Pluralsight – The Best Company You Never Heard of

PluralsightA few months back, I had the pleasure of being one of five Deming instructors participating in delivering a Deming Institute sponsored 2-1/2 day seminar to the entire Pluralsight organization. The fact that this was an all-hands meeting (200+ in attendance) told me these guys were serious about the Deming philosophy and making it part of their culture.

So, who is Pluralsight?

Pluralsight is an on-line training provider. The company produces on-line courses for people that want to learn software development and IT.

The more important question may be,” what is Pluralsight becoming?” They are becoming a Deming company by building into their system a Deming DNA. This is not an easy task when most of the other organizations in the world are following a completely different and mostly opposite path.

So, what is in their Deming DNA? Or what isn’t in their Deming DNA? They do not have sales commissions, bonuses,or  targets. They do have profit sharing, trust and the right kind of leadership. They understand variation and the difference between common and special causes of variation. They also understand how tampering makes their system worse and creates a finger pointing culture.

Want more? They got rid of their paid time off and travel and expense policies. You take whatever vacation you need and you do what is right for travel and expenses. This allows the use of guiding principles rather than rules and policies – I have found this works for dealing with customers too.

All the employee rules and policies you see in most every organization has been replaced by two rules at Pluralsight:

  1. Be respectful, considerate, and kind, even when you disagree.
  2. Always act in Pluralsight’s best interest.

Who wouldn’t want to work in an organization like that? The top-down rule -producing organization is probably going into full tilt mode right now.

A forward thinking organization like this is coming to your industry and will be creating a new type of disruption. Can you compete against an organization this nimble, while your big boat anchor of rules, policies and procedures keeps you from leaving the dock?

Some will think they can copy Pluralsight and then they have you right where the Japanese auto, electronic, optical instrument and steel industries have had US competitors for years now – copying to catch up. When you copy, you never catch up. Regardless, many will read this post (and others) and try – think Toyota.

The fundamental Deming philosophy needs to be understood to find your path using it. Find your path and let your competitors follow you – now you are a leader.

You can listen to Keith Sparkjoy talk about the Pluralsight journey in his presentation at the Deming conference called, Discovering Deming: Cultural Evolution at Pluralsight. Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight writes a column for Inc magazine.

Take a look at your organization as your customers see it – our 4-day workshop has been called “an awakening experience.” You will understand the customer view of your organization and take inventory of the assumptions, beliefs and perspectives that drive performance. Tripp Babbitt is a service design architect and organizational futurist. His company helps service organizations understand future trends, culture and customer. The 95 Method designs organizations to improve the comprehensive customer experience while improving culture and management effectiveness. Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for PEX and CallCenterIQ. Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at

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