. . .And Then Some
“The secret of my success was to work really hard and then some.”
George Toma (aka "Sod God")- World Famous Groundskeeper (KC Royals, Super Bowls, World Cup)
I always liked this quote which I heard during an interview with George Toma on the radio one morning. You hear people touting that working hard is good but we must work smart. To me, the “and then some” suggests that we want to work smart but it is critical to developing “wisdom” which will carry us through all the tests of leadership over time. Several years ago, I gave a talk in which I cited an article in American Laboratory by Daniel Schneck that was entitled, Simple Wisdom: Seven Attributes of the “Wise” Person*. Professor Schneck wrote an editorial column in American Laboratory for many years in which he always provided the big picture to various aspects of the human side of things which was applicable to lab leadership. He was very much a renaissance person with vast interests which drove him with passions related to engineering, music, and their combinations.
Here are my annotations/translations to keep in mind for lab situations:
Wise = Can manage life’s (lab’s) experiences both efficiently (getting things done right) and effectively (getting the right things done)
1. Patience and Restraint = Get the Facts before Acting
2. Socratic Disavowal of Knowledge = Always Stay Teachable
3. Multidimensional Perspective of Human Experience = Understand the Complexity of People
4. Ability to Distinguish Forest from the Trees = Look for the Win-Win Objectives
5. Judgment = Right Decision not Personal Decision
6. Attentive and Observant Enough to Ask the Right Questions = To Assure the Right Answers
7. Introspective = Part of Solution Not the Problem
It is always good to remind ourselves of these things whether an established manager or a new manager in transition to leading a lab. This has never been so true as it is in the dynamic situations that have presented themselves during the pandemic. At the end of the day, we need to provide ourselves and our staff the clarity that we are all in this together and we will engage in a mindful way “and then some”.
*Daniel Schneck, American Laboratory Magazine, April 2007, Editor’s Page “Simple Wisdom 6(A): Seven Attributes of the “Wise” Person”
Submitted by Richard Durand, ALMA Board Member and Director, Analytical and Material Science at Sun Chemical Corporation