Depths of ‘Transformation’

butterflyI’ve been meaning to write this post for 2 years! It feels good to finally ‘get it out of my head’ and onto the page.

It’s about that lovely ‘Transformation’ word.

Before I go on, I’ll repeat a definition from an earlier post:

Transformation: In an organisational context, a process of profound and radical change that orients an organisation in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness….transformation implies a basic change of character and little or no resemblance with the past configuration or structure.” (

To repeat the key phrase: An entirely different level of effectiveness! …and, just in case you missed it, the word is effectiveness, not efficiency.

I’m going to outline 3 levels of (supposed) transformation and I’ll do this by borrowing the bones of an idea from Mike Rother’s excellent ‘Toyota Kata’ book and extend it with a large dose of my own ‘poetic license’.

Level 1 Transformation: ‘On the surface’

iceburgSo, picture the scene: It’s the late 1970s. Your organisation desperately wants to improve and, on looking around for someone achieving brilliant results, you spot the awesome Toyota (or such like1).

You go on a Toyota factory visit. You are amazed at what you see and excitedly ask them how they do it.

You easily observe (‘on the surface’) lots of obvious methods and tools…and so you grab evidence of how these are carried out – e.g. some template forms, and the instructions that go with them. You also take lots of pictures of their (visual management) walls to show all this working in situ.

You run back home, hand out the methods and tools and mandate that, from now on, this is what we are doing.

toolboxYou helpfully provide training and (so called) ‘coaching’…and you put in place ‘governance’ to ensure it’s working. You roll it all up together and you give it a funky title…like your Quality Toolbox. Nice.

So what happens?

Well, yep, those tools and methods sure are ‘shiny new’ and easily applied. There’s an initial buzz, probably because of senior management focus…and pressure to prove the comedy ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) calculation that had to be set out in the short-term thinking ‘will you pay for our factory trip?’ business case.

But the initial effects fall away. Anything achieved was a one-off, or of limited and low level benefit. The changes aren’t sustained – with a slide back to the old state. People start to misuse the tools and methods, and do much damage rather than good. There is a brief and ugly fight with the ‘methods and tools’ compliance police but disillusionment sets in and the early good work becomes discredited and abandoned (just like the last silver bullet…and the one before that…)

Timely reminder: “A fool with a tool is still a fool” (Grady Booch)

Note: This ‘on the surface’ transformation attempt has been likened to organisations going over to Japan in the late 1970s and early 1980s and coming home to fanatically ‘do Total Quality Management’ (TQM)…and then quietly dropping it a few years later. Sure, some organisations sustained it but most didn’t.

Level 2 Transformation: ‘Under the skin’

skinSo it’s now the 1990s. The methods and tools that came out of the initial Toyota factory visit weren’t sustained but the pressure is still on (and mounting) to transform your organisation…and your management can’t help noticing that Toyota are still doing amazing!

“Perhaps we didn’t look hard enough or close enough or long enough…perhaps we should go back and have a look ‘under the skin’.”

…and so you go for another factory visit (once you’ve been given permission following another well written story business case 🙂 ).

This time you take real care – studying ‘at the gemba’ for weeks, asking questions, watching activities, understanding the nature of changes being made to the system before you.

“Eureka! There’s something underneath those methods and tools! We can see that there’s an underlying logic that we missed last time round…oooh, we could codify them into a set of principles!

And here’s basically what you arrive at:

0. Everything should belong to, or support, a value stream (a horizontal flow from customer need, through to its satisfaction)

…and for each value stream we should:

1. Specify value, where this is through the eyes of the customer; then

2. Identify all the actions performed within the value stream, and expose and remove the obvious waste; then

3. Create flow by understanding and removing the barriers; then

4. Establish pull by producing only what is needed, when requested; and finally

5. The ‘golden nugget’: we should continually strive for perfection because this is a never-ending journey

Wow, that was profound – your factory tour team now need to give it a name!

And so, after a fun focus group, a young member of your team called John2 shouts out “It needs less of everything to create a given amount of value, so let’s call it ‘Lean’.”

Whoop, whoop, he’s only gone and cracked it!

You run back home to tell everyone about the wonders of ‘Lean’. You hand out books, provide training courses, coaching and mentoring and you slot all those wonderful tools and methods nicely into their place…neat…this is going to be great!

