Luck Equals Opportunities and Preparation

Have you ever wondered about the real factors that contribute to success in statistics?

Is it just luck, or is there something more to it?

In this episode, I explore the practical aspects of luck, opportunities, and preparation in the world of statistics.

How can strategic networking, targeted training, and building confidence influence your career trajectory?

Join me as I take a straightforward look at how these elements can impact your professional journey in statistics. Here are the key points:

  • Creating Opportunities through Networking: Networking played a pivotal role in my career shift from internal to external collaborations, notably joining the Benefit Risk Special Interest Group of ESFPI and PSI.
  • Providing Training as a Networking Opportunity: Providing training is a rewarding avenue, amplifying visibility and unlocking opportunities by showcasing expertise and building connections.
  • Opportunities Arising from Interesting Projects: Participating in impactful projects is transformative. Leading a digitalization effort in my career enabled hosting a companywide event on data visualization, fostering lasting connections and future collaborations. 
  • External Collaborations and Conferences: External collaborations, like special interest groups and conferences, are key for expanding networks. Go beyond talks – actively network with key figures. 
  • Preparation and Confidence: Boost confidence by maintaining a daily achievements diary and reflecting on past successes. Essential for career progression is investing in leadership and presentation skills. 
  • Encouraging Opportunities Within Teams: Leaders, empower your teams to seize opportunities and thrive within a conducive culture.

So, my fellow statisticians, as you navigate the twists and turns of your statistical career, remember that luck favors the prepared.

Actively create opportunities through networking, training, engaging in exciting projects, and building confidence. Be proactive, invest in your skills, and be ready to seize those lucky moments.

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Luck Equals Opportunities and Preparation

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of The Effective Statistician and this is another short Friday episode. So stay tuned. I recently listened to a podcast. I’m a big podcast fan, of course, given that I run my own podcast. And that podcast guest or host was speaking about opportunities and luck. And he clearly said that, well, Luck very often is just that prepared people created lots of opportunities and that gave them the chances to move forward, to jump into a new role, to get a great project, to get a promotion, whatsoever, all these kind of different things.

[00:00:52] And I very much believe that Luck meets those that have a [00:01:00] prepared mind and that create opportunities. Now, how do you create opportunities? Well, I think one of the really important things about creating opportunities is that you need to make sure that you meet a lot of people. Meeting people and meeting new people very often comes with new opportunities.

[00:01:27] I can think about one example for me. At one point in my career, I was mostly focusing on company internal networking. And I said, there must be more than just this kind of internal focus. I need to get a little bit more external focus. So I joined the Benefit Risk Special Interest Group of ESFPI and PSI.

[00:01:52] And by the way, PSI is I’m doing this podcast together with PSI, an association, [00:02:00] and they have lots of great Special interest groups, just check these out. There’s surely something for you. Membership, by the way, is free. So the, I joined this special interest group and through that got a lot of opportunities to present at conferences, to work together with interesting people. to be included in a project that assessed various benefit risk approaches for the German HTA system. And at one point, the former SIG chair stepped down and Yeah, I grabbed the opportunity to become the sixth chair. And through that, my network grew even further. And now I had the opportunity to directly work with the PSI conference to get a conference session there and all these kind of things.

[00:02:53] And that helped to become a speaker at the conference and all these kind of different things. And [00:03:00] so this is really where you can create opportunity. By the way, if you hear some drops in the background, I’m recording this podcast episode actually from my car. And it’s just raining and you may hear a little bit of rain in the background.

[00:03:18] So a little bit of different atmosphere. So. This is how you can create more opportunities by doing more networking, by networking internally, meeting more people. One of the common recommendations that I do in all the different leadership courses that I run is that I encourage people to Have coffee chats with people or have lunch chats with people, meet for lunch with kind of various different people across the organization.

[00:03:54] Very often through these might be opportunities for collaboration or [00:04:00] for these kind of things. And very often they can be opportunities for one of the best opportunity creator that I very, very often speak about. And that is training. So not you. Getting training, but you providing training. Providing training about what you know, about statistics, about data, about external publications, about internal publications, about estimates, data visualization, all these kind of different things.

[00:04:34] If you can provide training on that, that is an awesome networking opportunity. Another opportunity are meetings with External European leaders, that is always a great opportunity because through these you will get even more exposure. I once did a presentation at an, at such an [00:05:00] advisory board and that was so well received that I got standing ovations.

[00:05:06] Now the good thing was, within the room was also at the time the head of the European, Affiliates. So all the European people reported into that person, and that was, of course, awesome for me, because That way, I had a very, very strong advocate, and he was able to help with lots of different interesting projects, and these in turn helped me to become promoted.

[00:05:38] Another great opportunity for collaboration, networking, and getting even more opportunities are interesting projects. So, what is an interesting project? An interesting project is a project that helps you to get more exposure, more visibility. [00:06:00] Because creating opportunities is really a lot about visibility.

[00:06:04] Yeah? If you work on a project that nobody really cares about, That’s a bad project. That’s not an interesting project. If you have a project that is really in the focus, and you get a lot of attention by upper management, that makes things so much easier. Because if you speak to upper management, everybody in your, direct line of reports, yeah, so your supervisor, your supervisor, supervisor, and so on. They will all be really, really interested in what you’re saying. So that gets you even more opportunities. Of course, only if you don’t mess up, that’s clear. But also projects that are more about. Across the company, across the department, all these kind of different things also give you more visibility.

