The motivational benefits of knowing your numbers

We believe there is a quantifiable psychological benefit to having a clear view of critical numbers.  But instead of trying to quantify them here, early on a Monday morning, let’s just focus on proving to ourselves anecdotally, that it’s true – more inspiring that way.

To me, it’s hard to think straight when there’s sweat in your eyes and your body is crying out for a break from burpees, sit-ups, wind sprints and squats but that’s the consequence joy of signing up for a weekend session with a personal trainer.  Here’s what does make sense in the middle of all that straining and “paying the price” for those pastry delights with your morning coffee: knowing how many reps to go, before you can take a breath and relax if only for a few, fleeting moments.  

When the trainer roars, “c’mon, only 20 seconds to go” during an exercise, a weird thing happens.  The focus almost immediately shifts from dealing with the pain and regretting ever signing-up for PT, to counting down towards the goal and realising that you’re almost there.  Five seconds to go.  Suddenly, you know that successfully completing the session is in the bag.  Weirdly, the pain has stopped, you’re focused and you can actually see the finish line.  And time!  You’ve done it.  Believe it or not, you’re smiling.  It could be relief, achievement, pride or a combination of all those things.

And you wouldn’t have made it if your trainer hadn’t given you a magic number to aim at: 20seconds to go.


To business then

Sales professionals the world over, dating back more than half a century from 1960s real estate offices to modern day outbound call centres, know that having a sales target is a motivator, a compass and a necessity.  You can’t hit a target you can’t see.  In many cases, the shorter range targets are easier to hit.  Tell your staff that they need to hit $1.75m in sales in the next 12months and it might happen.  Break it down to weekly goals, even daily and chances of success will have increased significantly.


…the numerical targets allocated out are not aligned to the overarching goal, the big number, the one that counts.  It’s all well and good to get everyone from the front desk/counter/room to the chief decision-makers motivated with target numbers but it all falls flat if they achieve them but the business does not.

Start with the most magical of magic numbers: turnover, expenses and PROFIT (yup, all caps, italicised, underlined and bold).  If everyone’s individual numbers (KPIs, SLAs and other three-letter acronyms) flow from that critical number, they will have something solid to aim at.  This will absolutely allow them to have a real and quantifiable impact on your business’ goals.  The key though, is to align your big goals and from there, identify the numbers that will get you there.  Feel free to contact us if you’d like to identify and work towards your magic numbers.

Then, cue relief, achievement, pride.   And as personal trainers and physios the world over would say, take a quick water break and get ready to do it all again.

Let’s GO!

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