So what happens?

Well, everyone absolutely LOVES the principles. They make sooo much sense. They particularly liked playing with Lego in the training sessions to demo flow, pull, kanban and ‘stop the line’ thinking.

But after a while (and some short-term gains) you realise that there’s a huge tension building. No one can make those darn principles work because they continually clash with existing management practises.

Your senior management employ a gaggle of so-called Lean coaches to try to change the people at the bottom whilst they carry on at the top as before!

Your ‘Lean Office’ has become an island of coaches doing great work with the people but unable to turn the tide. Coaching conversations end with responses like:

“Yes, I can see that would be the right thing to do for the value stream…but that’s not what my objectives, performance rating and bonus is based on…or what my manager above me would support…so I’ll stick to soul-destroying fighting within my silo. Sorry about that 😦

This culminates in huge frustration; a revolving door of broken coaches; and many a good employee finding a better organisation to work for. If you ran an employee survey at this point, the results would make for ugly reading – you’ve created a complete divide between worker reality and management ‘cloud cuckoo land’.

Oh, and that lean word? Well it became capitalised! LEAN…as if it were a thing. You’ve all forgotten that it was just a label thought up by John in a focus group merely to describe what the factory visit team saw.

Pause for reflection: Taiichi Ohno is considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System (TPS) but he didn’t want it to be written down3 (codified) because he wanted it to remain dynamic.

And as for that name:“Ohno did not call his innovation ‘lean’ – he didn’t want to call it anything. He could, perhaps foresee the folly of a label.” (John Seddon)

Caution: …and if you did this ‘under the skin’ (supposed) transformation within a service organisation, you may find (if you properly stood back to look at it!) that you’d totally f@ck$d it up!

Credit: The ‘Level 2’ principles jotted down above are the core of the 1996 book ‘Lean Thinking’ by Womack and Jones….which they wrote following their research in Japan. They explicitly set out 5 principles, with a foundational one implied (hence why I’ve labelled it as ‘principle nought’).

Level 3 Transformation: ‘In the DNA’

dna…and so to the 2000s. The pressure to change your organisation is relentless – the corporate world is ‘suffering’ from seemingly constant technological disruption…but Toyota continues to be somehow different.

You pluck up the courage and ask for a sabbatical for 6 months – you want to find the meaning of life…well, perhaps not that deep…but you sure as hell want to know what Toyota have got that you don’t…and to work this out, you are going to have to go in deep – to their DNA.

Toyota are happy to see you again. But, rather than repeating what you did on the last two trips, you come straight out with it:

“Okay, you’ve shown me your tools and methods…you’ve let me uncover your principles…and I know that these aren’t the answer! What are you hiding from me?! Come on, I get it, it’s a competitive world out there but PLEASE let me in on your secret.”

The Toyota managers are perplexed. They don’t know what else they can do. They are adamant that they aren’t hiding anything from you.

…and so, rather than go straight back home empty handed, you ask if you can work with Toyota to experience what day-to-day work is actually like. They humbly agree to your request.

And six months later your mind has been totally blown!

You really get it….no, REALLY GET IT!

You couldn’t see the wood for the trees but now it’s as obvious as can be.

It’s all about the environment created by management’s actions, which come from their beliefs and behaviours about human beings: about society, about customers…and, most profoundly, about employees.

This is invisible on a factory visit! But it’s still there. It’s simply ‘in the DNA’.

Sure, you could provide a list of attributes as to what this looks like…but management can’t just do them, they have to believe in them – in fact, ‘be’ them!

Further, there’s nothing to be ‘implemented’ because it can’t be!

Everything flows from management’s beliefs and behaviours: It’s from these that Toyota creates new principles, methods and tools all the time…and throws out old ones that are no longer appropriate. Their systems thinking and human thinking is solid and profound, whilst their method is dynamic and agile.

…and the realisation sinks in: No wonder Toyota are happy to open their door to anyone. The thing that makes them great can’t be copied. It has to be lived and breathed…and nurtured from the shop floor all the way up. Oh sh1t!

…and so to your new headache: you totally ‘get it’ but how on earth do you change your organisational system – now that is THE nut to crack. That would be transformational!

Reflection time:

So ‘On the surface’, ‘Under the skin’ or ‘In the DNA’: What level of transformation are you playing at?

