The Value of Input for Clinical Laboratory

Over the course of my 45-year career in the medical laboratory field, I’ve had the good fortune to meet many of the successful leaders in our industry and visit many of their labs.  This has given me the opportunity to study the common attributes of successful leadership.

The leaders who stood out were not successful because of their personal knowledge, but rather the expertise they gathered and cultivated from their management teams, colleagues, and others.  All good laboratory leaders assemble teams, over time, who are capable of delivering quality and service in a cost-effective manner on a day-to-day basis.  Those leaders have successful careers.


The leaders I’ve met who have developed break-through strategies and produced exceptional results have something in common:  they seek knowledge and expertise from outside their own organization.  They understand that organizations need to be pushed, challenged, and stimulated to consider new ideas, develop new strategies, and create the kind of positive change that keeps their operation at the forefront of achievement in the industry.

Where do they get outside knowledge and expertise?  There are a number of resources.  Those in common use are:

  • Reading professional journals and publications.
  • Formal education in a related field.
  • Attending national meetings and seminars.
  • Talking to other leaders within the organization but outside the lab.

Those leaders in our industry who have really stood out and created a reputation for themselves and their organization go beyond the common resources as they seek that external stimulus to improve their organization.  They do the following:

  • Identify labs that are considered top performers and arrange for visits to those labs or visits of the key leadership of those labs to the local organization.
  • Seek input from one or more industry consultants and many times contract with one or more of them to provide advice regarding the same challenge.
  • Try new strategies and tactics to determine if they can deliver long-term value to the organization.
  • Recognize that assuming some level of risk or being an early adopter of a new strategy or service can provide benefits that keep the lab organization on the leading edge in the industry and differentiate it from competitors.

The question for you today is, “What kind of leader do you aspire to be?”  Are you satisfied with the status quo of your operation, or are you seeking to lead growth and efficiency to be the best in the industry?

If you are the latter, my recommendation to you is to make sure you include the expertise of those resources outside your organization that is essential to providing the stimulus necessary to help you achieve that highest level of success.

Earl C. Buck
Advisor and Senior Consultant
Chi Solutions Inc., an Accumen Company

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