Jack Grayson

Jack Grayson

Infobox Person
name= C. Jackson Grayson, Jr.

birth_date= birth date|1923|8|8|mf=y
birth_place=Fort Necessity, Louisiana, USA
occupation= Productivity and quality improvement champion
spouse=Dr. Carla O'Dell

C. Jackson Grayson, Jr.
Chairman and CEO - APQC

C. Jackson (Jack) Grayson Jr. (October 8, 1923) Chairman of APQC: [http://www.apqc.org] , dean of two business schools, head of the U.S. Price Commission (1971), a farmer, newspaper reporter and FBI agent, Dr. Jack Grayson embodies the pursuit of lifelong learning. In 1977 he founded APQC as a private sector, non-profit organization to help American business improve productivity and remain globally competitive. In the mid-1990s Grayson focused his attention on helping education institutions restructure academic and administrative processes by identifying, adapting, and implementing best practices. Today he continues to champion productivity and quality improvement within all types of public and private organizations around the globe.


Jack Grayson first came to widespread public attention in 1971 when President Richard Nixon appointed him Chairman of the U. S. Price Commission, which was intended to manage price and wage controls and combat hyper-inflation. Though few liked these controls, he was recognized for his fair, firm administration and for pushing to remove the controls as the economy stabilized.

Dr. Grayson’s approach to price controls allowed legitimate price increases to be passed on to the public, provided that productivity gains were subtracted to offset costs. While it’s reasonable to subtract productivity increases from labor cost increases, in the early 1970s most firms in the United States didn’t know what their productivity gains or losses were from one year to the next.

Working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other federal agencies, Grayson and his staff came up with long-term productivity figures based on industry-wide averages over a 10-year period. These initial productivity figures were used as a standard across industries. For the first time companies were forced to measure their productivity if they wanted to get price increases. Grayson wrote in Confessions of a Price Controller (p.146): “The requirements of the commission helped to increase the productivity consciousness of business. Many firms reported that they had formed task forces to measure and stimulate productivity.”

Grayson’s role as chairman ended in early 1973 when a new Price Commission was appointed to address the next phase of price controls. Price-wage controls eventually ended altogether in 1974 when it became apparent that the controls were not working.

During this period Grayson spoke regularly about how important productivity was to the economic well-being of the nation, how American productivity growth had begun to slow, and how competition from abroad had begun to rise. In a Business Week editorial in 1973 Grayson was one of the first people to sound the alarm about sagging U.S. productivity and competitiveness. He urged the formation of a private sector, non-profit organization to help American business improve productivity.

After he left Washington Grayson returned to SMU for several years. In 1977, after raising $10 million in pledges from 100 U.S. corporations and recruiting a board of directors that included prominent leaders from American business and labor, he founded the American Productivity Center (APC). From this point forward Grayson’s efforts to improve national productivity and quality become intertwined with the growth of the Center (see APQC Key Milestones). To emphasize the contribution of quality to national productivity, the name of the non-profit organization later expanded to the American Productivity and Quality Center, and was then shortened to APQC.

As a leader at the first White House Conference on Productivity, Grayson actively fostered a national dialogue about quality and recommended the creation of a national quality medal similar to those presented by the U.S. government for science and technology. His efforts contributed to the creation of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: [http://www.quality.nist.gov] in 1987.

In 1996 Grayson initiated an effort within APQC to help education institutions restructure academic and administrative processes by identifying, adapting, and implementing best practices found in all sectors, including education, business, health care, and government. The initiative focuses on benchmarking process improvement and innovation, quality improvement, knowledge management, use of data, knowledge sharing, and the transfer of best practices.

Grayson was born in Fort Necessity, Louisiana, and grew up on a cotton, cattle, and soybean farm. He earned a bachelor's degree from Tulane University, an MBA from the Wharton School of Business: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wharton_School_of_the_University_of_Pennsylvania] at the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in business from the Harvard Business School. Teaching at business schools in France and Switzerland, his academic career included professorships at Harvard, Stanford University, Tulane, and Southern Methodist University (SMU). As Dean of the Tulane and SMU business schools in the 1960s and 1970s, he changed the way professors were evaluated, modified course offerings, and involved the business community more in the academic world.