…if you are at level 1 or 2 then it’s not actually transformation.

…if you are truly at level 3, then here’s the final mind blowing bit – it is self-sustaining.

To close: I have been asking myself a HUGE question for a fair while now: Can management’s beliefs and behaviours change within a large floating (i.e. short-term thinking) shareholder owned organisation.  I’m nearly there with writing down my thoughts. Watch this space…


1. Just Toyota? I use Toyota in this story since everyone knows who they are…and visits to their factories is precisely what happened regularly over the last several decades. But it isn’t just Toyota.

Your own ‘Toyota’ factory visit could be to another great organisation…and it needn’t be a factory making products – it could be a service organisation. Handelsbanken would be a great financial services example.

Though beware, there aren’t that many ‘true Toyotas’ out there. And perhaps none that have sustained it for so long.

2. ‘John’: He’s even called John in the true story – John Krafcik, a young researcher on Womack’s MIT research team…and those were his words back in 1987 (as recalled by Womack) to give birth to the Lean label.

3. Writing it down: Ohno finally relented when he retired in 1978 and wrote a book on TPS.

4. Clarification: I think a great deal of Lean Thinking, but not a lot about ‘LEAN’ – the implementation movement. I respect Womack and Jones, and their writings…but I note that my favourite Womack book is ‘Gemba Walks’ written about a decade after ‘Lean Thinking’ in which he humbly reflects that it was about far more than the tools and the principles. It was really about the management system (or, in my words, the DNA).

People don’t change their minds!

hugh-title-pictureSo a manager stands on a stage and lectures a group of people (or is that ‘thrusts hero opinions upon them’?) about how they should behave at work, and what ‘check box’ traits they should be looking for in others.

Within the bluster is a seemingly bizarre sentence stated as fact: That people don’t actually change their minds.

Is this true? How about some excellent examples of where you might agree:

  • a ‘Boris Johnson-loving’ Brexiteer at loggerheads with a ‘Yes to Europe’ standard bearer;
  • a Trump ‘nut’ arguing with a Hillary ‘supporter’;
  • a French secularist quarrelling with a Burkini wearer;
  • [name any other issue around the world and find people from opposing camps]

…what do you expect will be achieved by holding a ‘debate’ between these two sides?

Well, the best case scenario is that they retain their current views…but the worst case is that their positions will become firmer, their views more militant, and their mindsets become less respectful of (those that have now firmly become) their ‘opponents’1.

(Why) don’t we change our minds?

I recall reading an article that said a similar ‘people don’t change their mind’ thing…so I searched around the inter-web to see what I could find. Now, there are plenty of articles out there with headlines like ‘Why people don’t change their minds – even when faced with the facts’ so, yep, I was getting warm in my search…

…and after digging, reading, and a bit more digging, I find that there are two parts to it:

  1. Why do we form the opinions that we do?; and then
  2. Why do we cling on to them so tenaciously?

Now, many brilliant books have been written on the 1st part, covering all the weird and wonderful irrationality going on inside the human brain so I won’t attempt to summarise them here. If you want to ‘see for yourself’ then pick one of these up2 and have a read – they can be very entertaining!

But let’s go to the 2nd point: why do we cling on to these views once formed?

Here are a couple of explanations given:

Self-affirmation theory: individuals are driven to protect their self-integrity.

Hence, once you’ve decided something (especially if you make this public) then you are into ‘protection’ territory.

Cultural-cognition theory: the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact…to values that define their cultural identities (i.e. with the view of the groups with which we most strongly identify).

The key to this is the presence of doubt in respect of facts. If there’s no real dispute about something (e.g. that it’s currently raining outside) then there’s no challenge of values.

The doubt point is important, and was called out within research conclusions from this field of study3:

“…doubt turns people into stronger advocates…this effect is stronger if someone’s identity is threatened, if the belief is important to them, and if they think that others will listen. It all fits with a pattern of behaviour where people evangelise to strengthen their own faltering beliefs.”

…and the following is worth reading a couple of times and pondering:

 “The present research also offers a warning to anyone on the receiving end of an advocacy attempt. Although it is natural to assume that a persistent and enthusiastic advocate of a belief is brimming with confidence, the advocacy might in fact signal that the individual is boiling over with doubt.”

