Professor Maurizio Poli mentions in the Article
“In 2014, you cannot be an effective manager without being comfortable with numbers”
Sir being a esteemed faculty makes a strong argument for the case of Modelling, Simulation Techniques, Forecasting Analysis, Business Intelligence, Project Management and Data Analysis to Quantitative Instruments for financial planning and valuation.
However, the managerial role is not just limited to playing around with numbers. The prime role of a manager is to take decisions. And numbers are not the food for every decision that a manager makes.
Take the case of Human Resource Managers who are responsible for recruitment for an organization. When an HR manager interviews a prospective employee, he/she is only concerned with his qualitative abilities such as confidence, positive attitude, organizational citizenship behaviour etc. These qualities are not quantifiable but are are the most critical qualities that help in justifying a selection. The numbers in terms of grades and experience can only put the case forward. But a prudent HR manager would never take a decision based on numbers alone.
Also, in financial firms, the reports such as Income Statement, Balance Sheet etc are loaded with numbers and one is expected to judge the performance of a company by these numbers. The accounting information again, consists of only quantifiable information about the company. It does not indicate whether the risk taking ability of the top management, whether the company is driven by the objective of providing high levels of employee satisfaction or maximizing the profits. So, the numbers present an incomplete picture about the company. And we know how dangerous half information can be...
For the sake of argument, even if we concede that numbers are important, that being comfortable with numbers would make a good manager is still not a given. If the manager lacks basic communication skills, he/she is less likely to be able to communicate the sense of those numbers to others. Likewise, if he doesn't have an open outlook, those numbers may represent only one side of the story. And incorrect decisions will be made on incomplete information. Likewise, skills such as conflict resolution or time management have nothing to do with numbers.
Thus it can safely be said, that a good manager has to be much more than someone merely comfortable with numbers.
This is an official entry for The Great Indian Debate competition.
Team Name: One Legged Horse
Tteam Mate: Snehil Agrawal
College: IIM Ranchi