18
Aug
08

Behavior first – numbers second

In business, numbers are used to set targets and measure performance. You use business and industry benchmarks to compare how your business stacks up against the competition. You set goals for service providers and sales people. You run your financial reports in a myriad of formats to identify financial leaks and trends that signal trouble or success. Without question, numbers are vital to business. But there’s a catch. The numbers you use to guide and analyze your business performance are 100% behavior driven.
FACT: Behaviors make the numbers that you measure, celebrate and obsess over happen. Given this, why is it that so many leaders bypass the essential role behaviors play in achieving the numbers they want? Leaders spew out orders that sound like, “You need to get your numbers up,” and leaves the conversation believing those numbers are going to change. The problem is that the behaviors that produce the lackluster results are still intact. For the numbers to change, the behaviors need to change first.
From a company financial perspective, I’ve seen too many leaders build incredible cash-flow plans only to become frustrated that their perfectly formatted profit and loss statements and balance sheets are not showing improvement. The gap between the cash-flow plan and achieving the desired profits and value is purely behavior driven. With a system in place that creates and shapes financial disciplines, new and better behaviors will evolve. Financial performance will improve by changing behaviors to control spending and ultimately the management and use of financial resources.
Here are some red-hot strategies to make sure you get the behaviors right:
* Systems shape behaviors: A system is a series of processes that produces predictable results. Want an individual to produce better numbers? Provide them with the right system and skill development training to make those numbers move in the right direction.
* Understand the story numbers tell: Numbers simply tell a story. It’s your job to understand the story behind the numbers. What made this number a win? Why is this number causing a problem? If all you do is obsess over the numbers, you’ll never uncover the story that contains the lessons behind those numbers.
* Take responsibility and ownership: As a leader, all the numbers your business produces happened on your watch. They’re your numbers. If they’re numbers to celebrate, your leadership inspired the energy and the right environment for those numbers to occur. If those numbers are unacceptable, your leadership played a roll in that too. Blame does nothing to change the numbers you don’t like. Taking action and making the right decisions is all about behavior. Behavior first, numbers second.
* Your behavior needs to change first: Leaders are notorious for double-standard thinking. This means that the behaviors they expect in others aren’t necessarily the behaviors that they personally set the standard and example for. If the mandate is to sell more, do more, spend less, and you’re doing the opposite, you are the one who is compromising. You are the one who is preventing the numbers that you strive for to occur. No-compromise leadership is about accountability, execution and integrity.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

behavior3In business, numbers are used to set targets and measure performance. You use business and industry benchmarks to compare how your business stacks up against the competition. You set goals for service providers and sales people. You run your financial reports in a myriad of formats to identify financial leaks and trends that signal trouble or success. Without question, numbers are vital to business. But there’s a catch. The numbers you use to guide and analyze your business performance are 100% behavior driven.

FACT: Behaviors make the numbers that you measure, celebrate and obsess over happen. Given this, why is it that so many leaders bypass the essential role behaviors play in achieving the numbers they want? Leaders spew out orders that sound like, “You need to get your numbers up,” and leaves the conversation believing those numbers are going to change. The problem is that the behaviors that produce the lackluster results are still intact. For the numbers to change, the behaviors need to change first.

From a company financial perspective, I’ve seen too many leaders build incredible cash-flow plans only to become frustrated that their perfectly formatted profit and loss statements and balance sheets are not showing improvement. The gap between the cash-flow plan and achieving the desired profits and value is purely behavior driven. With a system in place that creates and shapes financial disciplines, new and better behaviors will evolve. Financial performance will improve by changing behaviors to control spending and ultimately the management and use of financial resources.

Here are some red-hot strategies to make sure you get the behaviors right:

  • Systems shape behaviors: A system is a series of processes that produces predictable results. Want an individual to produce better numbers? Provide them with the right system and skill development training to make those numbers move in the right direction.
  • Understand the story numbers tell: Numbers simply tell a story. It’s your job to understand the story behind the numbers. What made this number a win? Why is this number causing a problem? If all you do is obsess over the numbers, you’ll never uncover the story that contains the lessons behind those numbers.
  • Take responsibility and ownership: As a leader, all the numbers your business produces happened on your watch. They’re your numbers. If they’re numbers to celebrate, your leadership inspired the energy and the right environment for those numbers to occur. If those numbers are unacceptable, your leadership played a roll in that too. Blame does nothing to change the numbers you don’t like. Taking action and making the right decisions is all about behavior. Behavior first, numbers second.
  • Your behavior needs to change first: Leaders are notorious for double-standard thinking. This means that the behaviors they expect in others aren’t necessarily the behaviors that they personally set the standard and example for. If the mandate is to sell more, do more, spend less, and you’re doing the opposite, you are the one who is compromising. You are the one who is preventing the numbers that you strive for to occur. No-compromise leadership is about accountability, execution and integrity.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership

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