EPMEPM: Leadership

The Magic of Numbers: Fiona Blayney

Rather than seeing numbers as scary and mysterious, it’s much better to embrace their magic to move you closer to where you want to be, says Fiona Blayney.

Abracadabra alakazam! Now you see it, now you don’t. Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

The magic of the magician was embedded into our minds as young children. More recently, I was reminded of this as B1 and B2 (our favourite Bananas in Pyjamas) turned professional magicians and made a friend disappear from their magical box.

Just last week I found a lamp at an op shop, gave it a polish, and voilà! The genie arrived and now I am the proud owner of an evergreen money tree, world peace has ensued and in my cupboard sits a never-ending packet of Tim Tams. Okay, so we know that’s not true, and as an adult of course I was not surprised to learn that those cheeky bananas didn’t actually make their friend disappear; she was in that box the whole time –a trapdoor! Go figure.

I’m still a believer in magic. It exists in my world; it just doesn’t involve a black and white wand.

Whilst there are moments of magic in my life daily, today I want to tell you about one that really gets my motor running – numbers.

Of course, given we are both adults, it’s about time you found out the secret behind the magic of numbers. Firstly, if you are a non-believer, it’s pretty simple: numbers are magical because they are simplistically intricate. They can mean so much in so many areas of our life. We can track them, dissect them, learn from them, plan with them; we can even use them as a measurement for success.

I spend a great deal of my life working in numbers. I take pride in racing clients in doing calculations, Fiona with her pen and paper against the client and their calculator. I love watching a millennial observing my brain madly working without technology, and when I meet a fellow number lover it’s electric.

Excel is up there as a best friend. It allows me to work through everything from life plans to business budgets and the activity required to get the desired outcome. My accountant, business peers and clients have been bamboozled with the colours and the sheets, but they have eventually been hooked. Many a life has been changed with an introduction to the magic of numbers and their meaning.

Of course, not everyone is a believer; numbers freak many out. Quite often it is the initial fear of knowing what the number is, and more importantly what it means, that stops us in our tracks from discovering the number in the first place. ‘Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know’ is one dangerous statement. We don’t get on the scales, we fear a medical and we avoid our financials and activity figures. Whatever the segment of life, the number is there, despite your level of awareness of it. Today I want you to join me on the crusade to discover the magic of numbers.

When we have a true understanding of our numbers, we have the power to create a vision for new ones and develop the plan to move towards them. We can use numbers to identify the activity needed to reach our goals and discover the levers to adjust to affect our results.

I am absolutely loving working with our Transformers at the moment; when it comes to their numbers, I am seeing childlike magic as they grasp the ability to look behind the mere figure on a page and see it for the window to their future success.

Unlike childhood magic, numbers need not be mysterious or scary, and in business they must be as second nature as brushing your teeth every day. Not everyone shares my excitement for a spreadsheet, but if in doubt, sub it out! Find someone as cool as me who thinks in figures and has analysis as their middle name, and watch with wonder as you tap into a new level of strategic thinking – the numbers way.

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