We statisticians have always been important for brining new therapies to patients. We design experiments, analyze and interpret data to provide valuable insights that can help make informed decisions. However, the value of our work increases if we’re able to lead others.
But becoming an inspirational statistician requires more than just technical expertise. As you continue to grow in your career, don’t forget to invest in yourself by learning from training programs, books, movies, and other resources that can help you become an inspirational leader.
In this episode, Alun Bedding and I discuss how statisticians can become inspirational leaders and reach a higher level in their careers. We also explore suggestions and give additional insights on how statisticians can become leaders in their field.
Becoming an inspirational leader as a statistician requires a mindset change from technical proficiency to people skills. Leaders, by inspiring others, can help their and other teams grow and work towards the organization’s goal. Building trust is key to becoming an inspirational leader.
Alun and I also discuss these important points in order to level up your career and organisation:
Understand Business Operations
Leadership Is About Inspiring People
You Can be a Leader Without a Title
Collect Stories and Role Models
Passion and Focus
Global Head of Methods, Collaboration and Outreach at Roche
How to get our statistics community to the next level
[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of The Effective Statistician. Today, I’m really happy to have Alun again on this show. How are you doing today?
[00:00:13] Alun: I’m very good, Alexander. And I’m glad to speak back again on the podcast.
[00:00:16] Alexander: Yeah. So for those who don’t know you, maybe you can give a very quick recap on what you have been doing in your quite interesting career up to now. And what’s your passion now?
[00:00:29] Alun: Yeah, so I’ve been in the industry, in the pharma industry for over 30 years. It, seems like a, it, that sounds a long time, but to me it’s gone so fast. I’m now the global head of methods, collaborations, and outreach at Roche. I’ve been that in that position now for three years. It is a statistical leadership position and one of the, I’ve got a couple of passions at the moment and one is on leadership in general and what we should be looking at as leaders, what we should be doing. My second passion is on coaching, but I bring a lot of that coaching expertise into my leadership role as well.
[00:01:07] Alexander: Okay. So let’s talk about the topic of today, how we can get our statistics community to the next level. So let’s maybe start a little bit by exploring, if you think about the next level for our statistic community, what would, how would that look like?
[00:01:31] Alun: What would the next level look like? The next to me I think we spend a lot of time thinking about our technical skills.
[00:01:40] Alexander: Yep.
[00:01:41] Alun: So to me that’s the bread and butter of what we do. That’s the bread and butter. It’s what we learn and we’re good at it. We should be good at it. Or statisticians will have a statistical qualification or some aspect to a statistical qualification. The next level to me is how we then take that knowledge and be leaders in statistics. So, be leaders in statistics, but also how can we also be leaders in drug development as well? So it’s not just focus on pure statistics, it’s focused on other aspects of the drug development process. And I’m not saying people need to go out there and get other qualifications to go and do those leadership roles. Just be a leader in drug development. You cannot be a good statistician in my eyes until. You know about drug development and how your statistics can be applied within drug development. It’s no good you as a statistician sitting in front of your computer heads down and doing things without going out there and really selling what you can do as a statistician.
[00:02:50] Alexander: I would go even a little bit broad as drug development. I would say across a complete company. Because when you say drug development, a lot of people will just think about phase one to phase three. And I think it is also everything around the preclinical manufacturing post regulatory approval. It could be even go beyond all these, what we think of medical data. Yeah. It could be also much more about operational data in these kind of areas. I had Steve Pike on this podcast quite some time ago and he talk, talked about all these other challenges. Yeah. Beyond just analyzing. Let’s say reward evidence studies and clinical trials and these kind of things. There’s so many other data sets that are, floating around in the companies where we can have a big impact then.
[00:03:51] Alun: There absolutely is. And actually, yeah I completely agree with you on that. And I’m thinking about not just the stuff you mentioned, but there could be. Has site operations, for example. They might have, they, I mean I, I’ve been involved quite recently in looking at site operations around the environment. So what’s that environmental impact? That’s nothing to do with the products that we deliver. It’s more to do with What impact we having on the environment as a company?
