In an era of laser-focused data management and dynamic information dashboards, few business operators don't have a simple set of "key performance indicators" that suggest performance over time. From a leadership perspective, one challenge within a team dynamic is building consensus around which numbers matter the most. In fact, managers tend to spend a great amount of time figuring out which numbers matter more than others. Great leadership, however, tells a slightly different story as it relates to time management.

Strong leaders, in many cases, spend just as much time (if not more) searching for consensus around "if the numbers say this, do we have a consensus on what we'll do?" Said differently, they're thinking not in isolated and internal dimensions but in market outcomes as a result of them. They're one step ahead, in other words.

As we sense the coming end of the summer season, our lessons learned from this summer are still fresh in the mind as we measure success. In thinking ahead, as we consider next year the strongest leaders among us are already thinking through not only which numbers to pay attention to but the stories those numbers suggest about the market around them.

Clark Twiddy, President of Twiddy & Company, is the author of our Leadership Corner, published on our blog the third Tuesday of each month. He can be reached at