The Deming Spirit

Once each summer, at a number of sites in many of the states with a history of logging, communities and audiences gather to watch logging (sometimes referred to as lumber jack or timber jack) shows, enjoying the skill, strength and speed of the athletes competing in a smorgasbord of events from tree climbing, to axe throwing, single and doubles on cross cut saws, just to name a few. Each is a bit different as logging in each region is a bit different in elevation, timber types, and some of the equipment in use at the shows (for instance a cross-cut saw from the Midwestern section of the country uses a heavier gage of metal than the West coast cross cut saws).

Fifty years ago the Deming Log Show arrived with the goal of raising money to help out “busted up loggers” by putting on a demonstration of events that local loggers do on a daily basis, which started a tradition and spirit that thrives to this day.

A lot goes into such a show, including a great deal of planning and scores of people involved in anywhere from a few to a number of various committees that have the Deming Show Grounds in top shape from each of the structures, to maintenance, arranging for trees in use at competitions, bring in fresh (and cold) water to fill the log rolling ponds, to judges for the events to name a few.

A large part of the Deming log show’s success comes from “the Deming Spirit” of cooperation and attention to completing the many tasks without concern for who gets credit. It was that spirit, which encouraged the older generation (whose energy and dedication created the show) to bring in “new blood” to replenish and evolve with time to keep the show fresh, open to change, and transition cleanly and easily to the new generation’s leadership. Transitions can be very painful, and has been the downfall of many businesses, civic organizations, and families. 

We’ve been fortunate enough to see the leadership at the Deming Log Show change over the past half of it’s lifetime, and attribute the success to the clear vision of the “Deming Spirit” from the time today’s leadership were just pups, where the original goal of helping “busted up loggers” prevails, and the kudos go to the entire group.

It’s no small task passing the torch generation to generation without a firm vision, a clear goal, and commitment to pass along the qualities, values and standards we hold dear. To have embraced this platinum standard, and demonstrated over time our pledge to its future allows us to pass this gift on through time.

Happy 50th Anniversary Deming Log Show. Embrace it, improve it, and pass it on.

Special interests

Long ago we were taught if you’re trying to find out what’s going on, especially in politics and business, to follow the money. Common sense, yes, but part of what makes common sense particularly unique (it would seem especially so at this point in time) is how vary rarely we see common sense in practice.

Once upon a time political season (that is, or was, the few months prior to elections) could be measured in months, whereas at present campaigning has become a full time mission of many office holders and seekers. The focus has shifted from actually doing the job you’re elected for to a cheerleader schmoozing with whatever outlet one can to get your name in front, and leaving your record to whomever is involved with publicity.

Anyone in business, which is to say anyone not employed by government, or on some form of governmentally funded program, has been the convenient target labeled as a “special interest” with the implication that interest is contrary to the “public” good. As the reasoning goes, business is about profit and profit, it’s implied, comes at someone’s expense. 

It’s easier to take a bite out of this reasoning when you set aside that being in business comes with some risk, which you (and perhaps your investors) take with the hope of making not only a living, but making better than a living as a reward (or the incentive) for taking that risk. Business is not easy, and it’s not guaranteed, which is a driving force for one to work more innovatively, more efficiently, and constantly seek a better way to satisfy your client’s needs.

However “special interests” exist well beyond the business realm, in spite of non-business entities insistence that they operate for “our” good. Reality and paying some attention to the political processes, reveals there are a number of non-business entities whose focus certainly have the trappings of their own self-interest.

We reside in Washington State, which has had a very strong and growing public employees union for decades, and who is very involved in the election process, as is their right. The past few weeks they’ve sponsored a radio advertising campaign that claims the state senate has eliminated a number of “tax loop holes” that will cost our children by denying them funding for education, all in the public interest, of course. Rubbish.

Shall we call a spade a spade? The Public Employees Union is a special interest, just as are the other union entities. They are a very special interest above and beyond non-public unions in that should the union at Ford, Boeing, or other corporate entities overstep in their negotiations and contribute to their companies eventual demise, the union’s source of income vanishes with the business... a very BIG difference. 

Most that see and read our publication are acutely aware of the economic frailties of the past six years, which have resulted in downsizing, tightening the belt, reorganization, tighter margins, while watching other business close shop or move to a more business friendly climate. During this same time frame “our” government and government employees have at worst been inconvenienced, and at best not really noticed any change in their lifestyle whatsoever because they’ve essentially continued on with raises, benefits, vacations, etc.

While business had to react or perish in the midst of plummeting revenue streams, reducing expenses, and seeking new opportunities, in this state (we have reason to believe others as well) continues along with business as usual, ignoring that paradigms have changed. How dare we object to taxes! The state’s work force needs to grow!
While the prattle on the radio implies sharply that it is “business greed” that’s at play in trying to reduce business taxes, we’d suggest that while the evidence for special interests greed is indeed present, the truely special interest is not business.

Follow the cost of administration, the growth of staff, benefits, pay, retirment, perks... follow the money.