“Lies, d_mned lies and statistics”


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By: Don Oehlert
Managing Partner, eCareerCoaching.com

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Some of you may be aware of the meaning behind the title to today’s post. The phrase before that title phrase is “There are 3 types of lies:” Also, just for fun, there was “There are three types of liars: simple liars, d_amed liars, and experts.” How’s that for your daily dose of useless knowledge?

Anyway, this quote is attributed to many people – not the least of which is Mark Twain. The truth of that matter is, he was quoting who he thought originally uttered the phrase – British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

However, the earliest reference to the phrase I found on the ‘net was from a gentleman named
T.H. Huxley, said during a meeting of the x Club on December 5, 1885.

All of that aside, statistics are still important to the job search, as they can give credence to anything you may post on your blog, or put in your resume or LinkedIn profile. Numbers catch people’s attention. If you want them to read your resume further (and who doesn’t?), then you need to catch their attention early on in your tools (resume, LinkedIn Profile, handbill, elevator pitch, etc.) with numbers, statistics, or other methods of proof of results.

If you read an earlier post, you’d have seen that “4-7 seconds can lead to 90. 90 can lead to an interview.” Review it here: https://ecareercoaching.com/2020/08/06/4-7-seconds-can-lead-to-90/.

Some examples of statistics that can help improve your chances are:

  • How much did you save the company in manufacturing costs?
    • Over what time period?
  • How many other employees were impacted by your solution?
  • Were sales impacted in any way by your work?
  • Did you see that sales velocity was impacted?
    • By how much?

You don’t always have to “move the needle” for the entire company, but improving something by 10% within your own department can mean big savings for the organization over time. Also, if the changes you made are applicable to other departments, now you can start to multiply your success by that number of people, or those numbers of processes that were impacted.

Finally, your solution may have saved your company 10% in your own department, but it also served as the underlying foundation of a solution for another department, who now ratcheted it up to 15% across their department. Things just start to snowball then, and your impact was much greater than you originally estimated.

Quick example for you. Many years ago, I was working with a secretary for a VP of Sales. The salespeople on the team all had their own spreadsheets they’d use to report their expenses. Now, while this sounds OK to the sales folks out there, it would take this administrative professional about 3.5 days to put all the right costs into the right bucket on the master expenses spreadsheet. There was also a fairly significant amount of manual data entry by this person into the master spreadsheet, which introduced errors that no one ever caught until they were large enough to be found on an annual audit.

The idea she had was to put together a template for expense reports so that each person filled out the same spreadsheet for their expense reports, and then she could import them into a master file, which would allow her to add up all the numbers for each category of expense item, and the overall expense amounts were the cross-check. This also helped the salespeople, because they now had a simple method of entering their receipts, and also known labels for each expense type.

The best news? Her aggregation of the entire week’s expense reports was now 45 minutes – again – down from 3.5 days – just in her time. How much time and confusion do you think she saved the sales team? Can’t even guess. How many items were in the wrong buckets before? How many buckets were in the wrong categories, do you think?

So yes, everyone can quantify their successes, if you think hard enough, and get creative with your thoughts on your projects.


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