How to Talk About Numbers - Blog Post

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How to Talk About The Numbers

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In my travels in leadership, there is often an issue with leaders being focused on business results while many of their direct reports and individual contributors aren’t necessarily that interested in talking about the “numbers.” So much so, that any talk of the monthly metrics or quarterly reports is often seen as a means of manipulation and borderline obscene.

But the one thing that I remind leaders of time and again is that it is never really about the numbers; it’s about the behaviors that create the numbers.

What leaders often fail to recognize as they are reviewing their goals and reporting the numbers is that once that number is put up on the screen, the only conversation really needed is what behaviors contributed to the success or not, and what needs to be learned and embraced to move forward.

Beyond that, further discussion of a number is truly a waste of time. And the next step after that is to engage the team fully on what behaviors need to be demonstrated on a consistent basis to make it more likely that the “number,” or the goal, will be achieved.

For example, at DS Leadership Life, one behavior we practice is tracking all of our immediate tasks and keeping agreements with each other and others as best as we possibly can. If we say we will do something on Tuesday, we get it done! We also review our tasks and steps regularly and track them closely. And this behavior ensures that we move projects forward and complete things that need to be done to make any goal we are working on a success. And of course, this in turn influences our business outcomes greatly. It also minimizes a lot of drama, but that’s a blog post for another day.

The Leadership Weekly

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