Does It Have Value If It Can’t Be Measured?

May 20, 2020

A guest post from The All Numbers, All Day, Every Day VP: I’m a Math-aholic. I believe that the best decisions, the greatest motivators and the most rational planning are rooted in data and metrics. What more could a leader deliver?

Does It Have Value If It Can’t Be Measured?

Hi, I’m Quinn and I’m a Math-aholic. At least, that’s what Micah would call me. I believe that the best decisions, the greatest motivators and the most rational planning are rooted in data and metrics. Proper calculations will bring results and rewards. What more could a leader deliver?

I’ve received feedback over the years that I don’t have many interpersonal skills; that I see people as walking headcount. That’s a truthful assessment but let me explain myself. As this book declares, leading people is messy. You don’t get messy with numbers.

I see people as walking headcount.

I find that I rarely make poor decisions because they are grounded in data and algorithms. Once you layer that with emotions, politics, instinct, favoritism or whims you are bound to mess up. I insist that my direct reports show me the numbers to justify their thinking. This has helped them think more clearly and perform better. So, where is the problem?

I will admit that there can be unintended human consequences to this approach. If we need to make cutbacks, for instance, I’m not without a heart. I know that some will suffer. But, at the end of the day, we are running a business with shareholders who have certain expectations. My job is to focus on market and financial performance. People come, people go. When push comes to shove, I’m going to pay attention to the numbers rather than the people. So far, I’ve done quite well with that formula.

The moral of the story is: You definitely need to be proficient at the numbers to succeed. If you also have people skills, you'll probably go farther than I have. It's just not my cup of tea.