And so I’ve got to look at some of that data. In the past some of my colleagues in San Francisco got to, were asked to do, a survey of the number of people who had done their vaccinations, for example. So all of these sorts of things, it that they’re using statistical methodologies and they, or they could use statistical methodologies, but we’ve gotta go that there and maybe look for some of these opportunities.
[00:04:43] Alexander: Yep. And I think this will also, help to be, statistics not just be seen as it’s in some companies, even kind of part of the operations part within r and d, but much more influential, broad speaking kind of function. Yeah. That reaches across everything within these companies. Yeah, because data is everywhere. And we understand data better than any other function. We can explore data better than any other function. And hopefully we can also explain data better than any other function. And if we do this, then we become, a much bigger kind of organization within the companies. Yeah. I think currently there is a lot of separation between, these business analytics, IT, statistics and clinical research and, all these other areas. If we can achieve, set all these different parts work together, we can have a much bigger influence across the overall organization.
[00:06:01] Alun: I think one of the important things is understanding how all of those business pieces operate. Yeah. So if a statistician, for example, ever wanted to become the CEO, they really have to understand what, how the business operates now. I believe it’s so important for us to actually. Understand the business and what I mean by the business, not just like you said not just about phase one to phase three clinical trials, but understand the whole business. What goes on in manufacturing, what goes on in preclinical, what goes on in post-marketing, all of those aspects, but not in, maybe it’s maybe you’ve got devices as well within your company, what goes on in devices. What goes on in the diagnostics part of your company if you ever want to get become a CEO, you’re gonna have to know all of those pieces. And I believe that we could have a pharma CEO as a statistician. Why not?
[00:07:01] Alexander: I really think it’s time to enforce that as a community. The chief Information Officer at Lilly was a statistician. R Shaw? Yeah. She had it, the statistics function moved it up. Completely one level made much more high profile in the organization. Then went into the business area and from there became the chief of Information Officer. And within that organization, she had not only it, but also an advanced analytics people. Still the kind of clinical statistics people who not reporting it to her.
[00:07:47] Alun: And I can go, head of product development in China, who looks after not just the data science, the statistics, but also looks after the clinical parts of product development is a statistician. So there is the opportunities. Okay. She’s not the CEO yet. But she’s on the, she could be on the pathway to get she’s looking after not just her own functions, but also the clinical functions, the operations functions, the the regulatory functions within China.
[00:08:17] Alexander: Yeah. And I think there is, there’s a couple of trends that statisticians can use to create more impact. One is the much bigger use of data in daily practice. Yeah. So wearables all different devices. If you think about diabetes what are, what a patient in diabetes is collecting in terms of data is so much that, I’ve heard some of these devices don’t store the data anymore because it would be too much. And on all these other areas. Yes. Think about neuroscience, think about autoimmune diseases. Think about cancer. There are so many different areas where there’s a lot of data collected and the the app store is, exploding in terms of all different types of health applications. It’s one of the big things where, you know, companies like Apple, Google, and others are investing. And so I think this is in the area that will help statisticians to step up, of course, if they embrace it.
[00:09:34] Alun: I agree partially with you, or maybe half with you. I think we, it does give the opportunity for statisticians to step up. But I think we just also need to make sure we don’t, we’re not just seen as the data people that we’re seen as more strategic than that.
[00:09:51] Alexander: Yes.
[00:09:52] Alun: And so I, I think that so there is that opportunity to use more of that data, but if we want to step up to really senior positions within organizations, we have to step away from that data. It may be a case of we we understand and we can interpret the data, but we have to step away from being so deep within that data.
[00:10:12] Alexander: Completely agree. Actually, I don’t think that is a disagreement between, It’s more like this is a reason for stepping into more areas widening your network. And I agree we need to not only be good technical statisticians, we also need to be really good on the strategic side, on the leadership side. When you talk about leadership, what does that mean for you?
