5 Simple Ideas You Can Use Today for Infusing a Data-Driven Culture into Your Organization

5 Simple Ideas You Can Use Today for Infusing a Data-Driven Culture into Your Organization

five ways to infuse data header

In every organization, there are those individuals that appreciate the value of data, and those that are more hesitant to put their trust in numbers. Whether they are ambivalent, had a bad experience or do not have the knowledge, it can be challenging to bring individuals who are reluctant to data into your improvement culture.

While improvement literature is saturated with learning materials on the benefits of data, anyone that has attempted to change the minds of adults knows that these resources will not cut it. So, what are some simple ways that you can help change the narrative around the power of data today?

1. Ask Questions

Whenever possible, ask a question that challenges their preconceived notions about data. The benefit of this approach is that it is respectful and allows your learner to create internal mental conflict. Inherently, this discord will help set the stage for the likelihood of the individual seeking out more information to resolve the discord, ultimately, opening the opportunity for the reshaping of old, or the creation of new perspectives. A few questions you may consider:

  • What is this metric trying to tell us?
  • What behavior is this metric promoting?
  • How do you know we are not doing that?
  • What evidence do you have so far?
  • What other factors are contributing to this?

2. Highlight Everyday Data Use

Another compelling technique is to highlight how common data is in our everyday lives. Simple stories, narratives or analogies are great strategies to help learners remember how important data is across many aspects of our life in a relatable, non-confrontation way. I think many of us could relate to the level of success we would have if we did not use a scale as part of a weight loss journey, a GPS on a road trip or iPhone’s Screen Time metrics as part of a less distracted lifestyle.

3. Double Down on the “So What?” Factor

Adults are purpose-driven and one of the most basic principles of changing an adult mindset is to assure learners feel the direct connection between data and how it relates to what they do. In health care we too commonly see that only a handful of executives in the organization see performance data. Yet, none of those executives played a direct role in creating those outcomes – only those doing the work did. Providing data that is relevant to their role is crucial at making this connection.

4. Address the Elephant in the Room

Who has not had a bad experience with data? I am talking about who reading this article hasn’t had a leader that made a knee-jerk response based on a single data point or put metrics in place that drove the wrong behaviors?

You need to understand your team, what makes them uncomfortable and immediately dispel any fears that they associate with data. This may be continuing to emphasize that that their jobs are safe or that change will not happen without their input and the consensus of the team.

5. Connect to Purpose

One of the most fascinating aspects of data is that it makes it possible for everyone to understand more fully – it gets everyone on the same page, converts assumptions to reality, confirms when you have a problem and helps you locate root cause for a better tomorrow. Without data, it is difficult, if not impossible, to truly know the work and the experience of the consumer.

I once heard that as a leader you should take any of your team members’ misconceptions as a direct indicator of your communication effectiveness. Taking this into account, it falls on the leader to communicate the goals and benefits of the data explicitly and relentlessly, as well as the roles your team members are expected to play to live out your organization’s mission through data.

It is my hope that someday everyone in health care will see how data supports the reason we all came into health care – to improve people’s lives. Data should be used with intention, and when it is, can make each one of us better, in turn making our system and our communities better. Powerful.

five Ideas for Infusing a Data-Driven Culture

Renee Towne

About the Author
Renee Towne
Director of Quality Programs at KPI Ninja, Inc.
Renee provides operational leadership of quality initiatives at KPI Ninja. Towne has a background in occupational therapy, education and experience in operational excellence across a variety of healthcare domains. Based on prior experience as a clinician that drove outcomes patient by patient, she is leaving a larger footprint by improving health care more comprehensively, population by population.


About KPI Ninja
KPI Ninja is a data analytics company that helps healthcare organizations accelerate their quality, safety, and financial goals with a unique combination of software and service. We are differentiated by our signature mix of technology, performance management consulting and healthcare expertise. We don’t merely offer software solutions but work shoulder to shoulder with clients to help them draw on the power of analytics and continuous improvement methodologies to become more efficient. In harmony with our data-centered ethos, we truly believe that our success is strongly co-related with yours.

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