Are you doing what you do for numbers or for results?
Being an endurance runner sometimes it is easy to confuse pace with results. For instance, last year when I attempted my first 100-mile race I had my watch set where the predominant number was pace. In so doing I got more consumed with the number showing on my watch instead of the most important aspect and that was the result — a finish. Being obsessed with the number the foggier my brain got, the more I forgot what I was really after. I ended up dropping out after only 51 miles because I was forcing pace (a number) instead of focusing on the result (finishing running 100 miles).
I watch the same thing in business every single day. Instead of focusing on the result, which should be customer satisfaction and market share, I watch corporate accountants focus and force everybody else to focus on numbers that matter but aren’t what we should be focusing on to grow long-term business sustainability.
Now that I am writing and contributing to Medium, I see the exact same thing. I sometimes read articles and see how many claps that particular author received and wondered why. Sometimes I see articles with high numbers, but the result of the article is that it said the same thing ten other articles said, just a different way. I mean how many ways can people write that “Trump sucks!”?
Results Focus Produces an Outcome
Dictionary.com defines result, the noun as “something that happens as a consequence, outcome” or “a desirable or beneficial consequence.”
As I approach my next 100-mile race in two weeks (will literally be running two weeks from today nearing twenty-four hours of running) I am more focused on the result I would like to see from this race. For me it is not just me crossing the finish line after a long day or more, it is about the people I am bringing along on the journey. Am I inspiring people to reach more profound than they previously thought they could to be able to achieve something they previously thought they couldn’t? Am I being a good example of a gracious runner who thanks the many volunteers at aid stations and tries his hardest to not be a grouch to his crew, pacer, and supporters?
In business I am not just trying to increase sales and decrease expenses, I am asking myself more in-depth questions about results all the time. Are the people who work with me inspired to dig deeper and achieve and learn more about their trade so we as a team can be better every day at what we do? Do our customers enjoy doing business with us? Do they appreciate sacrifices we make so their companies can also be profitable and well run? Do other managers, whether in my business or in businesses around, see my management style as something to emulate?
In writing, I do want to see numbers. Numbers mean that when I do publish books that hopefully people will buy them or that enough people begin to notice my words and maybe I will be asked to speak or write for a publication for pay. As I write though, I am always asking myself questions. Will the words I write inspire people to dig deeper and write bolder themselves? Will people want to take a look at themselves through my words and see where they too can be a better version of themselves? After I am long gone, will people remember the words I wrote with fondness or even a chuckle?
Become the Best Version of You
If all we are after is numbers, we will just churn out work and not care about the results. I relate it to people who go to work for a paycheck, they’re just showing up to punch the clock. Insert pace for runners or number of words for writers.
Results mean that whatever we are doing there will be a consequence and/or an outcome because of what we are doing. Results imply that sometimes numbers won’t be as high or significant as maybe the people we work for, or we want them, but that the people that surround us on a daily basis are inspired to dig deeper and become better because we dare to dig deeper and become better ourselves.
I may not hit the numbers, but if I hit the results, I really don’t care.