Driven by Numbers

One key to unlocking greater effectiveness is to define your goals and then determine what a numerical representation of that goal would look like. If your goal is to raise the leaders that will transform a society, you want to determine how many leaders you have to train within a time period. The watchman that cannot state their objective and attach an exact number will be busy, might even be efficient, but will never really impact their world in a meaningful way. For effectiveness and not just efficiency, your change projects and initiatives must be driven by numbers.

Your work would benefit a lot from the precision and structure that comes from driving your work by numbers. A business-minded person is able to identify the most important number to them in their projects right now and optimize for that number. Paul Graham thinks it is good to grow your numbers by 5-7% every week. A growth rate of 10% every week is considered exceptional. With 10% weekly growth, you will do 1420% in a year, and you’ll be on a path to become huge. If you currently serve 100 people, a 10% weekly growth requires you to get 10 new people this week. In a few weeks you’ll need to add 20 per week, and so on.

William Bruce Cameron wrote, “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” This is true, but you will perform better if you choose to count something in your work. And then commit to grow that number over time in a way that is consistent, sustainable and scalable. The first step is clarity around your goals. You must pick a clear goal. Then interpret that goal in terms of a number you can track and count. You can then commit to a growth rate. An evangelist that commits to preaching to 10% more people every week will enjoy greater success than the person that has not picked a number.


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