[00:10:42] Alun: A great question. It’s one of my passions, and I may have mentioned this in the previous podcast as well that we did. There’s a great quote from Rear Al Grace Hopper which talks about you lead people, you manage things, and whenever you think about that, you think about a leader is a leader of people. You don’t manage people. If you start to manage people, what you are doing there is command and control. You’re micromanaging that’s managing people. So to me, leadership is all about, being the person who’s followed, who’s inspiring to people. It’s not about being motivational. Motivational is also commander control.
It’s more about being inspirational to people. But it’s more than that. It’s more about it’s all about trusting and being trusted as a leader. And allowing people the space, allowing people the time to find their own path. That’s not to say you let people go and it’s the wild West, but it’s a case of, okay, somebody’s got some work to do. You let them get on with it. You let them find their solutions. You are available to them. Make it known that you’re available to them, but let them go. Don’t, micro mouse, don’t keep asking em how you getting on with that? How you getting on with that? Let them do it. Let them get on with it. They’ll report back to you. So to me that the whole thing about leadership is leading people. I often hear people talk about I lead a project. Actually, no, you don’t. A project is a physical thing. You lead the people within the project, the project itself, you manage.
[00:12:24] Alexander: You lead the project team.
[00:12:26] Alun: You lead the project team. Exactly. I’m also gonna say just because you’re a leader. You should not be a bad manager either. You have lots of things as a leader to manage. You have maybe the vision. The vision is a thing. So you manage the vision. You might manage budgets, you might manage timelines. These are all things that you might manage. And you should be a good manager. Most of the best leaders are also good managers as well. So there’s not a they’re not mutually exclusive. But if you, find that people re can re reframe themselves from, I manage people to, I lead people. Their mindset suddenly changes. They don’t get worried as well. So leaving people is much less worrying than, oh, I manage people. It makes people very tense.
[00:13:20] Alexander: You mentioned motivating people and inspiring people. Can you expand a little bit on that separation?
[00:13:30] Alun: Absolutely. If you think about motivation, You think about motivation as either the carrot or the stick. So the carrot could be, for example, if you work fantastically well, here’s a fantastic bonus at the end of the year. That’s motivational. The flip side of that is if you don’t work very well, we’re gonna put you on some sort of performance review. And if you still don’t perform well, then you might get the sack. That’s most motivational. So that’s their, they’re examples of the carrot, the stick. What happens when you remove that motivation? What happens if you remove the carrot or the stick from the donkey, for example, the donkey does not move.
[00:14:08] Alexander: Yep.
[00:14:09] Alun: Whereas if you go to the donkey and you are kind to the donkey.
You give him more carrots than, you don’t put it in his face on a piece of string. So he moves. You actually give him the carrot and you actually let him have some rest. For example, the next time you go to that donkey, he’s gonna get up and be there for you. So it’s more of a, you are inspiring him by trusting what he’s doing. So to me, motivation is all around. It comes back to commander control. Motivation is still commander control. And the only thing that motivation does. Is motivates somebody to get more things. So if you give somebody a big bonus one year, it motivates them. They wanna get a big bonus next year. They wanna get a big bonus the year after. So it’s not inspiring. It’s more you are artificially forcing somebody to do something.
[00:15:02] Alexander: Who is inspiration more talking to the intrinsic motivators of people. And motivation more to the extrinsic factors?
[00:15:13] Alun: That’s a great way of putting it actually, because in if to inspire people, you have to have, reach their heart. You have to reach, what matters to them. And as an inspiring leader, you should already know what matters to your people. So you can inspire them and it’s then role modeling. There are certain habits of trust that you can, you that can help you. So for example if one of your direct reports, I’m not sure I like the word direct report by the way, but I’m trying to think of a better word. One of your team is struggling. Instead of saying okay, you need to buck up your ideas. Actually what’s going what’s going on in your life? That’s not working here that we can help out with. And being that inspirational leader, they will come back to you time and time again.
