Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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The Value of the PDCA Process

Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 24, 2012

Yesterday, I confirmed again the value of the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) process explained in my RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE book. Actually, it started two weeks ago Sunday when our family and friends have our afternoon basketball game. In that game, my team lost both games and we did so because of my poor performance. I was hitting the front of the rim with my shot and when I attempted to change strategies and drive to the hole, my knee kept hyperextending. These aren’t excuses as we certainly earned our losses, but I confronted the reality of the situation to make some adjustments for the following Sunday (yesterday).

In the scale of things, winning or losing the Sunday afternoon basketball games is not really a big issue; however, habitually using the PDCA process in one’s life is a huge part of success. Accordingly, I came in after our drubbing and made some adjustments. First, I asked Laurie to pick me up a knee brace as I cannot have knee pain while driving to the hoop. Second, since the kids are going to a private Christian school, I asked Laurie if she would practice shooting with me several times a week. (As the reader can see, I really do hate losing enough to change.) Both Laurie and I would take a shot and run to a new position for another shot. In other words, shoot and move.

After a couple of practices, I realized I had been shooting at the rim instead of arcing the ball to swish through the net. This, along with my knee brace, built my confidence for Sunday’s game. Moreover, all week long, when breaking from my studies, I invested mental energy envisioning (Ant and the Elephant) the ball falling through the rim and net. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for yesterday’s basketball game to redeem our team’s poor performance.

On Sunday, within minutes after the game started, I could tell things had changed. My shot was dropping and I could drive to the hole without pain. True, I still am not in the best of shape; nonetheless, we won both games and looked like a different team. Afterwards, while sitting around the pool area, I realized again how important the PDCA process is to improve a person’s life. Furthermore, I realized I still need PDCA work as the other team will likely have its own adjustments for next week as well. 🙂 That, in a nutshell, is the game of life – constant adjustments from all participants to improve outcomes. Never, in other words, rest with good when a few adjustments make great possible!

I share this story because I am curious why so many people continue to repeat the same mistakes in their careers, relationships, hobbies, etc. when the PDCA process is so effective for improvement? Indeed, if a person will honestly address his shortcomings, applying the PDCA thought process to it, he can and will improve. Without a doubt, every person is creative. The question is: Is he creative in adjustments to win or creative in excuses to lose. I hate excuses and refuse to associate with whiners, complainers, and excuse makers (victims). Life is too short to spend it driving through the rearview mirror. If you don’t like the results in an area then change by applying the PDCA process. The process simply works when you work it.

What area of your life needs a PDCA application? Examine the scoreboard and see where you can improve. The scoreboard never lies. For instance, two weeks ago it said that our team embarrassed itself by losing both games. This week, however, the scoreboard reported a different result because our team made adjustments. Are you winning in the game of life? If yes, then find a defeat in every victory to stay humble and growing. Are you losing in the game of life? If yes, then find a victory in every defeat to stay hopeful and growing. Life truly is a journey, and with constant course corrections, you can reach your legacy destination. The PDCA process is essential for improvement when a person is sick and tired of his current results.


Orrin Woodward

43 Responses to “The Value of the PDCA Process”

  1. Maura Galliani said

    GREAT example of how PDCA can fit into all aspects of our life. As for me, today is a new day. No excuses. I know my “trip points” and PDCA is the answer! Thanks, Orrin. 🙂

  2. Ali Staneart said

    That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing that story Orrin:)

  3. jesus hernandez said

    Orrin, what a great example to explain the PDCA process! The more i get to know some people (especially older than 30) the more it seems like they are driving through life looking at the rearview mirror! They reminisce on the past too much instead of daring to dream!

  4. Bill Eder said

    Another great blog. Thanks Orrin don’t know why we are so afraid of PDCA maybe because change requires you to look at yourself and admit you need to ,heaven forbid!, change.
    are we so afaid of change we accept
    loss rather then make the necessary
    steps (PDCA) to create winnig results. Thanks again. Blessings –Bill–

    • Joanne Brandtjen said

      Hey Dad- I agree with your comment. We just had dinner with friends last night and talked about how people are afraid to change. Our friends have made a huge change in their life (diet and exercise), even though they are not part of the TEAM, they used the PDCA process in checking the scoreboard of their health and nutrition. They were willing to face the reality of the scoreboard and become uncomfortable for a while to make the necessary changes- and they are winning! Neat to see.
      God Bless,

      • I agree with you both! As Orrin says, “Change is inevitable but growth is optional.” We can certainly change in the wrong direction too and that is why it’s so important to be intentional during the PDCA process. Proud of you, keep leading!

  5. Rebeca Castro Bupp said

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Marianne Ashton said

    Jesus Hernandez’s comments ring so true. Funny because I’ve been thinking about exactly that over the course of this past weekend. Orrin, thank you for displaying/explaining the PDCA process in such an easy to understand way. I sometimes want to complicate the process & it’s a great reminder that the steps don’t need to be so complicated.

