Individual Competence vs. Organizational Efficiency LO28913

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 07/27/02

Replying to LO28900 --

Hello group,

Chris Macrae said:
>Numbers addiction is the main professional unlearning of our times.

I think the difference between what you are saying and what Gijs, Alan and
I are saying is that you tend to attack the focus on numbers, but we tend
to feel that it is the ignorance about their significance that is the real
problem. At one extreme end of the scale you get people who go by "gut
feeling" and do not pay attention to the numbers at all, on the other you
get people who think they can make decisions from an accounting statement
or evaluation report alone -- much like the way the stockmarket works.

It would be better to focus on building numeracy in terms of what they can
do and can't do rather than saying they get too much focus. Focusing on
numbers, while knowing what they mean, does not lead to fragmentation.
Fragmentation comes when people don't know, or don't care about, what they
tell you and what they don't. The "what the numbers don't tell" part can
serve as a great guide for looking beyond them, and is not destructive at
all in my opinion. This is because this part of "numeracy": is the
holistic/ systemic/ temporal part that is missed when people take a short
term/fragmented/narrow/incorrect view of them. For this reason I think
that the focus should be on how to read the numbers, not on how to remove
the focus on numbers. It is not the "focus," it is the "understanding."
This lack of understanding leads to problems such as thinking:

Short term gain = Long term success (ignoring the how of the gain, its LT
effect .... )
Budgets should not be changed (ignoring changing circumstances and
Budget not followed or achieved = bad
If sales person A has a bad month, then he performed badly (ignoring the
organizational contraints, market circumstances, long term needs....)



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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