison Rossett – June 2013
  • Carol Panza – May 2013
  • Jane Bozarth – April 2013
  • Judy Hale – March 2013
  • Margo Murray – February 2013
  • Neil Rackham – January 2013
  • Robert (Bob) F. Mager – December 2012
  • Joe H. Harless – November 2012
  • Thomas F. Gilbert – October 2012
  • Sivasailam Thiagarajan (Thiagi) – September 2012
  • Geary A. Rummler – August 2012
  • Dale Brethower – July 2012

Here is a page with links to all of the above Past Posts in My First Friday Favorite Guru Series – here.

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4 comments on “My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Donald L. Dewar

  1. Pingback: T&D: Reflections on 40 Years in the Biz | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D/PI: Thankful for My Many Mentors | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Review: The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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