As Barack Obama once famously said in a meeting, quoting Senator Moynihan:
"You're entitled to your own opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts" -
For instance, consider these two statements:
"We have poor Quality and the Service is not good enough for our Customers. The Supply Chain Team needs to sort this out before we lose Sales"
"Our Quality performance is at an average level of 7800 PPM (Parts per Million) over the last 3 months, which is above our target of 5000ppm and is showing a negative trend. The CSL (Customer Service Level) has been running at between 92-96% in the same period, below our Target of 98.5%. We know from history that this level of performance will not be tolerated by our Customers and could result in a loss of Sales due to dissatisfaction. We need to work with our Colleagues in the Supply Chain Team to establish the Root Causes of this under-performance and implement sustainable Countermeasures."
In the case of the first statement, there is certainly the inference of blame directed toward this person's Supply Chain colleagues and the information provided about the Quality and Service Level appears opinion based. Contrast that with the second statement, which clearly identifies the problem, with data to establish why the Quality and Service levels are below their respective Targets and what the consequences may be, based upon historical activity. The reference to the Person's colleagues in Supply Chain is supportive and
collaborative and, whilst it is clear that they will challenge the performance and will expect a resolution, it will be done on the basis of data-based facts.
If we can foster an environment that is hostile to opinion based problem statements and instead demands data-based facts, we can breath Oxygen into the Culture of the Organisation, as Problem Solving can then be focussed upon those problems that really exist and are significant. This is opposed to either non-problems or problems which are actually insignificant in the scale of the total of problems facing the Organisation.
"If we can foster an environment that is hostile to opinion based problem statements and instead demands data-based facts, we can breath Oxygen into the Culture of the Organisation"
This shift is not easy but, if we are to be true Leaders, successfully guiding our Organisations toward Operational Excellence and a Culture that provides the freedom to focus on the Customer and the space to Innovate, the Universal Language of Data is one which we must become fluent in.
There are many Lean Leadership Books out there but I have reviewed those that I think are of most use on my Book Recommendations page.
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