Fake numbers

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Fake teeth


“Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.”
Khalil Gibran, “Sand and Foam”

There used to be a baseball player with the New York Mets who hit a lot of home runs in the seventh or eighth innings of games the Mets were winning by a lot of runs.

At the end of the season, he had 25 or 30 home runs, which looked great until you realized how few of them really meant anything. In the early part of the game, when the other team had its best pitcher in, he would strike out a lot. He would never drive in runs. Put him up late in the game, with the other team losing by four runs and a mediocre pitcher on the mound, and suddenly he was a home run hitter.

There are a lot of people professionally who are like that.

Their numbers look great until you take a more in-depth look at them.

They do a lot of “stuff.”

They look busy and are busy.

They crank out the reports.

They caused no problems, and everyone likes them.

Their output means nothing to the group, to the division, to the company.

A lot of nothing.

I used to sit in meetings with someone who would say the most pointless things as though he was speaking for God.

I would politely ask a follow-up question to clarify because they didn’t understand what he was saying, and then he would go off on a tangent because he had no idea about the subject of what he was saying.

He “contributed” to the meeting by speaking but was nonsense, not just in my opinion.

Too often, managers and leaders even more substantive work in favor of BS, fake performance, and other meaningless statistics.

When I worked in recruiting, one firm I work for collected information about the number of calls a person made in the number of minutes they were on the phone. It would have been useful data, except we figured out that after we left a message for someone or received a busy signal, we could put the phone down, but not on the cradle (these were landline days) and run up the number of minutes we were on the phone.

Meaningless numbers. Fake numbers.

They’re all around us.

Politicians feed them to us all the time, couched in words like “on average” when they want to make the case that their opponent or adversary is doing a lousy job.

Our job is to ignore fake numbers and focus on real ones that have meaning.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host ofCareer Angles | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

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Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash



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