Leaders are persistent

What makes persistence one of the most important factors of being a leader?
How does persistence among leaders in statistics affect the results of their work?
How could persistence translate into understandable and actionable results?
How can a persistent leader drive change?
How does clear vision help leaders develop persistence in reaching their goals?

Even in the face of difficult barriers, a persistent leader does not give up. This short but rich conversation between Gary and me introduces the meaning of leadership and how persistence shapes its value. Looking into the examples of Martin Luther King and Ernest Hemingway, this podcast will teach you how history proves that persistence among leaders goes a long way in promoting change and development across the globe.

Learn from Gary and me as we talk about persistence and how it can make leadership among statisticians more effective.

Here are some key lessons you can learn from this episode:

  • Persistence helps break the barriers between statisticians and their stakeholders
  • With the right persistence, clinical research can lead to remarkable changes in healthcare
  • Persistent leadership drives more effective results that bring efficient adjustments
  • With persistence comes conviction, making every leaders statistician be convincing enough to bring people to act upon the changes

Head on to the podcast, share with your friends and colleagues, and learn more from this podcast today.


[00:00:00] Alexander: You’re listening to the Effective Statistician Podcast, the weekly podcast with Alexander Schacht and Benjamin Piske. Designed to help you reach your potential, lead great science, and serve patients without becoming overwhelmed by work. Today we are talking about. Leaders are persistent. It’s a really nice story behind the scenes and that inspired Gary and myself for this episode, actually more me since and Gary but you’ll learn about this later on.

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Welcome to another episode. Today I’m talking again with Gary about leadership. This is second episode where we dive deeper into characteristics of leaders. Gary, what are we talking about today?

[00:02:15] Gary Sullivan: Yeah. Today we’re gonna talk about leaders being persistent and the importance of being persistent.

And you had posted something on LinkedIn a week ago or so shared a story about the importance of being persistent that in an experience that you had that really had an impact on you. So why don’t we start by, by having you. Share that story and then we can get into discussing the importance of persistence for statisticians.

[00:02:39] Alexander: Yeah. Earlier this year I visited Z Book, and if you don’t know what that is, that’s castle pretty much in the middle of Germany medieval castle, and it is known for two things. I don’t wanna go into the first thing, but the second thing, A very famous person was hiding a wave there for 10 months, and that famous person was Martin Luta.

So as he was speaking about his ideas, of course he got a lot of critique for them. And there were some that even wanted to kill him. And so there was this one erect Ascr said, Hey, you can have my castle and stay in there. And he stayed in there under the wrong name. And he used this time to translate the Bible.

And when I visited this castle, this little room where I was sitting and working, translating the Bible from Latin into plain German, the Germans that was spoken at the time, he was sitting there and this is still there. You can still see the desk and so chair. Yeah. And I was thinking like, wow. I find that just reading this book is, takes a lot of effort.

Get it alone, translating it, and so it’s a huge effort to stay in this room for 10 months, translating the Bible and thinking, also making it in such a way that it’s really understandable. And this little, not little thing, but the kind of this 10 months effort really changed the world.

At least the Christian world had turned it upside down because thereafter, because also book printing was just invented this book today, we would say went viral. Yeah. So it was sold and read all across Germany and thereafter also translated in other language. And I think that shows that persistence, keeping up on it, not giving up is really a key trait of leaders.

there’s this funny story that the must says that at one point. The devil was entering this small office and was trying to distract him from translating the Bible. And he was throwing his input at him. And since the input, hits the wall and there was this big kind of, ink all over the world, and people would search forces ink for decades.

For centuries. Yeah. And, but it, for me, It shows that even if there’s major distractions, if you, even if there’s major barriers, like this person was, on a, manhunt. Yeah. And he was still persistent. He was still going forward with it. He was a. Just believing he needs to further go over, over all these barriers.

And that’s what really inspired me to become more persistent in my challenges because they’re surely not, as, big as what Martin Luther

[00:05:56] Gary Sullivan: Faced. Yeah, there’s a lot of, I think great learnings in that story. And one. I guess I will say is we’re not advocating that you lock yourself away for 10 months, , cause you’re in a much different situation.

But I think that the lessons there are really good from a standpoint of persistence. And like you said, that there are going to be just as you told the story about the devil and the distraction that, that once you have an idea or when you’re trying to move forward an initiative or a policy or just a project.

There, there needs to be focus and you need to be persistent. And there are going to be barriers. There are going to be distractions, there are going to be setbacks. And if you think about this from a standpoint of, for example, a technical statistician that let’s suppose that we can talk through a couple examples, but, let’s suppose you have an idea and there’s a couple places you need to persist.

One. The first thing is to sell people on that idea. Okay? So you’ll need to make a proposal and convince people that it’s something worth pursuing. But then even if you do that, and that may require persistence, I remember just trying to get at the time, this was back years ago when I was a technical statistician, I was trying to get our quality director to attend some variability training.

That was it. It talked about the importance of variability as we, as some as Deming’s, philosoph. And I remember meeting with him. It took three meetings with him and I finally convinced him and he said, okay, I’ll go. Okay, . And when he came back from the first day he had only committed to going to the first half day of this three day training.

