World Class Rhetoric

The other day I was sent a report.   It went a little like this…

(The names have been changed to protect the guilty)

World Class Performance

It has been implied that our performance could be improved.  All available data suggests that this cannot be the case

Market Context

  • We have the highest satisfaction rates in the market
  • We have a market leading investigation rate
  • The market estimates that only 20% of issues are justified
  • The analysis would infer that we should investigate more than double that volume
  • There simply cannot be that much customer dissatisfaction

Our Strategic Context

  • Historical efforts to use manual intervention resulted in unsustainable performance
  • Our customer proposition excludes us from this issue
  • Since 2006 our technology led strategy has doubled our performance
  • Sustainability achieved by  technology – a proven concept
  • 2014 strategy is to improve technology further leading to intelligence led triaging

Other Considerations

  • We are seeing falling volumes
  • The variables analysis is contentious
  • There is no sense of margin for error

The report was mistitled.

Instead of being called “World Class Performance” it should have been called “No, No, No, Nothing to See Here”

It went on and on and on, bullet point after bullet point each of them creating a sense of security and justifiable outrage that somebody should even consider that there was an opportunity to improve.

Now for a few bullets of my own:

The report was full of

But despite its first line “all the available data suggests” it didn’t contain a single observable fact.  Which is unfortunate, because sometimes the facts speak for themselves.

Rhetoric doesn’t improve performance

That comes from hard work, focus, persistence, empathy — and in this case a little data.

In God we trust, all others must bring data ~ W. Edwards Deming

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Image by Nick in exsilio


  1. As Sheen from Jimmy Neutron says: Never question the data!

    Wow. Unbelievable. Is this a culture (or leadership) problem? CYA rather than take ownership, fix, and move on?

    Annette :-)

  2. James Lawther says:

    Welcome to my world Annette

  3. Denial is not, as it turns out, a river in Egypt…

  4. Hi James,
    That’s truly outstanding! What a crock of sh^&!

    However, when it comes to complete supplication to the lord of data I would quote Disraeli when he said: ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’.


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