Punk Rock Change Leadership volume 2 – Data Driven Leadership

Mark Johnson Published at

Do you know the connection between W. Edwards Deming and modern-day punk? If not read on!

In my previous blog I talked about emotionally connecting with change, I continue that theme with some more music inspired change, this time related to data driven leadership.


“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”     ― W. Edwards Deming

I remember one of my first production meetings, I turned up 5 minutes early while the rest of the attendees drifted in over the next 10 minutes, some not turning up at all!  The manager had an agenda but was easily side-tracked so there was no real value in the discussion.  The key point was that the production target had been missed by some margin the day before.  On raising the issue, the production manager was hit by a barrage of excuses……

  • “Didn’t have enough raw materials”
  • “staff called in sick”
  • “it was too hot that’s why it broke down”

After 10 more minutes the meeting ended, everyone went back to work and the production manager was left with a lot of “I think it’s…”.  At that point, his opinion was that it was down to resourcing so the only action he took was to speak to his manager about getting more staff in. Unsurprisingly, nothing changed! Thinking about this put me in mind of Stacey Dee, who sang  “Opinions without action never gets anything done” and the it clicked, punk rock is all about change leadership! Unfortunately, the opinion element of that event still happens today in daily meetings across many different industries such as manufacturing, logistics and even call centres.  We may have got better at meeting structure but are we truly using data to find root causes and are we holding ourselves accountable for progress?

A key part of deploying Stable Ops is the embedding of the IDEX methodology (Integrated Daily EXecution).  The value of IDEX is that it is fundamentally rooted in data and leadership behaviours with a strong link to Data Driven Leadership.  Visualisation of data brings clarity on performance, especially if it is a real time metric that truly represents the process.  Ensuring you have a good measurement system with clear definitions of what good and bad performance looks like you can have better daily production meetings.  The leadership is about behaviours, setting the expectations and accountabilities so that the team turn up on time, that issues are supported with data and all actions are completed in the timeframe agreed.  Without data all you have is opinions. Which in my working experience is largely true and is what Deming and Stacey both said!

So, that is my musical inspiration for this change leadership blog, the lyrics are from the song Womanarchist by Bad Cop/Bad .

At R&G Global Consultants, we use data driven leadership and change acceleration to inspire your team to harness the power of change to excel in your market.  To find out more about DDL, Stable Ops and IDEX then please contact us.

Mark Johnson is a Business Process Consultant at R&G Global Consultants, located in United Kingdom.


Discuss this topic ?