Lab Management Matters

Marital Status – Another Issue for Lab Managers?

by John K. Borchardt
It’s widely known that unemployment creates strain on marriage even when both partners work. New Ohio State University research on employment and divorce suggests that pressure on husbands to be wage earners remains. The focus of Liana Sayer&rs

Taking Responsibility: Essential for Good Decision-making

by John K. Borchardt
More evidence of poor decision-making as a cause for the Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout recently emerged. The sorry situation holds valuable lessons for lab managers.   Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy noted, “It&

Dealing with Unplanned Early Retirement

by John K. Borchardt
Many laboratory professionals – and their managers – would like to delay their retirements. I wrote about this in an earlier blog. However, this is often not an option for scientists, engineers and technicians who lost their laboratory jo

Avoiding Scope Creep in Technical Service Work

by John K. Borchardt
Scope creep refers to uncontrolled changes in a technical service project's scope. These can swell the amount of work associated with the project. This makes the project take longer and cost more than anticipated. When this occurs neither you nor

Developing Managers for Emerging Economy Operations

by John K. Borchardt
The era of the Western expatriate manager is ending argues Jeffrey Joerres, CEO of the global staffing firm Manpower, Inc. in the May 2011 McKinsey Monthly Newsletter. It’s time for a local approach, he says.   Why is this? Accordi

Double Dip Recession

by John K. Borchardt
Throughout the summer economists have voiced disappointment in the U.S. economy. Recovery from the recession appears to have been losing steam. The Dow Jones barometer of the stock market has lost 1,000 points over couple of months. The S&P has a

Penny-wise, Pound-foolish?

by John K. Borchardt
Are lab managers being penny-wise and pound-foolish in not hiring contractors to perform work that needs to be done but that their own staff can’t handle in a first-class manner because they are already over-worked?   By the number

Employee Engagement and Workplace Stress

by John K. Borchardt
Encouraging employee engagement is a hot topic for lab managers and human resources specialists. Employees psychologically committed to their jobs are more productive and easier to manage. Yet there is a downside to high employee engagement as well.

Don’t Be Overly Commercial in Your Conference Presentations

by John K. Borchardt
Speaking at an international conference, the speaker had just completed a well-organized, polished presentation. Yet there was almost no applause. In contrast to the many questions other speakers received after their presentations, this speaker didn&

Offshore Oil Platforms Make Novel Laboratories

by John K. Borchardt
  Deep water offshore oil and gas platforms can lead double lives from the time when drilling begins to after the wells are depleted and oil and gas production shut down. Platforms house the people and equipment to drill the well s and produ

Offshore Oil Platforms Make Novel Labs

by John K. Borchardt
  Deep water offshore oil and gas production platforms can lead double lives from the time of their installation to after the wells are depleted and oil and gas production shut down. Platforms house the people and equipment to produce oil an

Helping Staff Members Overcome Job Security Jitters

by John K. Borchardt
Employees – and lab managers as well – worried about being laid off seldom perform at their best. If many lab staff members are worried about keeping jobs, job security jitters affect overall lab productivity and morale.   Th

Look for Enthusiasm in Job Candidates

by John K. Borchardt
  Hiring managers should look for enthusiasm in job candidates during screening and on-site interviews. Enthusiasm indicates job candidates are interested in working for the employer and excited about their profession. This enthusiasm is usu

Accomplishing More with Less

by John K. Borchardt
The U.S. Navy offers an interesting lesson to laboratories on how to get more work done with reduced staffing levels. During the Cold War guided missile cruisers were manned by 380 people. Today those same cruisers are manned by 310 people. Future cr

Helping Staff Members Overcome Job Security Jitters

by John K. Borchardt
Employees – and lab managers as well – worried about being laid off seldom perform at their best. If many lab staff members are worried about keeping jobs, job security jitters affect overall lab productivity and morale.   Th

More Lab Layoffs?

by John K. Borchardt
Throughout the spring economists have voiced disappointment in the U.S. economy. Recovery from the recession appears to have been losing steam. The Dow Jones barometer of the stock market has lost 500 points over the past month. The S&P has also

Make Job Candidates Prove Their Worth

by John K. Borchardt
It is critical for lab managers to hire job candidates who will be real contributors and not just those who have learned to interview well. So when I interview job candidates, I ask them to discuss real examples of their skills and accomplishments. I

Avoiding the Blame Game

by John K. Borchardt
In a perfect laboratory managers would accept staff members for taking calculated risks even if the outcome isn’t successful. Coworkers wouldn’t steal others ideas and credit would be given where it is due. Sadly, in reality some managers

Gender Disparities in Career Expectations

by John K. Borchardt
Women have lower career expectations than men. They expect lower salaries and longer periods between promotions than their male counterparts according to a new study from business professors Linda Schweitzer, Ed Ng and Sean Lyons of Carleton Universi