numbers and values — observations #24

Last week, I shared a quote from Daniel Lapin about the stories that the numbers tell here. I appreciate the wordplay and the truth of the principle he was illustrating.  There is a similar principle and duality in the words number and value, in this quote from Jack Welch, former GE CEO.

Certainly, the visionary companies have not always found it easy to maintain and live to their ideologies. Jack Welch of GE described the difficulty of living with the tension between pragmatism and idealism, or what he calls “numbers and values”:

Numbers and values. We don’t have the final answer here— at least I don’t. People who make the numbers and share our values go onward and upward. People who miss the numbers and share our values get a second chance. People with no values and no numbers— easy call. The problem is with those who make the numbers but don’t share the values…. We try to persuade them; we wrestle with them; we agonize over these people.

[Collins, Jim; Porras, Jerry I. (2011-08-30). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials) (pp. 71-72). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.]

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.


You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs. Some people may not want the technical content that appears elsewhere on this website–if you only want to follow these more personal updates, I set up a special subscription for that option here: by Email or RSS.

Tags: , , ,