More Than Just the Numbers

How much do you think the average businessperson needs to know about psychology? The answer might surprise you.

Some American businesspeople have an interesting, albeit limiting, idea about psychology. They think they can forget it and run their business by numbers alone. They believe that if they have a good enough understanding of things like profit and loss, cash flow, economic forecasts, and credit sources, then they know all they need to know.

In many instances, their managers have come up through the ranks after coming out of business school, and the psychology of human behavior has just never seemed important enough for their time and attention. It may have been a class they had to take, to get their degree, and nothing more.

However, if the average businessperson doesn’t think psychology is important, the highly successful ones know better. Malcolm Forbes once said, “There are those of us who think that the psychology of man, each and together, has more impact on markets, business, services, construction, and the entire fabric of an economy than all the more measurable statistical indices.” In other words, numbers don’t drive success – people do.

So, if you are serious about succeeding in business, or in any endeavor where the end-result depends on people, you would do well to find out what is happening in the worlds of cognitive, organizational and social psychology. The best evidence is telling us that quality, productivity, and customer service are the results of beliefs, attitudes and expectations as much as, or more than, good skills, processes and systems. And today’s ever-expanding world of neuroscience seems to be confirming this evidence.

Understanding the people drivers in your organization, especially if you are in a leadership position, is more important today than ever before. Leadership defines the culture in an organization and it is your people who express that culture in everything they do, say, and how they work with each other. And at the very foundation of your people lies the psychology you need to understand if your organization is to succeed.