Does it make sense?

Does it make sense?

The meeting started with a brief introduction. Then the financial results for the month were put up on the screen. A one page report containing over 100 numbers. This was the moment that most managers dreaded. Their department was up in lights. Did I have a tick or a cross against my name. If I had a cross then I would be asked to explain. Most of them didn’t have the answers. They were afraid they would be exposed in front of their peers.

What if a different approach was taken? One that involved understanding the story behind the numbers.

To do this, the Finance department needs to empathize with the Departmental Managers that are using these reports. They need to realise that to them the monthly report is just a number of inputs.

Then they need to start with a question:

“This is how the numbers come up. What do you think? Does it make sense?”

And listen.

The goal here is to connect these numbers to what’s happening on the “shop floor”. This is how you begin to understand the story behind the numbers.

It helps when you start with empathy.

 

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