Continuous Renewal: Managing your lab for the upside.

By Hedley Lawson
Can labs learn, grow and renew themselves the way individuals can? The human body is capable of renewing itself in extraordinary ways: wounds heal, brains learn, hands master new skills. All in all, humans adapt in amazing ways to challenge and opportunity. But what about groups of humans working together toward common goals in a lab environment?

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Their research into performance anatomy, one of the three building blocks of high-performance business, has shown what is called continuous renewal—a distinctive feature of the most successful organizations. How can some companies face the same set of external conditions as their competitors—changing customer patterns, competitive threats, revolutionary technology developments, but produce something clearly superior? What makes them able to identify breakthrough, market-making innovations and manage all the streams of activity successfully toward their desired outcome?

Two years of research into more than two dozen highly successful initiatives in different industries, in different geographies and at companies of different sizes has convinced Accenture that organizations achieve unconventional results through unconventional—sometimes counterintuitive and even contrarian—approaches. Most fundamental to these success stories, however, is a focus on managing projects with the upside in mind rather than on managing only with an eye to avoiding failure. These organizations inspire people to make the commitment, develop the passion and summon the energy necessary to produce excellence. This ability to renew continuously reflects high-performance anatomy at the enterprise level, but it is most visible and, more important, actionable at the project or initiative level. It involves some of the following key thinking and behavioral attributes that are as applicable to your lab as they are to any other business:

1. Reach Beyond Your Grasp

Leaders of highly successful initiatives do not base their goals only on what they know they can achieve. Instead, they fuel their achievements with aspirations that others often call impossible.

2. Blaze Your Own Trail

When reaching for aims that appear impossible, path-breaking leaders put aside their proven methodologies and disciplined plans and strike off with a brash kind of confidence, knowing there is no turning back. Frequently, these kinds of leaders will inspire a great number of followers.

3. Create a Strong Emotional Field

Leaders of highly successful initiatives realize that it is vital to recognize the power of emotion, especially on a team that is breaking new ground, and that with the right attention, this emotion can magnify the strength of the team and be transformed into the energy necessary to succeed.

4. Spiral Up

Highly successful initiatives sometimes progress along unexpected arcs, and part of the genius is knowing how to influence an initiative along the arc most likely to reach the goal.

5. Use Luck as an Accelerator

Labs capable of continuous renewal know they are riding a beast only partly tamed. Some do not control all the factors that produce success, but they know how to turn events to their advantage. Those successful labs know how to spot opportunities and how to propel themselves forward when luck turns to their advantage.

CURRENT ISSUE


Lab Talk-February/March 2018