Why numbers SHOULD mean sweet FA

I bet that as an anxious person you find the thought of hitting a certain number kind of terrifying. You may have to have achieved a certain number of sales in a month, or you may need to make a certain number of phone calls each day. Whatever it is that you need to achieve, put a number on it and it makes us nervous types a drivelling mess.

And what is worse is the fact that we live in a society that is driven by numbers. Even in a social context, we feel like we have to have more likes and Facebook friends than the next person, and if we don’t then we are just a downright failure. But should we really be putting so much emphasis on hitting high numbers? I personally don’t think it’s necessary and here’s why.

I think that the best leaders in the world are those that don’t micromanage their staff. A leader who comes down hard on every employee who doesn’t hit their target isn’t really a leader at all. They are a tyrant at best. A real leader will look at what can be improved and why something isn’t working. Instead of blaming the individual who didn’t perform they will look to see if there is something that can be changed culturally.

This is why I think that there is a lot of power in being a really sensitive manager. Somebody who is more empathetic is far more likely to focus less on the numbers and more on the people. People aren’t motivated by being shouted at and intimidated. They want to work in a place where they are appreciated and where they want their manager to be proud of them. This is achieved by giving them time and energy and building trust.

So, I would say that far more important than focusing on numbers we should be looking to build communities and relationships that are based on trust and common interest. We need to look more at the impact that we are having on people rather than the immediate numbers that are being generated by our efforts.

If we look at the greatest influencer in history, Jesus, we can see that he wasn’t all about healing as many people as possible. He could have healed far more in his life time, but instead he used his short time in ministry to have a huge impact that kept on multiplying well after he was gone. Surely this is what we should be aiming for in our work too?

So let’s start modelling our behaviour in the workplace on Jesus. You don’t even have to be a churchgoer to see the value in following his model. And next time you find yourself panicking that a blog post hasn’t hit your normal level of views or likes, remember that you are working towards a larger goal. People may quietly be devouring your work and talking about it to friends and further down the line it will pay off. Don’t sell out and do something just for the views. Be a good person and look after your people and the rest will follow, even if it is just smiles and laughter and happiness. After all, it’s not all about the money!

Bonus Poem

Look out for those within your tribe,

And don’t resort to con or bribe.

You want to build a thing that runs the race,

That doesn’t end up losing pace.

Numbers, targets, the odd sale,

Will only lead to a whopping fail.

So teach and love and make a friend or two,

And watch what happens when you do.

5 thoughts on “Why numbers SHOULD mean sweet FA

  1. Jaya Avendel

    A beautiful piece! I am not ashamed to admit I got caught in the number web; the numbers were numbers and I was disappointed in a 23 when I wanted a 50. I did not appreciate that 23 was 23 people; people who, however small, found value in what I had to say.

    I do not make that mistake now and am glad to see you sharing this so others can find joy instead of panic. 🙂

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