Happy New Year
Happy New Year. Welcome 2015!!!

Well, it’s 2015 already. I can hardly believe a whole year has already passed by. I guess that it’s time to start making new resolutions.

But what are “resolutions”? The word itself denotes a firm determination, or commitment. To be resolute is a necessary quality of a leader.

A friend and colleague of mine lost a hiring opportunity recently because he failed to act. He spent so much time thinking about the variables in his decision, that he failed to make an offer before the applicant decided to go with another lab. It was another terrific candidate lost to his competitor.

Thinking, often a scientist’s greatest strength, will sometimes prevent them from getting results, and following through on their commitments. Many can start to suffer from paralysis by analysis. This is because there are too many variables which can create so much more uncertainty.

In actuality, sometimes the simple physical act of doing something and taking that first step can be the cure to that paralysis. Acting can disengage that higher thought process loop.

Being resolute is a necessary skill to have as you take the next steps in your journey. This is a quality that many admire and follow within a leader. The resolve to act can motivate others to help you solve any issues that may arise from those uncertainties.

Here are some steps that I find that can help to be more resolute:

  1. Set a specific time to gather input from a variety of resources; literature, experience, and people[teammates] are all great places to draw from. There should be an actual end time to stop collecting input or data.
  2. Make a decision. Stop thinking. Write steps down on a piece of paper, like a checklist. Psychologically, paper can make your thoughts tangible, and it brings them from abstraction.
  3. Act. Use your checklist to start crossing things off. On your checklist, use verbs like; do, write, call, type, etc. Only do the things off of your checklist to help yourself focus.

These are some steps that can help you to actually get things done and to move your team along. Because at the end of the day your great ideas and visions will only come to fruition if they’re acted upon.

Therefore as you take these next steps in your scientific journey to become a leader, you’ll need to hone other, non-technical, skills. These skills are necessary for leading an actual team of people who will follow your scientific vision.

So in the new year, I challenge you to make the conscious effort to be resolute by taking those suggested steps.

For my own resolution, I’m making a commitment to helping you, the scientist, be the best that you can be. I’ll be doing this by publishing a series of blog posts with ideas about ways to manage your research and science that can help.

However, getting feedback from you can help to develop that process. So I’m curious what challenges and issues you face on a regular basis that hinder your ability to focus? Let’s come up with great solutions together that will help to move your science forward.

So what do you think about resolutions? Do you find that they’re useful? What promises or commitments have you made to yourself, and how have they helped you be more productive?

Let me know. Leave a comment.