Why I love numbers…..

May 20, 2012

Its our board meeting tomorrow and I’ve been digesting our annual budget, monthly management accounts and flash weekly profit figures this evening.

Some board meetings in previous companies I have been in can be a talking shop.  But I know that tomorrow, the numbers will shape the discussion.  Like anyone, I can be prone to declaring opinions that the numbers don’t support.  That is why I believe in numbers.  They don’t lie.  Yes, they can be manipulated but if you have a team who are after winning and not their own successes, this won’t happen.

Numbers show up over and underperformance.  Numbers give you complete visibility of your business.  Numbers show you if you are on track or behind and by how much.  Numbers can you give you a reality check, sometimes one that jolts you out of your comfort zone and denial. 

Numbers can make words meaningless.  You can’t argue with numbers.

Numbers can also give you hope.  They can flesh out an entrepreneur’s blue sky thinking.  They can make your dreams a reality, by planning the numbers you can see a path way to get what you want and good numbers will tell you how long it will take.  Numbers can highlight pitfalls, prevent cash catastrophies, profit erosion and recruitment black-holes.  Numbers can keep you safe at night, your creditors at bay.

Numbers can be used to communicate a message, either good or bad.  Numbers can incentivise, to induce healthy competition, to spur people on.  The right numbers can support powerful goal setting which can turn organizations around and propel them to future successes. 

Numbers can be used to recruit the right people and when, and to let the wrong people go and when.  Numbers can give you the strength to take tough decisions, sometimes force you to do so.  Without the numbers, you are flying blind, your decisions are impaired, your business success is up to chance.

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