Apt Leadership

Apt Leadership is currently a registered company in South Carolina USA. The original company “Decision Partners Limited” was a Wisconsin-registered company that specialized in Performance Improvement tools during the 1990’s, such as seen in “Six Sigma” and “Lean Manufacturing” programs. Soon thereafter we realized that if Performance Improvement was the goal of an organization, then without Leadership Excellence, performance improvement can not be sustained, because underlying all performance is the leadership philosophy of the organization.

It was then during early 2000 that the company Apt Leadership came into existence to incorporate training and consulting in Leadership theory and philosophy. The name Apt Leadership is an acronym adopted from “Appropriate Leadership”. It was registered in Wisconsin, then in the State of Washington after which the registration was moved to South Carolina. Apt Leadership operates internationally with an office in South Africa.

The aim of Apt Leadership is to change and improve performance of individuals, private and government organizations, through understanding and application of a leadership philosophy that respects people, and provides theory and methods undergirded by science, to improve business systems and process performance. We accomplish our aim by providing information and philosophy through consulting, training and newsletters.

Apt Leadership operates to an uncompromising set of standards in terms of ethics, truthfulness and values. We respect the privacy of our clients and do not merely suggest practices and solutions that they request, but what we believe they need, in order to achieve permanent improvement in their performance, commensurate with financial success.

Heero Hacquebord

Heero Hacquebord

Heero Hacquebord has extensive experience as a successful manager, coach and consultant in helping organizations improve their performance. While practicing as a successful consultant in process improvement in South Africa during the eighties, Dr W. Edwards Deming sponsored his immigration to the Unites States, where he was mentored by, and helped Dr. Deming in his public seminars. When arriving in the USA he worked for Joiner Associates as a senior consultant in Madison Wisconsin, and soon thereafter started his own consulting practice as Decision Partners Limited and then as Apt Leadersip, LLC. He developed scores of clients in the US and internationally where he continues to focus on performance improvement, leadership development, and leadership excellence. Recently he moved back to South Africa and operates internationally from his office on the beautiful “Garden Route Coast”.

Heero is an expert in leadership philosophy and application, business systems development, process improvement, and data-based decision-making. Due to his international exposure, he brings a world-vision to his consulting and teaching. His work experience in various organizations, and interaction with many great people, including mentorship from the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the man who re-engineered Japan, has taken him to a level of teaching and consulting ability, that clearly sets him apart in the application of leadership and business process management.


Heero Hacquebord worked in industry for many years, and has held positions as Vice President and Chief Quality Officer. He had taught and applied theories for improvement of product and process, and has invented process improvement methods and software for data analysis, systems and process implementation. He is a consultant and mentor to organizations in health care, government, manufacturing, and service industry. Heero pioneered the Statistical Thinking Courses in the USA as well as the concepts of value-added and non-value added processes, which have been popularized in lean manufacturing and 6 Sigma.

Education and Publications

Heero Hacquebord

Heero holds degrees in Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, and has an MBA with specialization in general management. He is a senior member and certified quality engineer of the American Society for Quality and a recipient of the ASQ’s 1989 Brumbaugh Award. He co-authored the article “Beginning the Quality Transformation,” with Peter Scholtes. Parts I and II of this article were published in the International Academy of Quality book, The Best of Quality, Vol. 7. Heero designed and engineered the unique ProAptive™ software, which analyzes business data, and provides guidance for correct action and decision making, creating improved financial results; as well as the AptTool software which has been incorporated as a business operating system and as a tool for designing and implementing business systems. Heero worked with, and was a student of the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming for 13 years.

Dr William Edwards Deming

Dr W. Edwards Deming

William Edwards Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.

Born: October 14, 1900, Sioux City, Iowa, United States
Died: December 20, 1993, Washington, D.C., United States

W. Edwards Deming earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 1921, went on to receive a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Colorado in 1925, and earned a Doctorate in Physics from Yale University in 1928. He worked throughout his college days; some teaching, but mostly back-breaking labour. During the summers of 1925 and 1926, he worked for the Western Electric Co. Hawthorne Plant in Chicago, IL. It was there that Deming learned of Walter A. Shewhart and his efforts to standardize the production of telephones. The two met in 1927 and spent much time together over the following decades.
He received the following awards: Shewhart Medal, Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan for the work he did in Japan, National Medal of Technology and Innovation, Wilks Memorial Award

Three of his many quotes were:

  • It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
  • It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.
  • If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.

He is best known for the work he did in Japan after WWII. He was part of General Douglas MacArthur’s team that went to Japan shortly after WWII to help the Japanese resurrect their economy and infrastructure. His role was as an enumerative statistician to help establish, through statistical sampling methods, the required inputs to resurrect Japan. His Japanese contacts asked whether his knowledge of statistics could help them recover their manufacturing industry, which had been flattened by the war.

His personal account during a conversation was:

“I had 70 Engineers in the class in the middle of summer. It was unbearably hot, no air conditioning, no fans. I realized after day one that we were making the same mistake we made in America… teaching engineers, whereas the change can only come from management. I told my sponsors and they immediately arranged a three-week seminar for the top leadership of Japan. Japan was in trouble, you need just look out of the window. A week later I had the top leaders of Japan and the Government in my seminar and taught them statistical applications in Industry; how to co-operate with your suppliers and how to organise and lead your organisation as a system.
Their willingness and learning ability was very impressive and all they wanted to do was to regain their industry. I stated that they would have the rest of the world screaming for protection within 20 years if they did as I said. I was the only one that believed that. They beat me by 10 years.”

Two of Dr. Deming’s students at that seminar were Mr. Toyoda… original leader of Toyota Motor Corporation, and Mr. Honda… original leader of Honda Motor Company. Included at that seminar were also the presidents of Nippon Steel, Furukawa Cable Company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Union of Scientists and Engineers. Two weeks after that seminar these leaders and presidents were already making personal improvements in their organisations.

For more information, please go to Wikipedia.