[00:06:56] I was once responsible [00:07:00] for a certain part within a companywide digitalization effort and I used that to create a big companywide event where we talked about data visualization and that gave me lots of visibility and lots of opportunities to even further, collaborate. And I met lots of great people that I’m still connected today and that still helped me do all kinds of different things today.

[00:07:34] I already talked about external collaborations in terms of these special interest groups. But there’s many more such external collaborations that you could be on. For example, organizing conferences, organizing events, these kind of things. By the way, conferences are in itself a great opportunity. So if you’re going to a conference, especially a medical [00:08:00] conference, don’t Let’s say, waste your time just sitting in all kinds of different talks. Network. Meet key opinion leaders. Meet the important people that are from your organizations there. There might be very, very senior people there that you will have the opportunity to talk to be in the same room with when they talk to key opinion leaders. All these kinds of different things. These are outstanding networking events and networking opportunities that will give you more visibility. Now, this is about creating opportunities, creating visibility. The other thing is, of course, you also need to be prepared. For then, see opportunities and seize these opportunities. It is one thing to see an opportunity. It’s another thing to have the courage to stand up and go for it.

 [00:09:00] And here, you need… Confidence, self-confidence, and you need courage. Now, where do you get that from? Well, you get that from making sure that you reinforce and think about all your successes. What you have done in the past. If you listen to this podcast, you probably have a master in statistics, a PhD in statistics, or these kind of things.

[00:09:26] This is already quite phenomenal. Think about how many people in the world really understand what you understand. You have probably mastered lots of challenging projects. You have done probably many different publications, all these kind of different things. And if you’re early in your career and you don’t…

[00:09:47] Haven’t done that. You have probably done some other awesome stuff. So make a list of all these awesome things that you have achieved. [00:10:00] Make a list of the great stories that you have lived through. And from now on, create a diary where you every day, write down what was your biggest achievement. What are the things you were really proud about?

[00:10:20] I very often recommend this to people in my leadership courses to note down one thing that they did that day in terms of leadership or the previous day. Whenever you do your diary, maybe you do it in the evening after work or maybe in the morning and you reflect on the day before. This is just 2, 3 minutes to jot down what was your success.

[00:10:48] And… Very often this will be little things. Yes, this will not be kind of I Stopped the stupid study or I Did this awesome [00:11:00] presentation to the CEO or these kind of things. Very often these will be little things like I made progress in terms of building connection to this important stakeholder. Yeah, write these down and then you will see over time how that will help you build confidence.

[00:11:20] The other thing that you will always need if you want to. See these bigger opportunities, you will always need more leadership skills. Every bigger opportunity will come with more leadership skills. For me, for example, it was taking on this chair of the special interest group. I’ve never done that before.

[00:11:44] Did I know that I can do it? Not sure. But I said, well, let’s give it a try. And I had the courage to say, yes, I’ll do that. And I got support from all the other people, [00:12:00] and then, actually, it was really a lot of fun. Was it also additional work? Yes, but it was also a lot of fun. So invest in your leadership skills.

[00:12:12] Many companies already have contracts with Gary and myself. And then we have the opportunity to provide people within these different leadership training, if your company doesn’t yet have such an agreement with Gary and myself, just reach out to Gary Sullivan or myself.

[00:12:32] If your organization does not yet have an agreement with either Gary or myself, or actually the both of us, or you don’t have any contact, then reach out to Gary Sullivan or myself and we can actually organize something. One of the key things that you will always need are presentation skills. The more senior you get, the more you will need to present [00:13:00] ideas. From your team, from yourself, from your group, from your projects, to other people, and you need to convince through presentation skills. And in our leadership program, we focus a lot on presenting data and presenting ideas and convincing people. And… I’ll also speak later in this podcast and other episodes about this, but really invest in your leadership skills.

[00:13:31] Yeah, maybe of course there’s our program, but if there’s another leadership course within your company, take it. Even if you have done it in the past, do it again and use all the different opportunities for providing presentations. So, that is, creating opportunities and being prepared to seize these is one of [00:14:00] an important part of your strategy to move forward, to create an idea to move forward.

[00:14:08] and to have impact. This is for yourself, for your team, for your department, or if you’re running a company, then also for your company. And this needs to be there not just for you, but also for all the people in your team. If you’re leading a team, these people also need to have these opportunities to grow.

[00:14:34] So you need to help them to create these opportunities. This is really, really important, especially if you run, for example, a small CRO, you need to have, not just rely on the opportunities that you as the owner or what your marketing team is or your sales team has, [00:15:00] all the different people in your organization can create opportunities and can seize opportunities, but I see it again and again that People are not encouraged to do so, and I just don’t understand that.

[00:15:15] So if you also want to learn more about strategy, if you want to learn more about improving The impact of your organization, by the way, in December, we will have a three-day workshop in Frankfurt live where we talk about strategy and how to implement it. And so if you’re around, if you want to come to Frankfurt for these three days, 12th, 13th, and 14th of December. Then just connect with me on LinkedIn or write me a message and then we can have a discussion about this. So, with that, as a summary, create more [00:16:00] opportunities, do more networking, and prepare yourself for seizing these opportunities. Invest in your leadership skills. Have a great day, have a great weekend, and be an effective statistician.

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