Grayson is a CPA and has been a member of the Board of Directors of eight major U.S. corporations. His early career included a stint as an officer in the U.S. Navy, a newspaper reporter in New Orleans, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a manager of a farm in Northern Louisiana, and a member of an export-import firm. He is a single-engine airplane pilot and a racehorse owner, and has traveled to all seven world continents. In December 2007 he became the first non-scientist in the United States to have his DNA mapped.

Grayson has authored more than 60 articles in magazines and newspapers, and four books, the most recent with Carla O'Dell, If Only We Knew What We Know (The Free Press, 1998): [http://www.amazon.com/Only-Knew-What-Know-Knowledge/dp/0684844745] . Focused on knowledge management and the transfer of best practices, the book explains how to tap into internal organizational knowledge to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation.

In 1990, "Business Week" said of Grayson, “Few, if any, individual Americans have done more during the last 20 years to shape the country’s economic future for the better.” Grayson currently focuses his work within APQC on bringing national attention to the critical importance of improving education at all levels in all types of schools.


From Lagash, Sumeria circa 2,500 BC, a cuneiform emblazoned on the interior wall of APQC’s building in Houston recognizes the first time that the word “freedom” is known to have been written. APQC founder Jack Grayson explains to visitors that it is there because the ultimate goal of both productivity and quality is “freedom.” Freedom from bigotry, poverty, arrogance, fear, abuse, and authoritarianism. Freedom to create, to think, to act, and freedom for each individual and organization to realize its potential.

For 30 years, APQC has been working with business, healthcare, and government to help these sectors re-structure and improve. Today APQC has 80 employees, and works with leading commercial, government and non-profit organizations around the world. It conducts research, offers training, provides information services and technical assistance, and creates publications, focused on productivity, quality, benchmarking, measurement, employee involvement, knowledge management, process management, technical assistance, and other areas. With the support of public and private partners, APQC continues to grow the Open Standard Benchmarking Collaborative (OSBC), a database of thousands of global process improvement benchmarks and best practices.

