I have nothing against numbers. I believe in the bottom line as much as the next business person. (And, fundamentally, that’s what I am–a business person. Except maybe without the silly, stereotypical baggage).
But these days, when numbers–like profits, for example–are harder to hit, we’re tempted to focus on them even more. Obsess on them, even. Sometimes to the exclusion of the stuff that, ironically, is the precursor to the very numbers we’re trying to create.
Of course, when numbers are good we get paid and rewarded accordingly. If you focus solely on the so-called “bottom line,” however, you’ll miss something vital–call it soul, call it meaning, call it impact. Call it your legacy–that which you leave behind that means something to people, that will enable your influence and assistance to continue even after you’re gone.
You know. The good stuff of the human experience.
Tom Peters once said his nightmare is to have his tombstone read, “He made budget,” a nightmare we should all share.
Instead, push yourself and your company to do good work, to do important work. If you can do that, the numbers will follow.
And as a bonus, your tombstone will be a whole lot more inspiring, too.