Going by numbers is a great way to stay in control (or at least feel that way). Numbers are exciting. But when you choose to go by numbers alone, the tradeoff can be huge. Numbers should map with a purpose, else they can mislead.
Consider the following conversations. Have you heard them before? I have!
Quantitative: My goal is to have 500+ LinkedIn connections by end of February.
Qualitative: I would prefer 100 connections by end of February and these connections will be based on trust and/or a strong prior relationship.
Quantitative: After MBA, I will look at getting a pay package of at least X.
Qualitative: Can’t wait to complete my MBA so that I can get to what I love doing – Marketing!
Quantitative: In 2010, I will write at least 200 blog posts.
Qualitative: In 2010, I will focus on writing at least 75 posts that are highly relevant in core areas where I can add value.
Quantitative: Let me check your timesheets to see how many hours you have worked on the project in the past month.
Qualitative: Let me assess what progress you have achieved in key result areas of your work in past month.
Quantitative: Lets go for quality certification which will open us doors to more number of customers.
Qualitative: We need a quality certification so that we can improve our internal efficiencies and streamline the processes for having delighted customers.
Quantitative: I have 6000+ followers on Twitter. Feels great!
Qualitative: I have 50+ trusted relationships on Twitter who add a lot of value to each other. Feels even greater!
These are conversations of “compliance” versus “remarkability” and “adherence” versus “excellence”. Does it not happen that you meet your numbers, but the overall quality of work product/customer experience remains same (or deteriorates)?
Quality is to first ask “Why are we doing it?”, “Is it worth doing it at-all?”. Quality is to first seek the purpose. Once purpose is clear, numbers can help you measure progress.
It is almost easy to figure out “What” and “How” of processes once you have addressed “Why”.
Have a great weekend!