APQC Key Milestones

*1975-1977 Plans for a productivity center initiated. Grayson travels to Japan to study the Japanese Productivity Center: [http://www.jpc-sed.or.jp/eng/index.html] , and to Germany to study RKW (The German Centre for Productivity and Innovation): [http://www.rkw.de/en/] .
*1976-1975 U.S. companies pledge $10 million in financial and personnel support to create the American Productivity Center (APC).
*1977 Almost $5 million is raised in Houston for a building to house APC, and the organization officially opens its doors in the Texan building. About 20 companies send one person each to spend a year at the Center to help it get started.
*1978 APQC creates its first education course, “How to Plan and Manage a Successful Productivity Improvement Program,” and focuses on performance measurement by adopting its "family of measures."
*1979 APQC creates the largest library of productivity resources in the country.
*1980 National Productivity Leadership Awards program honors companies, labor unions, and government organizations.
*1981 APQC leads a group of White House cabinet members and Congress members on a study trip to Japan hosted by the Japanese Productivity Center.
*1981 President Ronald Reagan appoints Grayson to the Blue Ribbon Productivity Commission.
*1982 Grayson is appointed Chairman of the National Productivity Advisory Committee of the White House Conference on Productivity. The Center conducts a national computer conference with 175 senior executives to collect their views, and presents the findings in Washington.
*1983 A formal, two-year landmark study on white-collar productivity improvement begins. Nearly 4,000 employees of 13 sponsoring organizations participate in this effort to define, measure, and boost productivity among white-collar workers.
*1983-1987 The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is created. Grayson and APQC co-chair Sanford McDonnell, CEO of McDonnell-Douglas, bring together business leaders to determine the criteria and establish an administrative organization for the award. APQC and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) jointly administer the award during its first three years.
*1988 After the inception of the Baldrige award, APQC becomes well known as a resource for quality. The American Productivity Center expands its name to the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC).
*1990 The APQC Consulting Group begins to help organizations work toward improving operations through concepts and tools of total quality.
*1991 The benchmarking revolution emerges as the Baldrige award requires companies to compare their operations to those of other firms. APQC is urged by industry leaders such as Compaq Computer, Digital Equipment, and Xerox to facilitate benchmarking as a discipline.
*1992 The International Benchmarking Clearinghouse makes its debut. APQC establishes its leadership position in benchmarking and becomes a leading resource for best practices and develops a benchmarking methodology that pushes the boundaries of thinking and process improvement.
*1995 APQC partners with Arthur Andersen to sponsor a Knowledge Imperative Symposium, the first conference on knowledge management (KM).
*1996 The Institute for Education Best Practices (now called the APQC Education Initiative) is created to help educational organizations benchmark and transfer knowledge and best practices.
*1997 APQC celebrates its 20th anniversary.
*2002 APQC launches the Knowledge Sharing Network, now the Knowledge Base: [http://www.apqc.org/portal/apqc/ksn/content?paf_gear_id=contentgearhome&paf_dm=full&pageselect=kbase&knowledgeTree=ksntopic&browseCategory=Root] , an online library featuring benchmarking studies and more than 8,000 secondary research abstracts, white papers, presentations, tools and templates.
*2003 APQC unveils a world-class performance measurement database.
*2004 APQC launches the Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative: [http://www.apqc.org/osbc] SM (OSBC) to create the first common database of process definitions, surveys, and measures to enable organizations to benchmark their performance across the organization.
*2005 APQC expands benchmarking efforts to improve K-12 education with a school district benchmarking project entitled “Process Improvement and Innovation in Education” (PIIE).

Professional Experience


B.B.A., Tulane University, 1944

M.B.A., Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wharton_School_of_the_University_of_Pennsylvania] , 1947

D.B.A., Harvard Business School, 1969

Academic career

* Instructor: School of Business Administration, Tulane University, 1947-1949
* Asst. Professor: School of Business Administration, Tulane University, 1953-1955
* Asst. Professor: Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, 1958-1959
* Associate Professor: School of Business Administration, Tulane University, 1959-1963
* Associate Dean: School of Business Administration, Tulane University, 1961-1963
* Professor: IMDE: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Institute_for_Management_Development] , Management Development Institute, Switzerland, 1963-1964
* Visiting Professor: Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Spring 1967
* Dean and Professor: School of Business Administration, Tulane University, 1963-1968
* Visiting Professor: INSEAD, Management Development Institute, Fontainebleau, France, Summers 1972, 1973, 1975
* Dean and Professor: School of Business Administration, Southern Methodist University, 1968-1975


* Certified Public Accountant, Louisiana, 1943-present
* Newspaper reporter, New Orleans Item, 1949-1950
* Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C., 1950-1952
* Farm Manager, C. J. Grayson Farm, (cotton, cattle, soybeans) Fort Necessity, Louisiana, 1952
* Partner, James E. O'Neill & Associates, an export-import business, New Orleans, 1953
* Asst. to the Vice President for Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, 1953-1955
* Chairman, U.S. Price Commission, Washington, D.C., 1971-1973
* Chairman, American Productivity & Quality Center, 1975-present
* Consultant Panel, Comptroller General of the United States, 1978-1991
* Member of Three Presidential Commissions:
* President Richard Nixon: U.S. Price Commission, 1971
* President Carter: Commission for a National Agenda for the 80's, 1980
* President Reagan: National Productivity Advisory Committee, 1982.
* Retired member of the Board of Directors for Lever Bros., Sun Company, Overhead Door, Tyler Corporation, Whitman Corporation, Potlatch Corporation, Oryx Energy, Harris Corporation, Infomart, Browning-Ferris Industries
* Member of Board of Directors, Global Alliance for Transnational Education: [http://www.edugate.org/]


