Beyond the Bottomline

I’ve always had ambitions, but I haven’t always been a leader. That’s not to say I was a follower; I’m a textbook skeptic, even when the ideas originate from my very own mind.

As a manager under 30, I’m faced with complex decisions every day — about people, clients, prospects, etc. — and without any formal training, I use team morale and communication as barometer against which I need to adjust my approach.

Pressure mounts as successes rack up. I sometimes feel like I’m always fighting with numbers. Perhaps it’s because I’m a wordy woman who married a “numbers” guy.

I find value in the tangible, but I also see the need to strike a balance with what some people write off: the emotional. It’s easy to get lost in the bottomline, obsessing about numbers. Numbers reveal trends, sure, but they don’t tell stories.

We get so stuck in building narratives around perceived value, deferring to basic arithmetic to convince and convert. And I’m anything but basic.

My never-ending quest alongside my team is to build a sense of belonging and ownership. Numbers alone mean nothing; they need words to fight back. I want my team to own their work in such a way that the numbers are just the beginning — they lead to new risks worth their weight in even greater rewards.

If numbers reigned supreme, we’d stop communicating via verbose e-mails and instead exchange Excel attachments. I’m interested in knowing what keeps each member of my team curious; our conversations are always rooted in purpose, but never in numbers alone.

The bottom line means bupkis to me on it own. As a leader and manager, I’m not just interested in the hard-and-fast “what” – I’ll always want to know about the “why” and “how.”