Monday, May 22, 2006
But just what do bosses do with the other 95% of their time? Dumbfounder Bosses spend a chunk of that time doing just the opposite—figuring out how to make figures lie. Dumbfounder Bosses are not interested in determining the right calculations; they want calculations that measure things in ways that make them look good.
Here's a brief description of the Dumbfounder Boss excerpted from Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Boss? 13 Types and How to Survive Them (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0741426692/qid=1136120317/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-8343673-7077624?n=507846&s=books&v=glance):
"Dumbfounder Bosses…present their results in convincing but misleading ways that can dumbfound their audience. They omit information that suggests they are not as successful as their numbers indicate.
"Dumbfounder Bosses challenge the people who report to them to find ways to 'make the numbers look good' rather than to find ways to improve quality or do a better job. They say things like:
· 'Just look at my numbers if you want to see how well I'm doing.'
· 'Figures don't lie.'
· 'Here it is in black and white.'
· 'If we had a problem, I'd be the first to know.'
· 'Find a way to get these numbers up.'
· 'Don't let me hear about any problems with our results.'
· 'Find a way around it.' "
If you think you'd like to print the Harvard article and send it to your boss's boss to expose statistical shenanigans, think again—it's often the boss's boss who insists on numbers that tell the story the big boss will like to hear.
Kudos to Harvard for trying to teach managers how to develop accurate statistics, but I wonder if they really want to learn?