How can you say, “It’s not just about the numbers”?

I want to use this column to explain what I mean when I say “it’s not just about the numbers”.

In business, the viability of a firm depends on its ability to create the numbers it needs to exist! No one can debate that.  My all-time heroes, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, knew that and made profit their number one corporate objective.

At the same time, Bill and Dave recognized that the numbers by themselves could not create an environment where people can grow, where they can ensure the success of those they care about, and where they can make a contribution to their industry and their community.  All of those things are critical for the employees of an organization to feel that their work matters and to fully engage in the mission of the organization.

So looking at it another way, the key word in my catch-phrase is the word “just“.

The high-tech industry in particular, has become so competitive, and the importance of current quarter business results so compelling, that leaders often sacrifice everything to get “the number”. What they miss,  is that focusing just on the numbers destroys the employee engagement that is so critical to achieving the business objective. Most mature adults understand that meeting the business objectives is job one. They just don’t want it to be “job only.”

As leaders, we have to appeal to all levels of their motivation. We have to help them feel a part of a community, to feel that their company and their colleagues, really care about them as individuals, and that the company ties its business success to values that transcend more than just return to shareholders.

This is why I get so excited about deploying the power of coaching into modern organizations. It’s the best way for leaders to connect their teams to the motivation and skills they need to hit their numbers, while making their workplace a human and fulfilling place to invest their time and their skills.