Also, if something, sharing something that’s going on with you. So if something, if you are not performing well as a leader, share with your team what’s going on for you. And then we are inspired by that. That is not admitting something’s going on is not a weakness, it’s a strength because the, your team will be inspired and your team will then also open up to you. So they’ll become, there’s this trust, there’s this mutual trust that get, that, that gets gained from that.
[00:16:28] Alexander: There’s this great scene in a series called Ted Lasso that comes to mind for me. If you don’t know this series and you wanna learn a lot about good leadership skills, have a look. Ted Lasso is this trainer of a Premier league club. And he actually has no clue about football or soccer. Wherever you cannot live, you’ll use a different word. And in this small scene, he shares how he messed up. Yeah. Where he says that he failed to do something and opens up about this. That allows all the others in his team to also share. And you can see how, trust is established between the different people because the different people are vulnerable. Term from brain pr because it’s always reflects really well in these situations. And by becoming vulnerable, you build trust.
[00:17:33] Alun: Absolutely. Yeah. No, it’s being vulnerable is a strength. So being vulnerable is shown. You have frailties. And I often get asked what do you do if you’re not consistent? For example, if something goes wrong, you just put your hands up and say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I made a mistake. But don’t try and cover it up. Don’t say I made a mistake, but all of a sudden you’ve then removed that, that ex, if you try and explain it away, you’ve removed that apology. Yeah. And the word but is a very strong word. And I’m quite passionate, I try not to use the word, but because they have even put it in there. It removes everything you’ve said before it. People only see, or they only hear what comes after the, but.
[00:18:21] Alexander: A friend of mine once said everything that is before the but is a lie.
[00:18:26] Alun: The whole world of transactional analysis, you’ll learn this. They, you learn that everything before the word, but. It’s a lie.
[00:18:35] Alexander: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit further about how we can move our statistics community to this next level. Yeah. Where we have a strategic. And consistently strategic influence. Yeah. Not just, oh, we have a couple of examples of peoples that are really good and are seen as leaders, but where the whole community is seen that way as something that is absolutely integral. So where nobody ever would doubt that we need to have appropriate resources in terms of people, we need to have, the, these people in the relevant meetings. These people have good promotion opportunities, all these kind of different things. Yeah. Like you would never think oh, marketing, oh, we don’t need marketing or sales. We don’t need sales. Yeah. Or we could outsource these kind of things. Yeah. Nobody would ever think about that. But for statistics, that’s still the case very often. Yeah. So how can we make sure that we become so integral that there’s a CEO of a big pharma company that a statistician.
[00:19:55] Alun: That’s a really good question. I think one of the things we really need to do is stop, almost like calling ourselves statisticians. That an amazing counterintuitive there. But I think sometimes that hinders what we do. We need to start we need to start being more than just a statistician. So I, maybe I’ll use a statistical analogy here. Maybe a, if you think about a normal distribution curve, the statistics is maybe the bit in the middle around the mean. But we’ve got the tails. We need to spread ourselves. We need to be a little bit more spread about what we do. So we don’t need to be recognized just as statistician. So for example, I’m gonna use a clinical example here. If you’ve given a protocol to review, you don’t just review the sample size calculation and the methodology. You review the whole protocol, and if something’s coming up for you, then you raise that. So it’s being more, more strategic in the way we look at the whole pharmaceutical industry. The other aspect we need to be a lot, we need to be getting a lot better at is being more visionary as well.
So what are the current, what’s the new trends within the farmer industry? If we spot something that’s outside of our realm of statisticians doesn’t matter let’s raise that, that particular point. So for example, it could be we go into open source software. That may be nothing to do with statistics, but it could be really important in the whole pharmaceutical paradigm. So it, that’s the way we I think that’s the way we do it. We stop being just statisticians. We become more I’m not gonna use the word drug developers like it, that previously we’ve become more pharmaceutical executives. We get to know more about the whole of pharma.