  7. Keith Sieracki said

    I dont know any champion in any sport that has not accepted responsibility for a poor performance. In a press conference, I have never heard them blame referees, the weather, the coach or the fans. I believe Orrin’s great example of the PDCA process gives anyone the ability to be a champion because of the confidence that the process brings. A future champion’s attitude will never suffer because they embrace the PDCA process and keep their eye on their goals and dreams.

  8. Good stuff!

  9. John Burns said

    Thanks Orrin! I also think there’s an underlying point there that one must choose a game they can win at.

  10. Matt Mielke said

    Thanks Orrin. Not only will I apply this to my life today, I will share this with my two oldest children. Thanks for always being the example and not just teaching, but actually doing.

  11. Stephanie Johnson said

    Thank you Orrin for more great advice!

  12. jimmy varghese said

    orrin great post! the pdca process is such a crucial step in evaluating progress. i have implemented it in all areas of my life not only to the LIFE business. the scoreboard of life is very revealing and i try to evaluate all things with this mentality. thank you for your contributions to growing people and communities. 1 million or bust!

  13. Joanne Brandtjen said

    Hey Orrin, thanks for the post on the PDCA process and the example you used. I like the PDCA process as painful as it can be sometimes. But with school back in session, I am finding I use the PDCA process a lot more with my students then I used to(that’s not as painful as in my personal life:)). Sometimes I catch myself in the PDCA process without thinking about it, it just comes naturally. So thanks for bringing the whole PDCA process into my life. Before LIFE and TEAM, I never really heard of it! God Bless,

  14. Abraham said

    As simple and ultimately unimportant as you stated, your basketball PDCA is a great illustration on how to actual apply this method in life.

    Thanks for you’re time in providing this story. Such great association from miles away.

    • Christine Fleury said

      I agree with Abraham. What a great analogy! Especially the fact that it didn’t take “years” for you to start seeing improvements there. It was the very next GAME, that very next WEEK, and you saw a drastic difference. A great reminder that conscious effort to PDCA anything in our life can make a much bigger difference, and do it much more quickly, than we often realize.
      Thanks for another great post,

  15. Jennifer Charles said


    This information is so amazing how it applies to people at ALL different levels and areas in life. All the things that can be accomplished to move ahead in life…. instead of the griping and complaining and going nowhere. It is just a great feeling to know you can become better, instead of having the feeling – “well that is just the way I am” – It does not have to be. “I can become GREAT!!!” Thank you for continuing to put this information out there for me to be able to learn and grow into the woman God created me to be and to live out HIS purpose for HIS GLORY!!!

  16. Yancy Chaj said

    Well once again thank you for such great examples you use to make a point out of an every day life were we can learn to make changes to our life to get better results thank you.

  17. Tim Marks said

    I love PDCA. Often uncomfortable but always effective!
    Great post, thanks


  18. Peggi Kern said

    I enjoy your blogs, because they always give me something to think about. You have an amazing ability to step back and see the areas where adjustment would then change the outcome. I’m continuing to work on that, using mentors, books and cds to help me on the journey. Your blogs are another tool for me to use in the process. Thank you!

  19. Dee Williams said

    Thanks Orrin. That was a great reminder to continue to use the PDCA process. For me, using the process consistantly is what I need to work on! Your awesome! God Bless.

  20. Kirk Birtles said


    Thanks for the post. Check the scoreboard, and if you don’t like what it is telling you, then something must change! PDCA to a million!!


  21. Great example for PDCA. I believe most people don’t use it because you first have to admit you need to change. Change can be painful and requires time and work. It is the old ‘I don’t have time to change … I’m too busy failing. Thanks again for the reminder to PDCA.

  22. Daniel Pinkelman said


    I appreciate the life examples and the drive for improvement in all areas! I was with a men’s group last night and two of the guys just kept speaking their limiting beliefs. I had just finished listening to the PDCA CD you did and wasn’t in the mood to hear that kind of talk anymore. I explained that if they didn’t like how they could perform in that area then all they needed to do was find the one, or two, things that they could improve and then focus on those things. You could see the sky open up as they realized that it really was that simple.


    • Orrin Woodward said

      Daniel, That’s a great example of leadership. My goal is to make it embarrassing to offer excuses around me. I don’t buy or sell my own excuses and I certainly am not looking to buy others. They can sell their excuses somewhere else if they feel so inclined or start buying dreams through PDCA with me. 🙂 God Bless, Orrin

  23. Chelsey Hern said

    Thanks for the great examples of PDCA used in regular life. It gives me guidance and hope for better performance myself in not just this business but in other 8 F areas such as fitness and finances. Thanks again Orrin!

