One of the biggest obstacles in business is continuing awareness of our own limitations and those of our business. Recently I explained to one of my clients the importance of Objectivity and Subjectivity in your business. Objectivity requires a high altitude view of the business and being in tune with the numbers. Tracking break-even, leads generated, sales revenue, gross profit margin, and employee efficiency are examples of being objective in your business. On the other hand subjectivity is also important. Subjectivity refers to those emotional aspects of your business. Those times when you rely on intuition or gut. Core Values, Company Purpose, meetings with your staff, your empathy and listening skills, all of these are elements of the subjective side of your business.
Too much dependency on subjectivity or objectivity is bad for your business. Most Leaders are either subjective or objective. I’ve found few that have strengths in both, at least not without significant training and development. While the Leader who is good at the objective aspects of the business can run a tight ship and produce results they are often challenged when it comes to the relationship side of the business. Conversely if you are good with the subjective you have limitations with quantifying and seeing the objective aspects of the business. You tend to make decisions with your heart which can have serious implications on the financial side of the business.
A Leader who runs his business based almost entirely on subjectivity will find that despite the fact that all his employees and customers love him and his style of business, by not managing the numbers, by failing to bring objectivity to his decision making, he is trusting too much in his ability to sense when something is bad and fails to see the reality in people, conditions, and the state of his business. He will make decisions too late without the influence of the critical numbers.
Consequently an objective Leader will hit his numbers more frequently, yet he will have a difficult time with relationships. He will have high turnover in staff, wonder why his vendors or customers leave too quickly and eventually run the risk of having churned through so many people that the business itself will be in danger due to the shallowness of what the company stands for. The business will eventually fail to hit its numbers simply because the people who will work for this callous, insensitive leader aren’t the quality needed to continue to produce greater performance.
When coaching begins, the conflict between these two opposing yet critical contributing factors begins to appear. Naturally the strengths we have are also our greatest weakness. So a strength based leader will not see why the subjective or emotional aspects of the business need to be blended with the objective side, nor will a subjective strength leader see why the objective needs to become a more critical aspect of operating the business.
The awareness of the complimentary role subjectivity and objectivity play in your business is crucial to success. Without this awareness businesses fail, and when the flame is still flickering the leader is unaware that by simply having added one or the other they could have just as easily succeeded.
Without the awareness of the importance of both of these elements we can become blindsided. The weekly meeting rhythms we suggest our clients routinely follow help everyone to be clear on what’s happening and affecting the internal and external aspects of your business. The numbers delivered in these meetings will send a clear message of performance; however it is also how they are delivered that only the leader with sensitivity to the subjective aspects of his people will catch. Employee and customer data is another place where sensitivity to how the information is being communicated can provide much more powerful impact than just what the message is.
If you are a leader who is stronger subjectively or you rely on your objective strengths to operate your business, simply be aware of the value and nature of these two opposing yet complimentary keys to operating a successful business. Your strength in one area or the other can blind you to problems and opportunities. Coaching and training can improve your skills sets in these areas, plus provide you with an objective outside observer to help you recognize when you may be missing something.
We’ll look at sales performance and how even the numbers can deceive both the objective and subjective leader in my next blog, “Are Your Salespeople Holding You Hostage?”