In 1978, Bob Segar topped the charts with Feel Like A Number, which contained the following lament…
Feel like a stranger,
Stranger in this land,
Feel like a number,
I’m not a number, I’m not a number…
We have all heard that saying – or at least that sentiment – and most of us will agree that treating someone like a number shows a lack of compassion at best, and strips them of their humanity at worst. So why does this happen? Why do some businesses forget that people are people and numbers are numbers?
When firms focus on scaling their business, they seek to create efficiencies and increase productivity. Often, this is achieved by creating siloed operations that deliver standardized products. A silo is an isolated grouping, department, etc. that operates apart from the others. It is effectively a business within a business, with its own goals, culture, and agenda. Large and complex companies are typically structured so that decision making is separated according to function, geography, and product – and silos are the result. This prevents communication and cooperation and puts another layer of separation between the company, the employees, and the clients.
Your employees that work for you, your clients who trust your firm, COIs and clients who refer business, and other people who support you are not numbers!
When businesses start regarding people – whether they be employees, clients, COIs, or any other type of contact – as merely ‘numbers’ on a spreadsheet, they become detached from the very people that the company wants to attract and retain. This is madness!
Try to focus on the people behind the ‘numbers’ that you work with (and for), and always seek to make true connections. Sometimes, something as simple as a sincere offer to help, a quick phone call, or even a smile can turn someone’s day around.
Will this information help you grow your business? Maybe. But it certainly will help achieve a positive feeling about your business, and about you as an advisor and as a leader.