So back to that lecture:

What struck me about being told the ‘we don’t change our minds’ statement is that it questioned the whole basis of the lecture being dealt out to the group of people listening. If people don’t change their minds then why lecture them on your opinions? (i.e. attempting power/coercive or rational change)…you’ve just implied that there’s no point!

Now, I’d like to suggest an obvious flaw in the presenter’s logic about change.

Yes, people may be devoted to their (currently held) beliefs but they (including you and I) demonstrably do sometimes change their minds…and perhaps it is worth considering the massively important question: What was it that got them to change their minds?

Enter that lovely idea of normative change – true change arising through experiential learning.

I’ll describe a rather nice example:

I was watching a TV programme recently presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (River Cottage chef).

Hugh is a favourite eco-warrior of mine and his programme was all about the amount of waste within our daily lives…and a call to action to do something about it.

hugh-binsHugh picked an ‘average’ street in a Manchester suburb and joined the bin (garbage) men and their truck, on the weekly rubbish collection. He then ‘went through their bins’ back at the waste processing plant, gathering together what he found – mounds of discarded clothes, wasted food, unwanted electrical goods….and so on.

Now, Hugh looked into lots of different waste angles during his programme…but I want to focus on one of these, which makes the relevant point for this post:

Of particular note was the amount of metal, plastic and glass that had been thrown into the general rubbish bin – i.e. unsorted and therefore due for landfill or incineration – even though everyone in the street had been provided with recycling bins and instructions on what should and shouldn’t be put in them.

Why weren’t people separating their recyclable waste from the rest?

recyclingA great question!

So, where would be a good place to investigate?

Well, with someone who utterly refuses to separate their waste because they “don’t believe in it”. Can you see where this is going…

You may be able to influence those already on the cusp of change but if you want to appreciate the real problem then, however uncomfortable this might be, you need to find and work with a ‘true disbeliever’.

Hugh asked around the street and found the perfect person to ask: A young women, perhaps in her 20s, with (what us old farts might think as) an ‘attitude’ on life and what it owes her (I’m sure she’s a great person 🙂 ).

…and so Hugh sat down for a cup of tea and a chat with her about recycling…BUT, the important bit, here’s how he did it:

He observed her environment and then, from asking some non-judgemental questions about her behaviours, he listened to what she believed….and when she said something of particular note, rather than pointing out the counter-logic he simply checked that he had fully understood her belief – perhaps with a further clarifying question and/or repeating it back to her to confirm.

Importantly, he never sneered or scoffed at her responses (which would have been a direct challenge to her self-integrity) – he politely listened and showed a genuine interest in what she thought.

…and she came out with the classics:

  • “Why should I be wasting my time separating stuff, it’s not my problem – it’s ‘theirs’ to sort out”;
  • “There’s no point in separating the plastic, metal and glass from the rest because they all go straight to the landfill anyway”;
  • “Even if they don’t go straight to landfill [i.e. they go somewhere to be processed], nothing actually of worth is done with the materials that they separate out”; and
  • “It’s just a waste of time.”

I hope you can see that, if this is what someone believes, you can tell them till you are ‘blue in the face’ that this isn’t the case, and even tell them why…but where would this get you?

Even more interesting is that if ‘I’ believe the opposite of her recycling statements, how do I know that I’m right? Perhaps she’s right!

…and so we can see that we have arrived at that point – two people holding opposing views. Arguing about it (even by producing supposed ‘facts’) isn’t going to be productive. This is no different to telling a Trump ‘nut’ why they should be a Hilary ‘supporter’.

So, given the ‘people don’t change their mind’ narrative, is this the end? Should Hugh ‘pack up and go home’? Of course not…

Hugh has nicely set up a potential dose of normative learning. He’s found out what she believes, so he now knows what experiences to provide her with…and given his genuine interest in what she has to say, he has established the necessary level of trust to take things further.

He therefore gets her acceptance to go along (with a whole group from her neighbourhood – spot the cultural identity bit!) to see the recycling plant. Importantly, he goes with them to show that he, just as much as they, needs to experience it – he could be wrong too!4

The visit

hugh-waste-visitSo they start at the beginning: a manual sorting line with workers at a conveyor belt removing all the things that the recycling plant can’t (currently) process. Eeeew – no one said it was going to be pretty!