Articles and Monographs

Grayson has written over 60 monographs, papers, and articles in various publications. Here is a selection in chronological order:

* "Bayesian Analysis--A New Approach to Statistical Decision-Making," Journal of Petroleum Technology, June, 1962, pp. 603-607
* "Introduction of Uncertainty Into Capital Budgeting Decisions," N.A.A. Bulletin, January 1962, pp. 79-80
* "Computer Applications in Oil Exploration Decisions," Symposium on Computers in the Mineral Industries, Stanford University, June 24-28, 1963
* "Business Schools and Education for International Business," with George Shultz, The Professional School and World Affairs, New York, 1967
* "The Use of Statistical Techniques in Capital Budgeting," Chapter 5, Financial Research and Management Decisions, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1967
* "Education and Technology", Paper No. 11, The Diebold Research Program, The Diebold Group, Inc., New York, 1967
* "Expectation of Inflation--The Purpose of the Price Commission," Vital Speeches of the Day, March 1, 1972, pp. 306-308
* "Prices, Productivity, and Decontrol," The Conference Board Record, April, 1972, pp.14-16
* "Who's To Blame for Inflation?", Reader's Digest, October, 1972, pp. 116-120
* "Controlling Prices is an Educational Experience," Fortune, October, 1972, pp. 76-79; 180-188
* "Eight Ways to Raise Productivity--And Profits," Nation's Business, November, 1972, pp. 30-36
* "Another Look at Productivity," Vital Speeches of the Day, December 15, 1972, pp. 134-137
* "The Battle for Price Control," The Conference Board Record, January, 1973, pp. 14-16
* "Ten Months of Stabilization--An Insider's Evaluation," Business Economics, January, 1973, pp. 26-32
* "Learning More About Productivity," Financial Executive, February, 1973, pp. 24-27
* "Management Science and Business Practice," Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1973, pp. 41-48
* "On Designing a Workable Phase 4," Editorial, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 1973, p. 24
* "How to Make Productivity Grow Faster," Editorial, Business Week, July 14, 1973, pp.15-16
* "A New Kind of Management Training," Association Management, April, 1973, pp. 42-48
* "Let's Get Back to the Competitive Market System," Harvard Business Review, November-December, 1973, pp. 103-112. (McKinsey Award Winner for 1973)
* "Let's Get Out of Controls--Completely," The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 1974, p. 12
* "An Expanded Concept of Productivity and Its Implications for Economic Policy Makers," Sloan Management Review, Spring, 1974, pp. 83-88
* "Inflation and Free Enterprise," Inflation in the United States: Causes and Consequences, The Conference Board, May 21, 1974, pp. 52-58
* "America Needs a New Productivity Center," Machine and Tool Blue Book, September, 1974
* "We Need a New Productivity Center," Industry Week, November 1, 1976
* "Saints, Burly Sinners, Castrated Buffalos, and Dead Cats,” The Wharton Magazine, 1975
* "Productivity, Inflation, and Education," Evaluating Governmental Performance: Changes and Challenges for the GAO, Government Printing Office, July, 1976, pp. 246-260
* "Incomes Policies as a Supplementary Tool, Answers to Inflation and Recession,” Economic Policies for a Modern Society, The Conference Board, April, 1975, pp. 91-95
* "To Be or Not to B-School," Today's Manager, October,1975, pp. 8-12
* "The Productivity Slide," Dun's Review, September, 1976, pp. 11-12
* "The Business of Business Schools: The Attack," The Wharton Magazine, Spring, 1977, pp. 46-61
* "An Ex-Price Controller's View of Controls," The New York Times, December 7, 1975.
* "Will the U.S. Keep Its Productivity Lead?", Assembly Engineering, May, 1977, pp. 18-22
* "Productivity: A Call for Action," National Journal, March 25, 1978, pp. 492-493
* "Pushing Productivity," Dun's Review, July, 1978, pp. 37-39
* "Three R's of Productivity," Time, September 25, 1978, p. 69
