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How numbers can shape thinking

I recently came across the following thought provoking post by Bill Taylor, Founder of Fast Company, on the Harvard Business Review blog.  Taylor underlines how a few well chosen measures can radically shift thinking.  He writes…

“Numbers are the universal language of business. We use them to attract investors for our startup ideas, to win approval for product introductions, to make the case for expanding into new markets or entering new categories. In other words, numbers, when used well, tell a compelling story. So why is it that so many of the numbers we encounter in business — from endless Excel spreadsheets to bloodless calculations in business plans — make our eyes glaze over rather than set our minds racing?”

Continue reading What Surprising Number Will Change Your Business? on the Harvard Business Review Blog.

He concludes…

“However you choose to rethink your approach to numbers, it’s an important way to address a huge missed opportunity. Business isn’t just a battle of products and services. It’s a battle of ideas about priorities, opportunities, values, and value. Ultimately, those competing ideas get reduced to competing numbers. So, if you can arrive at numbers that matter, you’ve got a better chance at winning the battle of ideas.”

Right on Bill!

In today’s increasingly data-centric marketing world, finding the numbers that matter most, has never been more important or more challenging.  The temptation to measure everything that moves must be resisted.  Instead, understanding, insight and creative thinking is more likely to arise from a taking a simple, focussed approach to what measures really tell provide a narrative that people within a business can comprehend and act upon.

Posted by Dean Harris.

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