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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Where is This Place Called Nirvana?

Published December 24, 2011 12:06 PM by Glen McDaniel

Every organization these days has mission and vision statements. We all learn them at orientation. Some companies insist we wear them on name tags or "buddy badges." Others have them plastered in elevators, hallways and in conference rooms.

Everyone wants to be the "provider of choice" or something similar. Everyone respects patients and strives to exceed customer expectations. Very loft aims, no doubt.

The problem with mission and vision statements is that they are more practiced in the breach than in observance. They tend to be words on a page or a wall and not much else. As I speak with employees around the country the one theme is that many organizations are "not what they profess to be."

Recently an employee of a large multinational healthcare company told me there was an ongoing raffle to have lunch with the CEO. She wants to win the raffle simply to ask him "Where is this place called..... (her company)?" She is sick and tired of all the platitudes and self-congratulatory messages that are beamed by emails and monthly announcements from the CEO, when her daily work life reflects anything but that picture perfect life claimed by the CEO.

I have always advocated that organizations check the pulse of current employees from time to time. Exit interviews are great, but they are often relatively few in number,  and sentiments can too easily be chalked up to the complaints of disgruntled employees.

 Employers need to know why employees stay with the company, not just why they leave. Leaders need to get an honest assessment periodically of life in the trenches. As in that fable, very often the emperor has no clothes but fear or group-think prevents anyone from speaking up to decision-makers; who then parade around proudly assuming everything is fine. Even worse they delusionally hold their company up as a model of perfection when their employees know otherwise.

As we enter a new year, if you are a decision maker, please make a pledge to solicit feedback regularly; and take it constructively. Act on it, rather than blame the messenger. Maybe you should make that one resolution your very first mission for 2012.


You're ttaloly right to focus on Lab and I agree that not one of the legacy HIT vendors has spent time figuring it out.  As a matter of fact, in the very largest EHR deployments there is no lab order management function. No kidding.  I've been delighted to watch from the sidelines as your company has evolved.  I hope you guys clobber the lazy obsolete-product sellin' HIT vendors out there today.

Gokil Gokil, FKlhGZwGirZEUsu - HynQDSQO, CseVHjnTcnv February 20, 2012 11:25 AM

You said  a mouthful.  I used to work at this lab in California where we used to be drilled on the mission and  vision. It was posted everywhere and the Administrator would stop any employee and ask them to state what they were. We would get in trouble if we didnt recite it word for word.

That place was a zoo to work. Not only was it a bad atmosphere but then you could be humiliated if you didnt know the LONG mission statement by heart. They would ask for Misssion, vision and core values and you had to know them all word for word. The statements were all a lie about caring, compassion, how they value differences etc. But they played favorites and didnt care about us at all. That is a clear example where the mission and vision dont really  mean anything.  They are just words.

Marisol P January 20, 2012 3:42 PM
McAllen TX

You know that is what every employee ask at some point. I remember working for a supervisor in New York maybe 10 years ago. She was so rude and abusive. Everyone hated her and we are always tense.  But whenever administration came in to the lab or we had inspectors she would talk about "my team" and said how happy everybody was and how our lab was a model for other labs. We would say "Which lab is she talking about?" The same thing happens when we hear CEOs talk about the hospital. What world are they in we ask?  They could create  a MUCH better organization if they listened to their employees more.

Josiah Young December 26, 2011 4:07 PM
Chicago IL

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