Learning number 1: Seeing what waste the current process can and can’t cope with.

They move on to see an awesome magnet sucking the iron-containing metal off the moving line. Cool!

Next, the line goes over big crushing teeth – gravity bounces the glass over them and smashes it into little bits which fall through the gaps…but the plastic and aluminium glides over the teeth. Glass separated – Awesome!

After that, another magnet gets to work on the aluminium – but this is different than earlier because it repels it off the line. Groovy!

And the impressive finale: the remaining plastic goes over a conveyor belt ‘cliff’ containing sophisticated cameras. These cameras can ‘see’ the types of plastic, which then rapidly trigger lasers to shoot certain plastics in differing directions.  Amazing!

And so to the end, to see big cubes of metal, glass, aluminium and different plastics stacked to the ceiling.

Learning number 2: Our waste can be, and is, separated into types.

Hugh’s group of observers are really impressed. What a ride!

Except for that young women – our disbeliever. Yes, she thought it was really cool technology and all that…but “I still don’t believe anything gets done with it.”

But Hugh’s not done – he takes them to a display where he has gathered together examples of what each recycled material goes on to become, from clothes through to bike frames. She picks out a really cool branded jacket, puts it on…and it fits. She loves it…she wants it…Hugh tells her that it was made from a bundle of recycled plastic…and, yes, she can have it.

Learning’s number 3 and 4: Something is done with the recycled materials…and I like the result, so it’s not a waste of time!

People don’t change – really?

Well, you’ve guessed it, through the power of television Hugh goes back to see our disbeliever in her daily life some time later and she is happily sorting her rubbish into what can and can’t be recycled.

Let’s go back to the top: if Hugh had ‘given her a lecture’, then she wouldn’t have changed. Worse, her efforts at arguing back would have made her more militant – she would have justified herself!


I accept that there is likely to be a small percentage of people who, even after what might appear to be compelling experiential evidence, might not change their mind…but I believe that there are far fewer people like this than we might imagine.

The experiences required to alter our thinking will likely differ for each of us…and this comes back to the need to understand each of our underlying beliefs and behaviours if we are to effect meaningful change.

Further, some people might need several doses and a longer time period for the normative medicine to take effect on them. We each process our thoughts in some quite bizarre ways. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ operation….but that’s because we are all different…which is a great thing.


And, of course, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair)

So, back to the world of work

lecture“But that normative stuff will take far too long! We’ve only got time for a lecture.”

Hahaha…and look where all those lectures are getting you!

Such a response reminds me of a wonderful quote:

“Managers will try anything easy that doesn’t work before they will try anything hard that does” (Womack)

And to those of us trying to move our organisations from ‘command and control’ to a better place, we can ‘tell them’ about the effects of cascaded objectives, targets, ratings, rewards etc…but don’t expect change from this.

We need them to see reality for themselves.

You may find that you can’t just take managers ‘to the gemba’ (the place where the work is done) BUT:

  • you can talk with, and observe, them to find out what they believe; and
  • you can look for learning opportunities as and when situations arise

i.e. bide your time, look for the instance…and then engineer a chance for experiential learning…and keep doing this until they start to question their own beliefs.

A nice quote that fits with this: “Only describe, don’t explain” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

i.e. show them what is actually happening, but let them ponder and explain it for themselves….but provide them with help along the way.

To close:

So, do people change their mind? Of course they do…but not because you told them to!

And therefore, given all of the above, have I changed your mind? Of course not! I’ve merely explained something to you. You would need to go out and discover normative change for yourself….but I might have made you curious to do so 🙂


1. Debates: This is why the media just love the debate format. It does little for humanity, but a lot for ratings.

2. Irrationality: The first such book I read was called ‘Irrationality’, written by the late Stuart Sutherland (Professor of Psychology) – a good read. The last one I read was ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman.

3. Research: David Gal and Derek Rucker, North-western University referred to within this 2010 MINNPOST article

4. Could Hugh have been wrong? I realise that this is ‘Television’ and Hugh will have done his homework first (i.e. been to the recycling plant and seen for himself).

5. Note to councils around the world: If you really want people to recycle, and do so really well, then you need to show them (including me!) what happens….and every time that you make a step-change improvement in the capability of your process, you need to inform us of this and show us.

Are you a lady?

