You CAN be a good manager only if you are comfortable with numbers!

This post is a formal entry for the InsideIIM ‘Great Indian B-School debate’ 2014

Name: Premanand S

Team Name: Transformers

Team Mate’s name: V R Arun Prasad

Article refuted:

Developing strong business acumen and expertise over numbers means having an acute perception of the dimensions of business issues, being decisive and can make sense out of complexity and an uncertain future. This ability and knowledge leads managers to make better tradeoffs focused on creating value.

Management processes are tools that revolve around procedures and ideas that give structure to the Organizational thinking and communication about business activities. Common management processes include strategic planning, decision making systems, performance measurement systems and so on. Irrespective of the process or function a manager is working for, having an upper hand in numbers is critical to make sense to the business and each of these management processes.

Managers are expected to have good decision making ability and be a calculated risk taker, any organization would expect him to do and be so only after a solid ground work done on numbers and facts and not just only with the “qualitative attributes” possessed by him.

Analytical skills in management are often defined as the ability to break problems into parts to see relationships or interdependencies. Managers with analytical abilities plan well and lead projects successfully. They are able to accurately forecast financial results and develop plans to meet goals and objectives. Analytical leaders work with their people to plan and create action plans for their areas of responsibility and work to accomplish these goals. Managers who possess analytical skills systematically accomplish their plans and logically produce predictable results

A manager’s analytical skills are frequently used to solve problems. Much like a detective, a manager is often called upon to solve business problems. When units are not performing as expected or a crisis develops in an important location, managers must use their analytical skills, especially questioning and researching, to determine what is actually causing the problem. Once a problem is analyzed and a potential cause is determined, a manager must select the appropriate solution to implement. Problem-solving skills are an important tool for the analytical manager

In the world of organizations and corporate culture which are completely driven by metrics, to be able to thrive and lead is possible only if a manger sounds factual and logical. As a person climbs up the ladder of his career, his social style takes a shift from being an Expresser to being more Analytical. Data Analysis is one of the motivations Managers have. They should study decision making and it is very much about the biases people have in their intuitions. These intuitions are hard to root out. Bringing some data to the process and enabling more systematic decision making, more systematic analysis, is one way of doing it. It does not mean that data will give 100% discretion on what is the right thing to be done, but can use to inform the decisions. So to have some analytical rigor informing that discussion would be better than most processes that do not have it.

About me: Having work experience of over 5 years, I am currently pursuing my Post Graduate Program for Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing (PGPEX-VLM) at IIM, Calcutta


Prem Anand

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