It’s a numbers game

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

Honest feedback:
169 – the systolic reading for my blood pressure that places me at serious risk of significant health problems.

I wasn’t told in a dressed up way. There was no ‘good bad good’ sandwich. It wasn’t softened with any form of technique. It was simply put; I was told I have blood pressure so high that I have to change my life…this is the number and this is what you have to do.

Some more numbers:

7 – number of gym sessions I’ve had since I found out.

3920 – number of calories burned doing 6 above.

7 – the additional miles I’ve walked in the last few days.

8 – the number of pounds I’ve lost in the last 10 days (3.6 kg if you use metric).

5 – the number of storeys I walk up and down each day now.

10 – the number of flights of stairs getting to my office.

110 – the number of steps in 10.

3 – my quickest time in minutes doing 5 before I started.

1.5 – how long it took today.

300 – the number of seconds recovery time from doing 5 above when I started.

75 – the number of seconds recovery time from doing 5 above now.

0 – the number of crisps I now eat.

1 – the number of people responsible for effecting this change.

What can’t be counted is how I feel now, my reaction to seeing myself in a mirror, the achievement I get from walking up an escalator, my satisfaction eating less, how much better I’m sleeping, my improved focus.

Honest feedback?

Quantitative feedback generates qualitative effects.

5 responses to “It’s a numbers game

  1. Firstly, Well done mate! Keep it up. 🙂

    It frustrates me that people still see this correlation as mystical and ask about the golden feedback tool: “Please provide me with an acronym I can recite as an incantation to befuddle my poor performers into still liking me, when I tell them they’re useless!”

    One of the first things I learnt about giving good feedback was to be honest and fact based; at no point did my mentor mention sandwiches or coniferous trees. His advice was based on over fifty years of leading various professionals and their reactions to him. When he passed away (nearly 25 years ago now), nearly every person who had ever worked for him attended the funeral. All of us said the same thing about him in remembrance “He was firm, fair and honest.” Not only did we respect him, we liked him too.

    When he gave me feedback on my performance he would show me a list of things he wanted to discuss and quantify his opinion on each area. Sometimes it was painful (I was young and hungover quite a lot, so performance may have been affected), but it was always presented in a matter-of-fact manner: “Dave, you don’t seem to be processing enough reports.” and was usually followed by: “What do you need from me to help improve this?”

    That on its own, although supportive and blameless would not have been enough to improve our performance and maintain our respect; we needed specific feedback. He would focus on the quantifiable facts, explaining the impact of under performance and conversely effect of meeting targets. At no point did he try and hide this information behind smiles and platitudes, but neither did he resort to ‘factory-floor ranting’.

    I realised years later, that it was the presentation of the quantifiable impacts that provided us with something to actively avoid/aim for. And this (in my humble opinion) was how over the last two decades of his employment, he managed to have one of the highest performing teams in the organisation: we wanted to do our best for him, because we trusted him. Firm, fair and honest, all supported by quantifiable feedback.


  2. What we have witnessed is Level 1 – 4 data right before our eyes – and all aligned to the desired overall outcome – a classic evaluation and measurement process if ever I have seen one.

    Well done – keep it up – you may yet still play for QPR one day 😉


  3. I’ve lost count of the number of models I’ve seen and most of them were useless. This is what I tend to talk about when the topic comes up.

    1. If it’s already perfect, then praise it otherwise it won’t be perfect again.
    2. If it’s wrong, then tell the person, in no uncertain term,s that they need to change and support them in so doing.
    3. If it’s OK but it could be fantastic, then give them the gift of your feedback and let them choose how they can implement it (or not, they’re already OK)


  4. Pingback: What can you achieve in 84 days? | Lost and Desperate·

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