Know Your Numbers

CaptureThe other day I had an opportunity to address my team, almost half of the audience were new to my organization, including our summer interns.  I saw it as a chance to capture the imagination of these new members, and I thought it went well.  As I did some self-reflection on the event, a little nugget emerged as a general lesson in leadership:  Know Your Numbers.

Know Your Numbers means that leaders ought to have an inventory of key statistics in their back pocket, along with an understanding of how to use these numbers appropriately to make the desired point.  In my case, I lead a growing laboratory so I used the relevant leading indicator to make that point.  Upon doing that, I did notice multiple and very clear  non-verbal cues from the audience that the message was received.

So, leaders, what are your numbers?  Can you pull them out on the fly and use them to support points during crucial conversations?  As I found out, it can really help shape other’s perception of your leadership.


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I am a software lab manager in the Corporate Research Lab at 3M in St. Paul.

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