* "Productivity: Whipping Inflation Through Increased Output," Association Management, October, 1978, pp. 109-114
* "Making 'Sense and Cents'," Enterprise, November, 1979
* "Productivity--Not Controls," The Conference Board Information Bulletin, May, 1979
* "The 3R's of Productivity Improvement: Responsibility, Recognition, Reward," Training, July, 1979
* "Productivity's Impact on our Economic Future," The Personnel Administrator, December, 1979, pp. 21-35
* "Mr. Productivity," The New York Times, February 17, 1980.
* "The Apostle of Productivity," The Mainliner, May, 1980
* "Dr. C. Jackson Grayson on Productivity Improvement," Training and Development Journal, September, 1980
* "Training's Crucial Role in the Coming Battle to Restore Productivity," Training, October, 1980
* "The Need for a 'National Productivity Program'," Management World, January, 1981
* "The Japanese Productivity Challenge: A Modern Rashomon," American Productivity and Quality Center Brief, No. 1, April, 1981
* "A 'Hands-on' Approach to Manage Productivity," Chief Executive, Spring, 1981
* "A View From the Outside of the Inside of Upside Down," Tax-Based Incomes Policies, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, 1982
* "Staying Alive," Training and Development Journal, January, 1984
* "Productivity On-Line," Across The Board, The Conference Board, January, 1984
* "Networking By Computer," The Futurist, June 1984
* "Let's Tie Compensation to Performance," Business Month, November, 1987
* "Productivity for All Seasons: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," Shirley Kallek Memorial Lecture, Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Research Conference, Bureau of the Census, March 20-23, 1988
* "Japan Has Its Problems, Too," with Carla O'Dell, Houston Chronicle, May 1, 1988
* "You Can't Compete in Tomorrow's Market With Yesterday's Compensation," with Carla O'Dell, CFO magazine, May, 1988
* "The Relationship of Quality and Productivity," American Productivity and Quality Center Brief, No. 65, June, 1988
* "Much More Than Just Imitators," with Carla O'Dell, The Journal of Commerce, June 2, 1988
* "Flex Your Pay Muscle," with Carla O'Dell, Across The Board, The Conference Board, August, 1988
* "Management Wisdom From Japan," Growth Strategies, American Management Association, June, 1988
* “Taking on the World,” The TQM Magazine, London, June, 1992
* "Experience Talks--Shun Price Controls," The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 1993
* “Controls--By Any Other Names--Are Still Controls,” Health Systems Review, Sep/Oct, 1993
* “Outcomes, Benchmarking, and TQM,” Health Systems Review, Nov/Dec, 1993


* Decisions Under Uncertainty: Drilling Decisions by Oil and Gas Operators, Division of Research, Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Boston, 1960

* Confessions of a Price Controller, Dow Jones-Irwin, Homewood, Illinois, 1974

* American Business: A Two-Minute Warning, co-authored with Carla O'Dell, The Free Press, New York, 1988

* If Only We Knew What We Know, co-authored with Carla O'Dell, The Free Press, New York, 1998


* 2000 Named by Teleos: [http://teleos.com/] , an English research firm, as one of the 10 “Most Admired Knowledge Leaders” in North America.
* 2003 The [American Society for Quality] (ASQ) awards Grayson its Distinguished Service Medal. The medal honors the lifetime contribution of any person who has been recognized as a long-term enabler, catalyst or prime mover in the quality movement.
* 2006 Southern Methodist University names an endowed MBA scholarship in entrepreneurial studies and an annual faculty innovation award in Grayson's honor.

ee also

Incomes Policy



Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Knowledge Management

External links

# APQC [http://www.apqc.org]
# Open Standards Benchmarking Collaborative [http://www.apqc.org/osbc]
# Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (NIST) [http://www.quality.nist.gov]

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