  24. Orrin, now this is my kind of post 🙂 Sounds like my kind of Sunday too! PDCA is a lifelong process and when it isn’t being done, it is very obvious in our lives. Sometimes I have to identify the top 3 areas I need to PDCA and only focus on those until I am happy with the results because if I focus on too many things then I won’t accomplish anything. Thanks for sharing such a great example and taking me back to those days. Sports certainly teach us a lot about life!

  25. Mike Bouknight said

    Thank you for the reminder that we need to keep score and make ajustments in all areas of our life. Great post.

  26. Robert Torres said

    This is a GREAT example of dealing with problems. Ever since my wife and I became involved with TEAM/LIFE we have added the CA portion of this to our lives and WOW what a difference. We kept doing PD PD PD PD PD and now we know that is the definition of Insanity. GREAT POST, Thanks ORRIN!!!!

  27. Becky Oliver said

    I have not been using the PDCA process often enough. Thanks for this article showing how to apply it in everyday situations that I would not normally thought to do it in.

  28. Paul Oliver said

    PDCA….seeing the “same old thing” from a different perspective. I didn’t think much of this idea because I didn’t “plan” what I had to do, just “rolled with the flow,” from project to project, often without completing the last one.

    A fundamental change (in my life) took place months after being introduced to the concept of PDCA. First I had to actually Plan! That in its self was a major change. It was the Checking and Adjusting that has been such a surprise.

    Mowing my lawn is the best tangible proof of the value of PDCA. Instead of mowing from the outside in, I now start in a center location and mow in an ever-widening circle (then “clean up” the patches). Thus ending the need to “corner” 4 times or more per lap. This has proved to save 25 to 35% of the time required to mow my lawn. PDCA has given me back 45 minutes (avg) every time I mow my lawn!

  29. Michael Hartmann said

    “What area of my life doesn’t need the PDCA application?” is a more appropriate question for me! The PDCA process is such a universal tool, every area of my life can and will improve if I take the time to THINK through the process and make appropriate adjustments. To paraphrase Jeff Olson: The PDCA process is easy to do. It’s just that it’s easier not to do it. Therein lies the riddle of success. I believe awareness is a huge step forward. Thanks for the great article. It really provides a succinct example of HOW the PDCA can be applied in all facets of our lives.

  30. Barry Quinn said

    What a great post Orrin. And the examples given by everyone on the comments is awesome. It is great to see a group of people doing their very best not to make excuses in their lives. An example going on right now I can see is the NFL players and the fans blaming the loses on the refs. Really? I always told my kids that the refs were never to blame for the loss, many other reasons contributed to the loss. We have always got to take the hard look in the mirror. Thanks Orrin for the great leadership. GOD bless.

  31. kyle bontrager said

    This is why i enjoy your blogs, you take an everyday thing and show us how we all use it to grow. Your always striving for everyone try to grow everyday! Thanks again

  32. Meko Arroyo said


    I have been a competitive level soccer coach for over 10 years and I had done the PDCA process without knowing it. However, it was not until joining the LIFE TEAM that I realized this process was necessary to continually improve my life. Thanks again for the reminder that this is not a sometime thing, but an all the time must!

  33. Jessica Poole said

    Thanks Orrin for another great post, I tend to want to overthink PDCA, you break it down and give great examples. Its a great reminder that we can PDCA anything in life after looking at the scoreboard and reviewing the things that may need change! Thanks again!:)

  34. Kim Decker said

    You are right as usual but as I have found out sometimes it takes another person to look at the results to halp analyze them as we see past our mistakes. Thank you for teaching me this in life and I know now I have the people in this business to help me see my mistakes in alot of different areas. Everyone needs to look ahead and not always backwards as we are taught to do. Great teachings.

  35. Wildtarg said

    There are some good examples here of how P.D.C.A. can help improve nearly ANYTHING in life! I have PDCA’d (even when I didn’t know it by that name) everything from brushing my teeth to my career plan to how I wash my hands; the goal is always to get the best results from a reasonable effort. I have encountered many people who either don’t PDCA, or who change just enough to get out of the danger zone and blend in with their peers. “It’s fine”, “It doesn’t matter”, “No one’s going to notice”, I have heard many times. What some may not realize is that by settling for average in the little things, they are affecting their character and their drive to achieve excellence in ALL things, both small and great. P.D.C.A. isn’t just a phenomenal tool for improvement, it is the true path, the “Tao” of pursuing excellence. ‘Kai-Zen’ isn’t just the name of a great organization, or even a great quality development process; it is a name of the philosophy of ideals, of pursuing perfection with drive, hope, and spirited optimism.
    Business is entirely new territory for me, but I am sure that with the right information, the right determination, and the PDCA process, victory will be mine here as well. And thanks for the diagram – it shows just how much you do dislike losing ;D .

    Keep going, we’re coming…

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