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DATA SANITY: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results

What they’re saying about Davis…

"Thank you Davis…Absolutely spot on well done and good for you to continue to show the courage to tell it like it is."

"Was at your excellent presentation last week and I am a convert! I returned home and have already converted my falls data into something much more meaningful. Was able to plot where 3 changes occurred with resulting results. Found common cause variation all over the place and I am now ready for the next Board Meeting."

"Thank you so much for the interesting lecture yesterday. You are an excellent speaker and have an amazing ability to captivate your audience totally throwing away (at least in my mind) the reputation of statistics as being excruciatingly boring. I thoroughly enjoyed your lecture."

Right Brain Questions

What is it about any change that most people find so threatening?

Humans being humans, logic is not persuasive.  People will naturally resist organizational changes, even beneficial ones. This puzzling reaction is natural, predictable, and must be planned for.

It’s not the change itself. The culprit is the “uninvited guest” of transition — the social consequence of the change. It disrupts the inertia of the standard ways of doing things that seems to reinforce a mysterious human need for predictability and reinforcement of existing emotional boundaries. It’s messy, but it can be managed.

The change agent’s mantra: “Those darn humans… God bless ’em!”

What exactly is “emotional intelligence?”

Emotional Intelligence (EI) appeared 15 years ago.  It can be easily summarized as “self-awareness…self-management…social awareness…social management” through the following five skills:

Emotional Intelligence in a Nutshell
Trait Description
Self-awareness Observing oneself
– Recognizing a feeling as it happens.
Managing emotions Handling feelings so that they are appropriate:
– Realizing what is behind a feeling,
– Handling fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.
Motivating oneself Channeling emotions in the service of a goal:
– Emotional self control,
– Delaying gratification and stifling impulses.
Empathy Sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns:
– Taking their perspective,
– Appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.
Handling relationships Managing emotions in others:
– Social competence and social skills.


The emotions created by natural resistance need to be channeled toward respecting the needs of the business and improving it. People will have to understand and insulate their hot buttons to depersonalize issues.  All excellent organizations will have some form of everyday coaching hardwired into the culture.

What are the deep needs driving individual behaviors, organizational cultures and their interaction?

  • All human behavior is dedicated to meeting four needs: Survival, Love and be loved, Feel important (self-esteem), Variety / autonomy
  • Under stress, a perceived threat – as in an impending change – to one of these needs will drive all of a person’s energy to meet it, resulting in:Addictive (defensive) behavior – Behavior with short-term benefit (getting the need immediately (selfishly) met), yielding long-term destruction (to personal and organizational growth).
  • True leaders will not personalize resistance –Strong reactions are never for the reasons we think.

Personal growth occurs only through a serious challenge and examination of one’s “belief system.”

This also applies to organizational growth — better results — and its culture.

Patterns of behavior expose a belief system, which allows prediction of future behavior… and future results.  New results will require new beliefs.


Why is “victim” behavior so prevalent?

In today’s society, you name it… and somebody’s mad – our societal “process” is perfectly designed to produce victim behavior! There is an increased sense of entitlement accompanied by a perception of loss of personal control. This has resulted in all-too-familiar cultural patterns of whining, avoiding responsibility…and blame/finger-pointing — huge, needless energy drains in society, government, organizational cultures, schools, and families.

How does leadership create a culture of personal accountability where, rather than wasting time “accounting for” lack of results, a person owns the fact and asks himself or herself, “What else is it going to take?” and leadership responds, “That’s great.  What barriers can I remove for you?”

Are there some simple beliefs that can help accelerate an organizational transition? What additional beliefs are needed by the “change agents?”

“Given”: People HATE being changed!

However, immediately establish three new cultural “rules” – If nothing else, through your behavior and “teachable” moments:

  1. ZERO tolerance for blame! “Blame the process, not the person!”
  2. “No whining allowed… to go (gently) unchallenged,”
  3. a) “The only person you can change and speak for is yourself.”b) And as you speak for yourself, see (1) & (2) above.

* Two more rules for “change agents”:

  1. “I must learn to swallow my ego ten times before breakfast and another dozen more times before lunch,” [Comes up in many guises]
  2. “All of my efforts must be perceived as tied to organizational results.”

Tough personal mind shift for quality professionals:   “Do I want to be effective… or just right?”

Bottom line: “How do I change so as to get other people to want to volunteer to change?

Are there some simple principles to understand the rich complexity of human emotion?

  1. Emotional needs will express themselves one way or another
    • Your behavior is a telegraph:  There are no secrets!
  2. Anger is an expression of need
  3. Immediate reactions to problems often disguise deeper feelings.
  4. We must clarify individual needs before problem solving with others.
    • Anger means a perceived threat to something probably unrelated.  This perception must be changed – further logic will not be persuasive at this point.
  5. Our feelings and needs are neither wrong nor bad.
  6. Emotions are the gateway to vitality and feeling alive.
  7. We can address emotional issues and still save face.
    • Our feelings just “are” and part of the price we pay for being human–and judgment or self-condemnation won’t help the situation.
  8. We need to express positive feelings and communicate negative ones.
    • Celebrate small victories
    • Address behavior that compromises results and success without attacking the human being.


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