Do Leaders Really Need to Learn Statistics?

Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 8: I know that leadership needs to understand Six Sigma but is learning all these statistics really necessary? We’re not all statisticians nor do we want to be.

When leadership is first faced with Green Belt training, the statistics can be overwhelming. This may frustrate some leaders. A common reaction is to disclaim any applicability to their current function. Approaching the answer to this question from a ‘business knowledge’ perspective may be helpful. So, here’s what I say . . .

The purpose of learning and understanding statistical analysis is not to make everyone a statistician but to make everyone a better business leader. The topic of statistics and analytical thinking is part of almost every MBA curriculum and widely accepted as a fundamental skill in shaping a business leader. Green Belt training takes these fundamental analytical skills and applies them to improving business processes which, in today’s world, is every leaders job. So Green Belt training is not about “learning statistics.” It’s about helping leaders use data, statistics and analysis to make better business decisions.

Comments 5

  1. M Radhakrishnan

    As a leader we take decisions. whether right or wrong? we may choose to say that so called trail and error method. this could be very costly if the decisons are made wrong that too by leaders. hence statistic will really help leaders to take the right decision with better accurcay. they need not be masters in statistical application. even they do not have to prcatice themselves. at least the awareness of statistical tools and tests will provoke them to ask for decisions based on statistical tests.
    eg: If some one says that Advt in paper has yielded more sales. As a leader he can ask for DoE results to ascertain the results. right?. Decisions based on gut feelings/ so called experience will be avoided.

    for that simple reason, they need to be well aware of all statistics for better decision making

  2. /pd

    All leaders need to understand root basis for numbers. For a leader to make the right decesion he needs to be able to read and understand the numbers in his/her own playing field. Is stats important ?? It’s like asking the question, is a financial statement important for leaders /business owners. How did they learn to read those numbers on a b/s or P/L account eh??

  3. Arthur

    I agreed that leaders must have a better sense of statistics. In real business, there are some statistical figure which are really useless and nonsense sometimes. leaders should be able to identify which are the useful figure.

  4. Rozilee

    The answer is yes. As a decision maker, leader should be carefully aware about the business environment. Learning statistics is simple. Leaders should know the 5 principles of learning statistics i.e. "+", "-", "x", "/" and "square root".

    Some times people tend to sceptical about the power of the said principles.

  5. Mark Smith

    As for me, i think that real leader must to know, how to speak with everybody people. With managers, economists, engineers, with simple workers and all other. And yes, i he must understand the basics of the social relations.

    And i think, that about all this we can read in some articles of most popular people.
    One of them, in my opinion, is Alberto Vicentini .
    He is really great. And he knows all about relationship, management and leaders.

    I think, that his site will be useful for everybody, who want to be a leader.


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