Interesting. I’m gonna, maybe I’ll share another story with you about somebody else. I sit on an external funding board for the medical research Council, and the chair of that is a statistician. I wouldn’t have had a clue he was a statistician until he mentioned that he was a statistician because he just appeared like he knew. All about the processes and all about the various things. So I think it’s, we need to become a little bit wider in some of the things we talk about.
[00:22:15] Alexander: Maybe that is one of the things we need to do. We need to help statisticians move more outside of statistics. Yeah, so I know lots of people love statistics and then stay within statistics for forever. Maybe we need to have, promote more people getting outside of statistics, having leadership positions and across all the different areas that I think will be a really good way. I recently talked with someone who said, yeah, we are, we do essential stuff, core stuff because we work on these regulatory things and says, that makes us unique and we should only focus on this because this is our brand and nobody can take that away from us.
How would you react to someone that, says we need to, strengthen our brand, be really edgy and focused instead of, spreading so much out and then, potentially yeah. Losing what you know this brand identity.
[00:23:22] Alun: I think there is a, oh, it’s a good question because I think there’s, we still need to maintain some of that brand identity and I don’t think spreading ourselves is gonna lose that brand identity. We’re, at the end of the day, we’re always gonna be statisticians. I say always most of the time and I’m a classic case. I’ve been a statistician all my career. However, I have led. Initiatives, if you wanna call ’em that. I’m not sure. I particularly like that to in other things. For example, I was the first farmer representative on the art consortium board. Nothing to do with statistics apart from his art. But it’s a leadership position and you can also lead in initiatives. So you could also be, step up and lead something that may be outside of your realm, but just go and lead it. You don’t need to be a statistician to do that, but it would raise the profile of statisticians to be able to do that.
And I get that some people will not be comfortable stepping outside of their technical expertise. And I get that. And I think we do need people who can still deliver the if we have lots of visionaries, lots of people wanting to be CEOs, then we’d never get the bread and butter stuff done. So I think we need a mix of both. But I do think those that who are able to step up to that next level. Then I think they should be the ones pushing to step up to that next level. Maybe I’ll use Casper within my own team as an example. Casper recently has been talking to lots of parts of the company about innovation and how innovation is invention multiplied by commercialization. That’s not a statistical piece. He does use statistical examples. He uses estimands as an example, but estimands is not just statistics. It’s more, more general around the company.
But that’s an example of somebody. Who’s a excellent statistician, who’s having more in, much more influence or a lot of influence around the company. So you know that’s how you could do it. You don’t have to be just focused on your delivering your outputs and various things. You could have much more of an impact. And if you, but if you want to do those things, fine, fair enough. But I would say most people are gonna have to be a bit more broader. They want to really go up in the organization.
[00:25:43] Alexander: I love that you talk about this mix of people. Yeah. And I think we need to shift the existing mix more into this leadership area. Looking more for people that can step up. Maybe also if it means they need to step a little bit outside of sale. Discomfort zone into their discomfort zone outside of their comfort zone. If you encourage these people, if you inspire these people, if you show them, you know what’s possible, if you show them examples of others that have done it, if you show your believe in that, they can do it. I think there’s a lot of people that currently would think of themselves as, I’ll never be that leader who can be these leaders.
[00:26:41] Alun: And I’m maybe, I’m gonna take a one step back. I think everybody is a leader. Oh, no, I don’t think I know. Everybody is a leader. Everybody is a leader. The reason I say that is you lead one person yourself, so you’re always a leader. But there’s also, I do hear, I do wanna hear a lot from people is what you’re talking about. Leadership doesn’t apply to me because I don’t lead, I don’t lead a team like you do. Actually. No, hold on. You can lead without authority. Yeah. Leadership Steven, Mr. Covey talks about leadership being a choice. It’s not a position. And he uses the example of Manhattan mcg Gandy. Hat mcg, Gandy had no governmental position or nothing like that. But he’s seen as the modern father of India. Yeah. Nothing he had, he wasn’t given that position. He just led, he was a leader. He went and he led and there are other examples that we can think about. We can think about our own companies. I’m gonna come back to Casper. Casper is a leader in statistics. He doesn’t he, he’s not a people leader. He doesn’t have a team of people, but he is still seen as a leader. Yep. So anybody can be a leader. You don’t have to be given the title of Global Head of this or this, or manager of this, or director of this.
