To those of you on the business end of things, you know how challenging it is to keep up with everything. If we’re in laboratory informatics, we must keep up not just with laboratory informatics, but with a variety of other things, as well, from what’s going on in the general economy to some of the changes in vendors that affect our field. While some of us tend to believe the general economy isn’t necessarily in-sync with our industry, it doesn’t mean we don’t find it useful to watch what’s going on, elsewhere.
What got me on the topic of general business issues is that I had just had a meeting with a group of consultants with whom I have regular contact. None of them is in an industry related to laboratory informatics. The companies are of varied size, where some are single-shingle shops like mine and others have a full staff of people. We try to come together as a group every once in a while but we keep in-touch on a more individual and regular basis, as well.
Where any company might have a difficult time keeping up on absolutely everything going on around them, it is easier to do when you company a number of companies and then share that knowledge.
Often, I run across companies in our industry who are so heads-down in their own work that they don’t take the time to lift their head up to see what else is going on in the world. When we complain about people who get buried in their silos and end up with tunnel vision, these are the people we’re talking about. And, while I agree we’re all busy, I will also tell you what my father also told me when I used that as an excuse, “We make time for what we think is important.” His overall message to me is that we all have the same 24-hour-in-a-day allocation but we CHOOSE where we spend that time. We’re not victims of the clock but victims of our own choices.
In the end, the time I spend networking with these other companies, while it does take time away from doing actual laboratory informatics work, I find helps me better run my business and better service my customers. While people often ask where I get such a good perspective of projects, it’s because I work at keeping away that tunnel vision. I work at it — it doesn’t “just happen.”
As I often tell people, “You get what you put into things. If you put no effort into something, don’t expect something back.” So, for those that think they’re working with people with a tunnel vision or who, themselves, feel they’ve fallen into a state of tunnel vision, the only way out is sheer, hard work. Just like with everything else we do, there’s no magic to it, no tool to save you, no-one to come and bail you out.