I learned this simple lesson from Tim Robert’s Trustpointe – An award winning Sandler Franchise.  Simply put, Yes, No, or Number, is a great way to manage KPI’s, metrics, and employees.  Once you set clear goals, be specific on how you measure these goals and provide the tools necessary for success. Yes, No, or a Number is the simplest and most transparent form of management.

The basics of Yes, No, or a Number are easy. When asking staff about completing a task, filling a sales pipeline or doing the necessary behavior for success, the answer should always come as either Yes, No, or a Number.  Every other answer is ambiguous – a story.  Yes, No, or a Number is concrete.  There is no interpretation; the answers are binary.  Tasks either get completed, or they do not.  The number of open items in a project plan is only a number, it’s never a story.

How often have you asked your staff if you’ll hit a deadline and instead of Yes, No, or a Number, you receive some vague answer about how hard people or working, how integral integration with outside vendors play into the equation and how you’ll know more at the end of the day.  Basically you just got a story; and stories don’t sell in this situation.  With story answers, you’re always left wondering.  Yes, No, or a Number removes the emotion from the situation.  It levels the field and provides the opportunity to move forward towards a solution.

The next time you find yourself telling a story about something, stop and make your answer simple for everyone involved – Yes, No, or a Number.

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