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Management Skills for Early Career Professionals

By CLN Stat
Posted on 14 Dec 2020
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From strategic planning to handling large-scale mishaps, SYCL workshop offers interactive user’s guide to decision-making, navigating politics, developing teams, and building trust.

AACC’s Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians (SYCL) will offer virtual special events at the 2020 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, while keeping all of its great traditions. This year’s workshop, Navigating the Clinical Laboratory and Driving Outcomes: Strategies to Excel at the Basics and Beyond, starts at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Saturday, December 12. The program shifts away from the clinical aspects of laboratory medicine, focusing more on business skills. Attendees will gain insights in team building, negotiation, politicking, and troubleshooting, to succeed in the current laboratory landscape.

The eight members of the SYCL Workshop Organizing Committee addressed two fundamental concepts as starting blocks to craft this year’s program:
  • Offering a workplace toolkit for early career laboratorians.
  • Developing sessions that could be broadly applied across professional laboratory disciplines.
“Last year’s workshop taught us how to use data and technology to solve problems, and we wanted to build on that,” Jessica Colon-Franco, PhD, DABCC, chair of the workshop committee, told CLN Stat. “We often focus on mastering the knowledge-based competencies (technical, clinical, regulatory), but get challenged most by other aspects of the job for which we don’t get formal training: decision-making, navigating politics, building trust, developing teams, and the business side of the laboratory.”

This year’s workshop addresses these gaps, providing SYCL members with tips and strategies, added Colon-Franco.

The workshop begins at 1:30 p.m. and concludes at 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. The social mixer follows immediately after the workshop.

Workshop events include:
  • Your guide to succeeding in the workplace in your early career - Mark Kellogg, PhD, DABCC, assistant professor of pathology, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Strategies for handling large-scale mishaps in the clinical laboratory - Nikola Baumann, PhD, DABCC, director of the Mayo Clinic’s central clinical laboratory and central processing laboratory
  • From problem-solving to strategic thinking: Introduction to strategic planning - Beth Bailey, director, strategic development and communications, TriCore Reference Laboratories
  • Mastering the art of negotiations in the laboratory to influence outcomes - Patty Eschliman, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM, DLM(ASCP)CM, Certified Professional Coach, TheLabLeaderCoach.com
Kellogg will provide a high-level overview of what laboratorians need to know during their early years on a job and the skill sets they need to create a solid foundation for a successful career. Baumann, the laboratory director of a large core laboratory at Mayo Clinic, will take participants through considerations beyond technical and medical knowledge, such as escalating problem-solving, notifying physicians, identifying root causes, and minimizing error. Bailey will introduce problem-solving and strategic planning methodologies, using a practical example to drive these concepts home, according to Colon-Franco.

Eschliman’s talk will focus on how to negotiate, develop important communication skills to ensure their voices are heard, and gain confidence in the art of negotiation by participating in some real-life laboratory scenarios. “John F. Kennedy said, ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.’ Want that perfect job? Need a raise? Desire new laboratory equipment? This will all be covered and more,” promised Eschliman.

The workshop organizing committee debated whether to have a prerecorded workshop or host a live session this year.

“Ultimately, the benefits of a workshop with practical/interactive experiences outweighed any concern we had about having a live event. The workshop has always been a very dynamic experience for participants,” said Colon-Franco. Organizers will use Zoom’s polling functionality and breakout sessions to engage audience members.

“Without doubt, this is uncharted territory,” acknowledged Colon-Franco. “We are preparing for it with rehearsal sessions, pairing committee members with speakers to strategize about interactive activities. We have amazing support by AACC staff members Melanie Gibson and Jordan Bradford,” who have mastered skills in virtual networking and Zoom, respectively.

Following the workshop, attendees will be able to relax and network at the 1-hour virtual SYCL mixer. Moderated by three members of the SYCL workshop organizing committee, the event will combine large-group and breakout sessions—and promises to be fast-paced and entertaining, said Colon-Franco.

The cost for joining this year’s event is $25. Participants must register separately for this program at the 2020 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo.

Related Links:
2020 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting
Navigating the Clinical Laboratory and Driving Outcomes: Strategies to Excel at the Basics and Beyond
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