The good news from this year’s confidence report is that the laboratory industry, by and large, is moving in the right direction—forward—though in slightly smaller steps than we would have hoped. But as author Angelo DePalma writes in this month’s cover story, “Steady as She Goes,” “Survival is not a dirty word in a world recovering from catastrophic financial shenanigans, and toward that end treading water is not such a terrible strategy.” If you didn’t participate in this year’s survey, let me know if these results are in line with your own feeling of confidence as you head into 2013.
Managing relationships can be challenging, especially if those relationships affect business outcomes. One particularly complex and potentially vexing relationship is that between a lab manager and his or her equipment vendors. In “The Procurement Dilemma,” author Key Kidder explains that, unlike in the past when buyers generally called the shots, a new paradigm has emerged that is less adversarial and more mutually beneficial. “As lab managers and suppliers work together and deliver on what’s promised, trust builds and the quality of their information sharing improves, enhancing performance.”
Relationships among coworkers can also be difficult at times, with most managers believing it is their job to maintain peace in the kingdom by squelching any and all conflicts. However, this month’s Lab Manager Academy article, “Resolving Conflict in the Workplace,” takes the opposite tack. Author and speaker Michael Soon Lee says, “Successful organizations embrace conflict as an inevitable product of diverse human beings working together. Smart leaders encourage differences of opinions and work styles as a way to increase creativity.” This month’s Leadership & Staffing article, “Motivate Your Lab,” looks at the most challenging issue facing every manager, which is how to get the most out of your team without micromanaging them. Learn about some “recent research on keeping people motivated [that] is providing new explanations for some old tenets of good management.”
For the past five years, the March issue of Lab Manager has provided a preview of the technologies being introduced at that year’s Pittsburgh Conference. This year is no different. Go here for a sampling of the equipment, software, services and consumables you will be seeing later this month in Philadelphia. When you’re at the show, please be sure to sign up for this year’s Lab Manager Bootcamp, “Nonverbal Communication: The Hidden Message,” on Tuesday, March 19th from 1 to 5 p.m. Also, please stop by the Lab Manager booth (# 3639) to say hello.
On a separate and sad note, in late January, we lost a very dear friend to the magazine— John K. Borchardt. His knowledge of both science and laboratory management was immense and his indomitable spirit remarkable. We will miss him very much.
Correction: On page 50 of the January/February issue, we mistakenly described the features of Sartorius’ Secura® line of analytical and top-loading balances. Instead of “one-touch level control,” that line features LevelControl, a visual display for guidance to level the balance.