• Analyze the data.
We are surrounded by numbers.
Business numbers listed above only scratch the surface of what is out there for the leader among us. There are personal numbers to track such as finances, weight, nutrition and exercise, to mention a few. And I refuse to begin to list all of the economic, political and newsworthy numbers that fly before our eyes on a daily basis. What is going on here? How are we supposed to handle the flow? When it comes to numbers, I feel as if I just opened my mouth for a drink of water in front of a fire hydrant on full blast. How do we take Niagara Falls and turn it into a steady, consumable flow from a faucet and into your parched mouth?
ANSWER: You need the right mindset when it comes to numbers.
The greatest caution is placed on drawing immediate conclusions following a view into someone’s numbers. It is way too easy to hear the result and make decisions, changes and moves. Leaders are conditioned to react. The strongest among us take the information we have in front of us and make decisions based on what we know. The problem is, until the numbers are truly TRUSTED, we don’t actually know anything.
Trust is gained from vetting the numbers you see.
Understand the origin, the process, and take the result as a means to launch into a conversation to draw deeper understanding. Numbers should, first, draw honest curiosity rather than obvious conclusions.
There is nothing more frustrating than acting upon numbers that are flawed. If the analysis has errors, the resulting conversation is a waste of time. If the numbers are incomplete or biased, even if correct in the form, the resulting conversation is also a waste of time.
And when all is said and done, allow the numbers to guide you towards meaningful conversations with other leaders.
With the right mindset, numbers are the key ingredient in making the most profound business decision possible.
Of course there is more to say on this critical topic. Let me know if you want to have a conversation about it and we will discuss.
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