I’m spending time today with the CCMI senior leader team examining data. Simply, what we measure, and why. Numbers have an interesting place in organizational life. We deem some people in organizations, “numbers people.” We say, “Oh, he’s a numbers guy.” Depending on our view that may be a compliment, or it may suggest some rare disease that manifests itself with sores on the face and super glue on the wallet (as in, tight wad).

Conversely, some people are deemed “numbers illiterate.” These people, particularly to numbers people, can’t add their way out of a paper bag and don’t understand the power of numbers (they’re unanchored dreamers).


Ah yes, dreamers and tight wads. Love makes the world go round.


These two try to work together–to varying degrees of success. But, here’s the deal:


If you’re NOT a numbers person, that is no excuse to be numbers illiterate. Numbers matter. They really do. Learning enough to read numbers and trends is critical to your success as a leader–not to mention your organization or team. Learn the language of numbers. You may never be fluent, but you need to know how to ask where the bathroom is (and more).


If you ARE a numbers person. Learn the art of storytelling. Your numbers will mean more if they are attached to an organiztaional narrative. One that stirs the heart and rouses the mind. Don’t just quote numbers, paint a picture, tell a story and you will find people listening–especially those pesky dreamers.