And then he said after he went to the first half day, he called his. His administrative assistant and he said, clear my calendar for the next two days I’m staying. Okay. So again, it’s just that type of a persistence just to convince someone to do something. It may take several efforts but even after you do that and then comes the All right, now you need to argue for resources.

So if you convince them with your idea, then a lot of times it may be, your time or other people’s time or money. Okay. And then that’s another challenge. And even if you get that thought into, then you have to come up with a plan, a strategy of execution, of implementation. And that’s going to have challenges.

So again, you need to keep persisting through these things and then you need to see it through you need. To put it in place and communicate it all right. And there could be challenges there. So again, this theme of persistence it’s present in, in so many things that, that we do. And again it’s keep moving forward in the face of distractions, in the face of setback.

So I don’t know if there’s any other examples you have, Alexander? Yeah,

[00:08:42] Alexander: I just wanted to talk about the distractions. We can get very easily distracted by all the kind of day-to-day activities. Yeah. And by yet another email and yet another meeting and the social media posts that came up and all kind of different things have us focus on your goal.

The other thing is become clear. Why you want to achieve it. That helps you to stay persistent. If you, if it’s not meaningful for you, why should you achieve it? Yeah. Why should you battle all these barriers? Only if you are clear on why you want to do it. That is where a lot of the energy, some motivation comes from.

I had one example where, I once saw this Hunts Roling video where he speaks about the whole sense of World of Nations, and he has this animated scatter plot bubble chart where you can see how over the last century, the whole sense of world of the nations generally very much improved.

Awesome data visualization. And I always thought, I think that is something that we could really apply within clinical research as well, especially thought about these kind of things like if we have changes from baseline in terms of continuous measurements. Set is so badly displayed, so just lying graphs or bar charts and, but you never see really the richness of the data.

And I was playing with this idea for actually for a couple of years looking into different scenarios and then I was on this new drugs that was working really well. And that’s where the time came and I said, okay. I’ll go for it, I’ll present it. And that then led to, lots of success with this data visualization.

It took years to get to it. I never forgot about it. I used it again and again. I had different approaches with different studies and people never really worked out. But then at the end it worked out and it pulled me forward or pushed me forward quite a.

[00:10:59] Gary Sullivan: Yeah, I can think of a couple different things.

One was more a technical problem just implementing a standardized type of analysis and automating it. And that’s something that a lot of people do, but the same types of things. First you need to, hone in on how you’re gonna do it from a technical standpoint. Then you need to convince the people around you that are gonna do the same thing, that this is the best way to do things.

Then you need. Automated again, get, getting the resources and putting the automation in place. And then we had to write a procedure and circulate that. And this was all with a team of people. So it’s that persistence of pushing through and you’ll meet people sometimes that are really good at maybe one or a couple of those things, and that’s okay.

for example, some people might have good ideas, but you need to maybe put some other people around them that then can sell those ideas or people around them that can get the resources or someone who’s more an operational type person who can execute on the plan. But behind all this is a persistence of keep pushing forward with.

The goal, the problem, and whether it’s something technical, I can think of other more administrative types of initiatives. For example, like putting a training plan in place for our non statistical customers, again, starts with a vision. Then you have to put it on paperwork with other people.

Come to finalize th this is what we want. These are some of the things we want to put in place. But you have to keep going. You’ve gotta get resources. You’ve gotta get people then to dedicate to developing the training, implementing the training, setting expectations, communicating. There’s a persistence behind all this that that sits and is actually required for the implementation of any good idea.

[00:12:46] Alexander: So whenever you start something just. This kind of barriers to come up. Some you can foresee, some others will come out of nowhere. Never assumes that it will be easy. It rarely is. And so set yourself up for being persistent. Yeah. Yeah. Or expecting

[00:13:08] Gary Sullivan: challenges. . Yeah. One other I think aspect of that story, which is really interesting and I think, again, this speaks to the importance of doing this, and I had a similar experience when I went down to the Florida Keys in Key West and visited Ernest Hemingway’s home.

And as part of the tour, you got to see where he would do most of his writing. And it was this very kind of a humble little office. It was on the second floor. He had a nice property down. But it really speaks to the idea of taking time to think. Okay. Both in the case of Martin Luther, in the case of Ernest Hemingway they had other things I’m sure they were doing in interest, at least in, in Hemingway’s case.

I know that was true. But at some point you need to have the time to think, to put pen to paper or fingers to a computer, or just ideas on a page. So that personal reflection time again, as we talk about is always important. That alone time that’s where ideas start. And then that’s where they can continue to flourish too.

So making sure that you spend the time to think to put a plan in place and maybe keep coming back to that as well. Yep.

[00:14:16] Alexander: Having a plan, sticking to it, adjusting to it, going back to it again and again is absolutely necessary to be persistent. Thanks so much, Gary. Second was awesome, and so if you want to learn more about leadership, check out everything about leadership on the Effective Decision homepage, and we also have a really nice program, so it helps you to become a better leader.

And that you can check out on the homepage. Thanks so much. All right.

If you’re listening this before mid-October 2022, really act fast. Go to the effective ation.com and check out the leadership program. There’s not enough. A lot of time left says the show was created in association with PSI. Thanks to Reine and her team at VVS who help with assurance background. And thank you for listening.

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