Thatcher“Power is like being a lady….If you have to tell people you are, [then] you aren’t” (Margaret Thatcher)

Now, love her or loath her2, Thatcher’s words make an insightful point.

And this point is the same for the rather overdone ‘leader’ word.

So, to a definition:

Leadership: The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this” (Oxford Dictionary)

Calling yourself a leader

I wish people in hierarchical positions would stop shouting about ‘being a leader’…that they are ‘leading people’…and all the other ‘leadership’ presumptions.

As I wrote some time ago, you are only truly a leader if people choose to follow you, for themselves.

(Anything else is only really compliance, through fear or perhaps indifference)

Personally, whilst I’m totally fine with Executives, Directors, Managers etc. (i.e. people with the titles) taking time to understand about leadership, I’d rather they never ‘told me’ that they were leading me.

Stick with the title that you’ve been given…and then ‘we’ (the people) will decide whether to follow based on your actions (as opposed to words) and abilities (rather than your assertions).

Conversely, ‘we’ (the people) may come together and try to lead an organisation to a place where the titled people aren’t, or haven’t yet been, heading. In which case, it would be worth those with the titles sitting up and taking note (rather than attempting to shut it down) – perhaps there’s something important within!

This post ISN’T written in any way to belittle or put down people who would like to lead ‘us’ to some better place.

It ISN’T to be disrespectful to the people currently with the titles – I ‘get’ that organisations need some form of structure.

In fact, it’s the opposite, it’s to say that many (most?) people crave to be genuinely led somewhere great…and this is only likely to happen if those put into positions of power ‘get over’ the leader word…and act as one of the people.

Here’s a rather humbling quote that turns the ‘I am your leader’ boast on its head:

“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘we have done this ourselves’. ” (Lao-Tsu)

Leading is a potential outcome of what you do (actions) and how you behave (abilities), not a badge you can demand or procure.


I wrestled with using the quote at the top. It brilliantly suggests that “if you have to say you are leader, then you’re not” but I find myself wishing that it hadn’t been Thatcher who said it. She was given the label ‘The Iron Lady’…which was then used to lampoon her leadership style1.

This got me thinking: Why am I uncomfortable about this irony? Well, using a quote from Margaret Thatcher and Lao-Tsu on the same page rather grates with me.

So, was Thatcher a leader in the sense that I use above? – well, yes, there were lots of people that wanted to follow her.

Was she a leader for the whole country? – absolutely not. Due to the vagaries of the UK’s ‘first past the post’ voting system, she used her power to take the country to a place where the majority of people didn’t want to go3…with millions suffering in the process…and, arguably, generations (still) suffering from the outcome of her economic ideology…but that’s just me being political 🙂 .

What about the power word and its relationship with leadership?

Power: the ability to produce intended effects” (Bertrand Russell)

I reflect that power and leadership do not occupy the exact same space:

  • You may be successful in leading a group of people (because they are following), but you do not have 100% power over them (they can cease to follow if they so choose); and
  • You may have power far wider than the group following you, through what the group is achieving. The likes of Hitler had huge power, propped up by a band of fanatical followers.

…perhaps the secret to meaningful and sustainable leadership is to closely match the sphere of leadership and power. Any major imbalance has the potential for overthrow from within or disruption from outside.


1.‘Spitting Image’ Iron Lady humour:

Margaret Thatcher is treating her Cabinet (team of Ministers) to a meal at a restaurant:

Waitress: Would you like to order, sir?

Thatcher: Yes. I will have the steak.

Waitress: How would you like it?

Thatcher: Oh, raw, please.

Waitress: And what about the Vegetables?

Thatcher: Oh, they’ll [The Cabinet] have the same as me!

2. Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the UK between 1979 – 1990 (my teenage years).

I’ll ‘nail my colours to the mast’ and say that I wasn’t a fan of Thatcher (I’m being polite)…but I recognise that many people were.

3. Thatcher’s Conservative Party won the 1979, 1983 and 1987 UK General Elections with 44%, 42% and 42% of the 76%, 73% and 75% turnout respectively (source: Wikipedia pages on each of these elections)

Put the other way (and with a little bit of maths): 67%, 69% and 68% of the eligible voting population didn’t vote for her but felt the effects of her power.

Now, you can chide the people that didn’t turn out, but you can’t say that they wanted to follow her.