Volume 37 Number 4 | August 2023
Phyllis Ingham, EdD, MLS(ASCP)CM, AHI(AMT), ASCLS Leadership Development Committee, ASCLS Clinical Laboratory Educators Forum Vice Chair, ASCLS-Georgia President
Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker, author, and leadership expert who is known for his concept of “The Golden Circle” and the idea of starting with “Why.” In his book, Start with Why, Sinek outlines his concept of the Golden Circle, which involves three layers: why, how, and what. The why refers to the core purpose or belief that drives an individual or organization, while the how and what represent the strategies and tactics used to achieve that purpose.
Sinek’s philosophy is based on the belief that successful organizations and leaders start with a clear sense of purpose, or why, before moving on to the how and what of their actions and goals. This can lead to greater clarity, motivation, and engagement in their work, as well as stronger relationships with others who share similar values and beliefs.
In the context of medical laboratory professionals, starting with why can mean focusing on the purpose and importance of our work in improving patient outcomes and contributing to the larger healthcare system. This includes values such as accuracy, precision, and efficiency in laboratory testing and analysis, as well as a commitment to ongoing education and professional development. This can help to create a sense of purpose and meaning in our work and can also foster greater collaboration and engagement with others on the healthcare team. By focusing on our core beliefs and values that drive actions and decisions, individuals and organizations can achieve greater clarity, motivation, and engagement, leading to more successful outcomes and a stronger sense of community and collaboration.
“By embracing a mindset of continuous learning, continuous reflection on the why and how we do our jobs, we can create a culture of excellence and positivity in laboratory medicine and drive positive change in the healthcare system as a whole.”
The how is the specific strategies and tactics that laboratory professionals use to achieve individual goals and fulfill life purpose. This also includes utilizing the latest technology and equipment, collaborating with other healthcare professionals to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment, and engaging in quality control measures to ensure accuracy and precision in all aspects of laboratory testing.
The what refers to the specific tasks and activities that laboratory professionals engage in on a day-to-day basis to achieve their goals. This of course includes collecting and analyzing blood samples, performing a wide array of high complexity laboratory testing, and communicating those important results to healthcare providers and patients.
Ultimately, finding one’s how and re-centering motivation in the field of laboratory medicine requires a commitment to ongoing learning and development, building strong relationships with colleagues, and maintaining a positive perspective on the impact of one’s work. By doing so, laboratory professionals can achieve greater engagement and satisfaction in their work and make a meaningful impact on the healthcare system.
Laboratory professionals can find their how and re-center their engagement and positive motivation for the field of laboratory medicine by following these steps:
- Reflect on personal values and goals: Laboratory professionals should take time to reflect on their personal values and goals to determine what is most important to them. By aligning their work with their personal values and goals, they can find greater fulfillment and motivation in their work.
- Seek out new challenges and opportunities: Laboratory professionals can seek out new challenges and opportunities in their work to keep things fresh and engaging. This can involve taking on new projects, pursuing additional education and training, or seeking out leadership roles within their organization.
- Connect with colleagues and mentors: Laboratory professionals can connect with colleagues and mentors in their field to gain new perspectives and insights, and to build supportive relationships that can help them stay motivated and engaged in their work.
- Embrace ongoing learning and development: Laboratory professionals can embrace ongoing learning and development to stay up to date with the latest advancements in laboratory medicine, and to continue growing and developing their skills and expertise.
- Celebrate successes and milestones: Laboratory professionals can celebrate successes and milestones in their work to recognize their accomplishments and maintain a positive outlook. This can include acknowledging team achievements, recognizing individual contributions, and taking time to reflect on personal growth and progress.
By following these steps, laboratory professionals can recenter their engagement and positive motivation for the field of laboratory medicine and find new ways to stay energized and passionate about their work. This can lead to greater satisfaction and fulfillment in their careers, and to better outcomes for patients and the larger healthcare system.
The Concept of Day 1
In laboratory medicine, each day presents a new opportunity to learn, grow, and make a difference. While it can be easy to fall into a routine and approach each day as “just another day,” it is important to remember that each day is an opportunity to start fresh and to make progress towards our goals. This mindset is captured in the concept of “Day 1,” which represents the idea that each day is a new beginning, a chance to start again with renewed energy and focus. By embracing the spirit of Day 1, laboratory professionals can stay motivated and engaged in their work and can make the most of each day to advance their careers and contribute to the larger healthcare system.
To embrace Day 1 in laboratory medicine, professionals can take a few key steps. First, they can approach each day with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and grow. This can involve seeking out new challenges and opportunities, pursuing additional education and training, and connecting with colleagues and mentors to gain new insights and perspectives.
Second, laboratory professionals can take ownership of their work and responsibilities and strive to make meaningful contributions to their organization and the larger healthcare system. This can involve taking initiative on projects, seeking out new solutions to challenges, and advocating for the importance of laboratory medicine in the broader healthcare landscape.
Ultimately, by embracing the spirit of Day 1 in laboratory medicine, professionals can stay engaged and motivated in their work and can make meaningful contributions to patient care and outcomes. By approaching each day as Day 1, laboratory professionals can maintain a sense of purpose and drive in their work and strive towards achieving their goals and fulfilling their mission of providing high-quality healthcare services to patients. They can also position themselves as leaders and agents of change within their organization, inspiring others to embrace a growth mindset and pursue excellence in their work.
The Role of Laboratory Leadership
Laboratory leadership plays a critical role in helping staff to find their center or focal point in their professional life as a medical laboratory professional. The laboratory can be a complex and fast-paced environment, with staff members performing a range of technical and analytical tasks that require a high level of skill and attention to detail. In this context, it is essential for laboratory leaders to provide guidance and support to help staff stay focused and engaged in their work.
One way that laboratory leaders can help staff find their center is by providing opportunities for professional development. This can include attending conferences, workshops, and training programs that focus on new technologies, emerging trends in laboratory medicine, and best practices for laboratory operations. These opportunities can help staff to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field, expand their knowledge and skills, and stay engaged in their work.
Another way that laboratory leadership can help staff find their center is by promoting a culture of collaboration and teamwork. This includes creating opportunities for staff to work together on projects and initiatives, recognizing and celebrating team achievements, and fostering an environment of mutual respect and support. When staff feel that they are part of a larger team working towards a common goal, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work.
Effective communication is also essential to helping staff find their center in their professional life. Laboratory leaders can help to foster open and honest communication by encouraging staff to share their thoughts and ideas, providing regular feedback on performance, and promoting a culture of transparency and accountability. When staff feel that they are valued and their opinions are heard, they are more likely to stay focused and engaged in their work.
Finally, laboratory leaders can help staff find their center by recognizing and appreciating their contributions to the organization. This can include providing regular feedback on performance, acknowledging achievements and milestones, and providing opportunities for career advancement. When staff feel that their contributions are recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work.
In summary, laboratory leadership plays a critical role in helping staff to find their center or focal point in their professional life as a medical laboratory professional. By providing opportunities for professional development, promoting a culture of collaboration and teamwork, fostering open and honest communication, and recognizing and appreciating staff contributions, laboratory leaders can help staff to stay focused and engaged in their work, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and a more positive work environment. Laboratory professionals have the power to choose whether each day is just another day, or Day 1 in their work.
We do indeed have control of our personal “center” or focal point for our profession. By embracing a mindset of continuous learning, continuous reflection on the why and how we do our jobs, we can create a culture of excellence and positivity in laboratory medicine and drive positive change in the healthcare system as a whole.
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Phyllis Ingham is Program Director/Chair, Medical Laboratory Technology/Phlebotomy Program, at West Georgia Technical College in Waco, Georgia.