Do you know your net worth? "Net worth" simply refers to your bottom line after you calculate your assets. This simple equation amounts to how much money you have saved minus your liabilities, which is how much money you owe to others.
Knowing this numerical information tells you the strength of your financial position. Computing your net worth also enables you track your progress for economic fitness. The daily fiscal cliff televised updates has everyone from employers to workers evaluating their status with the future goal of increasing their assets.
Skills Are Assets, Too
You may have already pondered on whether or not you are financially fit, but have you considered whether or not you are workplace fit as well? In the financial arena, possessing more assets than liabilities is critical for survival.
From the viewpoint of the human resources field, employee skills are considered valuable assets, too. Possessing a wide range of scientific and administrative capabilities, such as technical skills in the proper collection of specimens coupled with the ability to design quality control procedures are invaluable assets.
Multi-skilled scientists can assist laboratories in not only surviving, but in thriving, as well. These employees are extremely valued, because they can also be considered a good resource for problem solving within the department.
Before going further, let's define the term "go-to-guy". A "go-to-guy" (or "go-to-person" as it is sometimes called) is a person who has fine-tuned their skill sets in order to provide expert advice and knowledge when dealing with solutions for problematic concerns.
When conducting inspections, I love seeing evidence of quality improvement go-to-persons. Visual evidence that a laboratorian has taken up this role is observed by the postings of new best practice compliance trends on bulletin boards; ongoing training events for inspection topics; and current department regulatory newsletters.
If you are not already the lab's go-to-person, you will know you have the chops for this venture if you are the staff member who always takes the initiative in pushing for new education experiences or problem solving techniques.
Boosting Net Worth Skills
Go-to-guys are made, not born. What's required is a consistent dose of education and risk-taking, but the rewards for everyone can be well worth your efforts.
The following six assets are suggested skills for enhancing your reputation as the laboratory's go-to-person:
- Asset #1: Leadership Skills Become comfortable with thinking like a leader. Leaders are not focused on trying to maintain the status quo. They are focused on doing what must be done to ensure the lab's growth and profitability in the future.
- Asset #2: Innovator Skills Become comfortable in presenting creative problem solving approaches. New healthcare techniques, equipment and process improvement tools get noticed. This means you can't be afraid to present something new to your teammates, even if it's just a variation of an existing test product or service. Your contribution does not necessarily mean or guarantee success, but you and your coworkers will learn far more from the risks taken than by maintaining the status quo.
- Asset #3: Communicator Skills Become comfortable promoting and supporting open lines of communication. Verbal and written communication within the lab and across other healthcare departments with which you interact is vital for quality functioning. Maintaining frequent and consistent open lines of communication is critical for ongoing regulatory compliance. Remember, no one man is an island.
- Asset #4: Assertiveness Skills Become comfortable publicly sharing industry changes and trends. For the most part, every laboratory is beholding to the same accreditation, certification and governmental regulatory requirements. However, labs can and do perform compliance activities with variations on the theme. Once you learn of the different approaches, you could share these new ideas by posting them on a monthly interdepartmental blog or list out details in a quarterly laboratory newsletter.
- Asset #5: Intuition Skills Become comfortable with sharpening your gut reactions. The most successful go-to-persons have learned to "trust their gut." But this skill is not built overnight. It takes practice to learn when it's your intuition versus your guessing. As a laboratorian, your work requires you to make accurate and precise compliance decisions. But remember that not all favorable analyses are just based on pre-established numeric ranges and statistics. Some of the most effective scientific methods for satisfying regulatory requirements have come from creative hunches, too.
- Asset #6: Learning Skills Become comfortable with forever being a student. Let's face it, developments and discoveries in medical science are on a nonstop growth pattern. In order to stay current, ongoing learning is a requirement. Taking the time to research and study the compliance successes and failures of other laboratories can be illuminating. Staying abreast of this information will assist you in sharing your competitor's approaches within your own setting. The phase, "never stop learning" is not new. For the go-to-person, this phase must be an asset building oath.
Finally, here's a word of caution. Being the go-to-person doesn't mean that you must solve all of the lab's problems. Be careful not to let innovative "go-to" projects suck up all of your work day. Most institutions have at least one dedicated quality professional, who is accountable for organization-wide monitoring & evaluation of regulatory activities. By all means, tap this individual's knowledge when time allows, so that as the lab's resource person you can add to your repertoire of auditing skills assets.
Eleanor Wolfram is a certified QA&C auditor.