You can still be a leader. And you don’t have to look for an initiative to be a leader. Choose to be a leader. You need to choose to be a leader. If you wanna be a leader in estimands in dose finding, in medical affairs you choose to be a leader in those and you can go and be that leader in those particular aspects.
[00:28:37] Alexander: completely agree.
[00:28:38] Alun: Actually the same.
[00:28:40] Alexander: Yeah. It’s, by the way it’s Kaspar Rufibach who always talks about,
[00:28:46] Alun: I should have had Casper’s name yet, thank you.
[00:28:48] Alexander: Yeah. And he is regularly here on the show as well. And also presenting at the effective statistician conference. And in his course that he’s doing about estimands he is also talking a lot about how you can influence people to adopt it. And that is leadership. Yeah. So as organizations within pharma companies, actually also in CROs, in universities, and all these kind of different settings. What can we do as both individuals as well as leaders? The head of the group or lead or something like this of an organization? What can we do to become better leaders?
[00:29:37] Alun: I think we’ve gotta change our mindset to a certain extent. I think there’s a mindset that we we’re, I don’t wanna say customer focused, but we’re seen as well. Okay. The clinical, I’m gonna use the clinical term, but the clinical team is there by clinician or project leader or somebody like that. I think we need to be partners. We need to think of ourselves as partners. Yep. And therefore we need to, that if we take that mindset that we are seeing ourselves as partners, Then I think with that mindset, we can automatically start to become leaders.
There’s a lot you can do in educating, but I’m not sure that’s always necessary. But I think that mindset, that open mindset of learning, that open mindset of emitting, you don’t know. So been humble, one of the true qualities of a leader is to be humble. To me, you don’t know something. And to ask somebody something. And if they give you, if somebody gives you advice, take the advice. Don’t just ignore it. Don’t just ignore it because you think you know better than somebody else. That’s one of the true qualities of a leader is just to be humble. And I think the more we can. Be that have that humility, have that vulnerability you mentioned earlier on, create some of that psychological safety by creating some of that trust within ourselves, but also within people we work with. Then I think we’re gonna move to become leaders and we’re gonna get noticed as well. It’s not a case of we don’t need to shout about it. We can shout about our team. And by the way, one of the other aspects of being a good leader and being trusted. Is to evangelize the team, to evangelize what they do to share with people what they do well what how it can be more influential in bigger spaces.
So I just think that’s the way we can step up as statisticians. We to becoming leaders, we can start to build some of those aspects into our, just our everyday life. But let’s not wait until there’s a position available. Let’s be leaders. Let’s be leaders in whatever. It could be anything whatsoever. Let’s just be leaders.
[00:31:47] Alexander: As you said, you can choose to be a leader. No. Yeah. You can choose to influence things in the right direction. No. You can go to this study team meeting and drives things forward in the direction you want them to go. No. There’s no one that kind of needs to tell you. There’s no one that needs to allow you. You can just do it. I also lost a point in terms of, speaking about the team. I think if you are a supervisor, Speak about not just the technical achievements of your team, highlights the influencers that your team has. Not just, oh, we applied these, super duper cut edge kind of stuff, but also about all the influence that was in there where, what was the impact, which people did you need to convince? What stakeholders did you impress? This is really important.
[00:32:54] Alun: That last point is very important because your senior stakeholders, they’re not gonna be interested whether you used, I don’t know, some fancy hypothesis test. They don’t care about those sorts of things. They’re gonna care about the influencing, the impact that’s having. That’s the and they’re the stakeholders that you need to be talking to more and more to actually bring more of that influence in there. But they’re not gonna be interested in the stuff, the statisticians in.
