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# Leadership hack 012 – precision is not accuracy

No matter what the question is, getting a number as an answer is soothing. Logic suggests that in order to have arrived at a number, someone must have done a calculation. **Numbers are clear, numbers are facts.**

However, **while numbers can be very precise** (e.g., 67,600), ** this does not mean that they are accurate**. Anyone could have made any calculation to come up with a number. For example, you could have estimated that your product will have a market penetration of 40% in a customer segment of ~169,000 people. This calculation is made up of many assumptions, and it is attempting to forecast the future. However, these uncertainties are not reflected in a number that is shown to four decimal places.

So how can we make sure that uncertainty more clearly? There are several possible options.

- Ask for a
**range**and not exact figure, for example, 65-75% - Request a
**confidence interval**, for example, 67% +- 5% - Make sure figures are
**caveated**the figure, for example, ~67%

While each of these has its merits, humans get fixated on specific numbers. I have found the **best option is to give or request a range**. While this will make you uncomfortable, it means you have a better appreciation of the uncertainty. Then when you present figures to your leadership, you communicate the uncertainty and you cannot be held to ransom against and exact number.