What does it truly take to be a leader in the fields of statistics, data science, or programming?

Is it just about mastering complex skills and techniques?

In this eye-opening episode, I challenge the conventional view of leadership.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where speaking up could change everything but felt overwhelmed by the risk?

Through a personal narrative, I reveal how making the choice to speak out, despite the stakes, defines true leadership more than any skill could.

Join me as we dive into how such pivotal decisions can not only shape careers but also influence the core values of an organization.

Here are the key points from this episode:

  • Leadership Choice
  • Speaking Up
  • Career Impact
  • Ethical Backbone
  • Risk and Courage
  • Organizational Influence
  • Self-Reflection
  • Statistical Leadership

This episode will surely inspire you to embrace the power of choice in leadership. Leadership isn’t just about the skills you possess; it’s about the decisions you bravely make that truly define your role. Tune in to discover how speaking up can transform your career and strengthen your organization.

Please share this episode with friends and colleagues who could also benefit from these insights. Together, let’s empower more leaders to make impactful choices!

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One Thing You Need As A Leader, That Is Not A Skill But A Choice. 

[00:00:00] Alexander: There’s one thing that you need as a statistical leader, as a leader in data science, or as a leader in programming, or any other [00:00:10] quantitative science, that is not a skill. It is a choice. Let me tell you a little bit about a story to give [00:00:20] you a little bit of an insight into what choice I mean, actually.

[00:00:26] Alexander: So you will sooner or later [00:00:30] always have a similar story. where you have similar feelings and where similar things are at stake in [00:00:40] your career, sooner or later. So the following story. I once worked for a business development [00:00:50] project and so at the end of the project there was a very senior round that got together [00:01:00] and there was for examples VP of my function in this meeting and so a couple of levels above me and his [00:01:10] boss and his peers.

[00:01:12] Alexander: And they were talking about this new development opportunity and whether they should invest [00:01:20] there. So this was not about, you know, just a couple of millions, this was actually quite a lot of money. Yeah. A couple of millions is also a lot of money. [00:01:30] And during this time, there was a mention about design features that we could use to [00:01:40] improve the probability of success.

[00:01:42] Alexander: And that feature got mentioned by the VP of statistics. So, my step, step, [00:01:50] step, step supervisor. Much, much higher, and I understood that this design feature will actually [00:02:00] not improve the probability of success. And I went and said, VP said that, and I was thinking like, no, [00:02:10] this is wrong. I was thinking like, what do I do now?

[00:02:16] Alexander: Do I speak up and [00:02:20] tell to my Step, step, step, step, supervisor’s supervisor said my VP of statistics is wrong, [00:02:30] or do I just shut up and think like, well, I don’t want to expose myself. It [00:02:40] took me minutes. And the call was nearly over when I [00:02:50] got the courage to actually speak up and say that, yeah, we can do this feature, and it has these [00:03:00] opportunities and these benefits, and it will not

[00:03:04] Alexander: That was a choice to speak up. It’s not a skill. [00:03:10] Of course you can learn to speak up and tell the truth in such a way that people can better live with it. That [00:03:20] people can hear it. All these kind of different things. Still, there is a choice that you need to make to act despite [00:03:30] the fear. And believe me, I was nervous.

[00:03:34] Alexander: I was really, really fearful. Is that the end of my career at this [00:03:40] company? Fortunately, it wasn’t. It was not. Yeah, that higher up manager was completely fine with how I [00:03:50] explained it and there was no repercussions whatsoever. Will that always be the case? Probably not. I definitely [00:04:00] had other situations where it was not the case.

[00:04:03] Alexander: Still, I love much more the Alexander that talked up. [00:04:10] Because I also know the Alexander, you know. that didn’t speak up, that didn’t say something. And these [00:04:20] situations are things I’m not proud about. These are the situations where I didn’t found the courage and yet I found [00:04:30] excuses. Ah, this other person will know about it.

[00:04:34] Alexander: Ah, it will not be that bad. Ah, I maybe don’t have time. Maybe I [00:04:40] don’t have the experience. Maybe I’m wrong. All kind of different things. It is so easy for us to not speak up [00:04:50] and then rationalize about it. Come up with excuses. Now this will not help. This will not help with the [00:05:00] team. The company, the patients, ultimately.

[00:05:06] Alexander: And so, if you want to improve [00:05:10] something, if you want to change something, or if you want to stop, you know, certain things that are actually really, really bad, [00:05:20] you will need to expose yourself and you will need to become visible. That is part of statistical leadership, [00:05:30] and that has nothing to do with your title.

[00:05:34] Alexander: That has nothing to do with how many direct reports you have. It has something to do [00:05:40] with what kind of a statistician, data scientist, or programmer you want to be. On which values do you make your [00:05:50] decisions? I suggest you have a look into your past. What are the decisions you are proud about? [00:06:00] What are the decisions you’re not proud about?

[00:06:03] Alexander: What were these stories where you said something, you [00:06:10] acted despite the fear? Where did you get that courage from? Get more courage from there. [00:06:20] Become a statistical leader. That will make a huge difference in your team, in your organization, and if we all do [00:06:30] that, it will have a huge impact on society.

Join The Effective Statistician LinkedIn group

I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

I work to achieve a future in which everyone can access the right evidence in the right format at the right time to make sound decisions.

When my kids are sick, I want to have good evidence to discuss with the physician about the different therapy choices.

When my mother is sick, I want her to understand the evidence and being able to understand it.

When I get sick, I want to find evidence that I can trust and that helps me to have meaningful discussions with my healthcare professionals.

I want to live in a world, where the media reports correctly about medical evidence and in which society distinguishes between fake evidence and real evidence.

Let’s work together to achieve this.