But, so that’s maybe another aspect of how we can be a little bit more influential as leaders. Is by when we talk to our senior stakeholders, not trying to baffle them with statistics, but really well, what’s the impact of using a particular methodology? They’re not interested in what the methodology is, but what’s the impact?
[00:33:40] Alexander: That was also actually one of the things that I learned from Artie. He was all always collecting these stories. From across all kind of different parts of statistics. So whenever she talked to someone senior, let’s say, in manufacturing, in marketing, in market access, in operations, in manufacturing, in preclinical research. She came with an example of a statistician who had influenced and improved something in that area. That she could directly tell a story. Hey, perhaps did this, Jonah did this, Julie did this for your organization.
[00:34:27] Alun: And we had, I mentioned our head of product development in China. She did exactly the same when she was head of statistics. So I think that’s it’s good having those examples of where statisticians of steps up to be leaders. And that those are really good examples to quote to people, but also to they’re role models. I talk about role models. Role models are inspiring. So it’s being inspired by those role those particular role models.
[00:34:57] Alexander: So if you are a supervisor, collect these from your team. Yeah. So all the different stakeholders you talk to, you always have something to share. Okay, someone from my team did something for you. And also use this to speak to your team so that people see. What does good look like? It’s that I think is really inspiring. It shows what’s possible. It shows what good looks like. Of course, you need to adjust it to the different, experience levels, let’s say. You can’t, you. Ask for someone that is one year with a job to do something similar. What you just talked about with Casper? Yeah. Who works on a completely different experience level. Adjusted so that you have examples from all these different experience levels.
[00:35:51] Alun: And it’s interesting you mentioned you can’t do that with people one year in their job.
[00:35:56] Alexander: No. I, you can’t. You can, I just wanted to say, People with, the more people that grow, the bigger their influence will be. Yep. And so if you just speak about the Kasfar and the Ellens and these the people you know, see that have, 20 years of experience. That is not something that these kind of examples will not speak to those that are, just starting. Yeah. We all started smaller. We had, our, Our wins that were in our league at the time. And so you need to break it down through these different levels.
[00:36:31] Alun: We absolutely do, and I would encourage the statisticians out there that if they’re passionate, if they see a topic, and I’m not just saying a statistical topic, if they see a topic they’re passionate about that could have low influence in the farmer industry, then go out there. And evangelize and talk about it and be the leader in that particular topic. And one of the examples I’m gonna give actually the, I’m not gonna name the name, but that person’s not a statistician, but she was a placement student within our data sciences organization, and she was passionate about hearing disabilities. And so she started a a deaf community and also started getting people to learn about sign language and things like this. And you think to yourself where’s that gotta do with the pharma? It’s got massive implication for the pharma industry because it’s around that diversity piece.
[00:37:27] Alexander: Yeah.
[00:37:28] Alun: It’s massive. So if you are passionate about a particular piece, and by the way that’s been now been raised to a higher level, but that started with a placement student starting that and being much more influential in what she did for them. And so if you’re passionate about something, Talk about it. Go be a leader in that particular piece. I’m passionate about the environment. I’m often posting on various different places about my train journeys, for example, particularly to Basel. I’m passionate to the extent I follow through with all those things. How would it look now if I took the took a flight to Basel? There’s lack of consistency there. Nobody’s really gonna trust my viewpoint in that respect. But I’m, what I’m saying here is if you are passionate, start to be a leader in that particular field. Start to think of yourself as a leader and be a leader. And you don’t need to be told to do that. Just go and do it. You choose to be that leader. You don’t need to be put in a position of authority to do that.
[00:38:26] Alexander: Completely agree. Completely agree. And actually by doing, you will also learn a lot.
[00:38:34] Alun: Absolutely. Absolutely. It does. Yeah. I mentioned the environment. I dunno everything about the environment. There’s lots, I’m still learning. But I want to see myself as a leader in terms of environment. Yeah.
[00:38:46] Alexander: So doing is part of the learning. Of course, you can also train yourself. Yeah, I will get training on these kind of different things. There’s the effective statistician leadership programs that was designed specifically for you. It has lots of these kind of different case studies in it. It goes to all these different aspects that we talked about. It actually also starts a lot with understanding what leadership is. So probably you can skip faster through that part if you’re taking it. There, yeah are many podcasts, books, movies. All kind of different areas. There’s probably something in your organization already that you can have a look into.
[00:39:32] Alun: They’re absolute I completely agree. And I’m gonna add one more thing in there. Be curious. Be curious what happens And I’m curious at the moment, I’m doing a lot of work on how to com, how to look at military leadership and how that applies within the business. And most people say, yeah, but isn’t military command and control. To a certain extent you have a little bit of a hierarchy, but most of it, there’s a lot of trust and inspire in the air. And if you read the, there’s a great book called The Art of Action by Stephen Bange, the kaspar Rufibach mentioned to me and I’ve mentioned trust and inspired by Stephen ml Covey. There’s a Jocko willing the, I mentioned in my previous podcast, writes some fantastic books about leadership. And it’s not about command and control. In fact I’ve got a book my, my best friend’s a raw Navy officer I’m not gonna reveal his name on the podcast but I use a book I saw on his bookshelf. I went and bought the book because I was intrigued. It was around raw navy leadership. And it talks a lot about leadership. It talks about command being where you’ve been put into a position of command, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good leader. It still talks about leadership just because you’re put into a position of command, you doesn’t make you a fantastic leader, but you’ve still gotta be, you’ve gotta learn some of those leadership skills.
So there’s lots. I think there’s lots we can learn from the military. We can learn from military leaders. If you think about. A conflict situation, a battle situation, a leader has to trust those in the team. He, they have to, if they don’t trust them. It is a matter of life and death. So they have to be very trusting. Most of the very good military leaders are very trusting as well.
[00:41:23] Alexander: Simon Sinek actually talks quite a lot about this recently in lots of videos. And by the way, Stephen Bange was on this podcast as well talking about the action. So if you scroll a little bit back on your podcast play, you’ll actually step over this episode as well.
Okay. So we talked quite a lot about what is the next level of statistics where we can all have an impact and that we hope that lots of statisticians. Go into many senior positions and ultimately, hopefully a CEO position in our different organizations, and that there’s a couple of different ways that you can do it. The first that we talked about is change your mindset. Say you want to be a leader, decide to be a leader. Look for what kind of causes do you want to push forward? What kind of areas are you passionate about? And then lead the people around you that you can influence and move that forward, practice. But also, and also look into kind of Siri look into. Other areas outside of the pharmaceutical industry to learn about leadership because in the end it’s a lot about influencing people and influencing people is maybe a little bit generic. And you as statisticians have some specific capabilities that you will help you to influence other people around you much more. We actually have talked about this with Gary Sullivan on the podcast or on another podcast episode. So scroll back to this with Gary as well. So you’ll find more about leadership.
Leadership is always one of the key fundamental pillars here in the, in this podcast. So scroll back. You’ll find a lot. Okay, so Alun as we are wrapping up, what is, the one thing that you wanna take, the listener away from this episode.
[00:43:51] Alun: We talked a lot about trust and sorry, we talked about a lot about leadership.
Our reason I’m bringing in trust is I think trust is the backbone of leadership. And I’ve recently presented on this at the conference, statistical practice in San Francisco, a conference with a, with around I would say maybe 200 statisticians. I spoke to an audience of around 30 but it was a non-technical conference.
But the questions I had afterwards were incredible. I spoke for 30 minutes. I had at least 20 minutes worth of questions with other people coming back. So if I had to lead the listeners with one thing, it’s focus on building trust, focus on building trust. And as, as you build trust, you will be naturally become a leader, and you’ll be inspirational to others as well.
[00:44:40] Alexander: Completely agree. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks, Alun for being here on the show. Again,
[00:44:47] Alun: Thanks Alexander.
[00:44:48] Alexander: I’m looking forward. This will for sure not be the last one.
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