The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
October 2018
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
02/07/18
Audience Analysis. Five situations using DeBono Thinking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

One of the skills not often addressed in our formal education
is audience analysis.  It is one of the wise skills that we need
to develop in our career.

.
Fast Company has offered an interesting tactic to deal with
different audiences that uses deBono’s six hats concept.
.
Dealing with problem solvers:      Black hat thinking
Here are the major problems, brainstorm possible causes and
their solutions.
Eliminate weak points;  develop back up plans.
.
Dealing with data analyzers who seek trends:  White hat thinking
This is what we know [charts and statistics], all the hard
numbers and outcomes.  What can we learn from them? 
What is missing or how can we fill in detail? 
What are situational or critical trends?
.
Dealing with people integraters who seek collective good 
feelings.                                           Red hat thinking
Appeal to shared goal and appeal to team spirit and coordinating
efforts.  Each one is important.  Give everyone attention and
celebrate together.
.
Dealing with innovators and new approach, different angle
people                                              Green hat thinking
This is an opportunity to be open minded and go outside 
routine or casual solutions to problem or possibilities.  Pursue
creative ideas with little or no criticism/ rejection.
.
Dealing with optimists                    Yellow hat thinking
This is a group to whom you present benefits and future
positive outcomes and implications.  Don’t give up now,
hard work and persistence will pay off.  Realize and 
restate your strengths and the pay-offs will soon be realized.

comments (0)
01/22/18
Watch-Outs. 106. Organic Synthesis algorithms, Optimism by leaders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:53 am

Did you view the Netflix video on AlphaGo defeating
the top Go player in the world?  I saw it this week.  It

may be time for us to seriously consider using software
to design organic synthesis routes.
.
We live in a fast paced world with many unexpected
directions and influences.  One item that can keep us
moving forward is optimism from leaders in our 
organizations.  We highlight a whole issue of a 
magazine devoted to this. Fast Company.
.
COMPUTER ALGORITHMS FOR ORGANIC SYNTHESIS
Udit Batra brought up the topic of using computer
software to optimize synthetic route in Aldrichimica
Acta in a recent issue.  He highlighted Milipore
Sigma’s purchase of Grzybowski Scientific Inventions
organic software tool.
.
Derek Lowe wrote about this in his blog recently
that it has become more figuring out what to synthesize
rather than how to synthesize particular molecules
based on a discussion of an Angewandte Chemie 
article.
.
OPTIMISM IN LEADERSHIP
Think about what helps us move forward…optimism
is a force multiplier, as military leaders say….
Fast company highlights over a hundred ways
cited leaders supply leadership.  When I read
the methods most are what many of us would think
of ourselves.  Read through it to see how you feel your
leaders are providing leadership….
 - don’t overthink        - attach meaning
 - grow from setbacks - wow your customers
 - listen                        - let your actions speak for you
 - play nice                  - obey the golden rule
 - focus                        - nix multitasking
 - go the extra mile
comments (0)
01/12/18
Timing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:27 am
When you are surprised by someone or an event, you
may not be ready to do the right thing.  Right?  We
always recommend the importance of preparation.
.
The same is true of of daily agendas and decision making
and acceptance of new ideas.  D. Pink highlighted this
in his book, When…
New ideas:  Better to speak to higher ups in the morning,
earlier in the week, or after a break…
Brainstorming:  Off-peak time, like later in afternoon,
when you are more open-minded.
.
It is true however that we have different peak times.
Think about when yours might be.  The idea then is
to develop strategies to adjust to different circumstances.
Pink talks about some of these.

Good news, bad news:  most people accept bad news first.
.
Start-ups  :  Ask a series of questions, like:
What is the present and short term future market conditions?
… demand, available customers, price and competition
Assess your stress tolerance and forward seeking
optimism… What is your back-up plan?
Do you have the technical resources to move into place,
or know how to reach out to them?
comments (0)
12/11/17
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise. 4. What’s the Future
Filed under: Recent Posts, Leadership, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:24 pm

This blog post reflects the position that the ACS needs
to develop an on-going Subject area regarding the
Economics 
of our Enterprise, just like Chemistry and
the Law, the Environment, and Education.

.
A page in Tim O’Reilly’s book WTF:  What’s the Future”
describes the need…”The system is rigged.  Companies
are forced to eliminate workers not by the market of 
real goods and services where supply and demand set the
right price, but by the commands of financial markets,
where hope and greed too often set the price.”
.
A very provocative economist Sharon Belenzon, marks
the decline of corporate R&D by measuring the decline
of technical papers–
.
‘Corporations in the US are spending a diminishing portion of their R&D budgets on research. The share of basic and applied research in corporate R&D has tapered from 28% in 1985 to 20% in 2015. 

Corporate representation in the scientific literature is also shrinking. In an analysis of publications authored by publicly traded US companies in the Web of Science database, we observed that the annual average number of papers published per company fell from around 25 in 1980 to less than 10 in 2010. The drop was visible across a wide range of industries and most pronounced among firms with established research programmes, for which the number of publications fell by as much as 65% between 1980 and 2006.’
.
Detailed information and discussion includes:
1.  the decline of retained earnings
2.  using algorithms to make decisions
3.  intrusion of fake news, fake growth and bots to influence decisions
4.  use of polls with uncertain questions and populations and decision criteria
5.  professionals reduced to under 29-hours population

This is a critical topic for emerging chemists,
people indifferent stages of their careers and our 
professional organization aiming to serve its members.
1 comment
12/05/17
Recommended Reading. 7.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm

Previous years’ lists

  Recommended Reading. 6,
  Recommended Reading. 5.
  Recommended Reading. 4.
  Recommended Reading. 3.
  Recommended Reading. 2. 
  Recommended Reading. 1.
This year I will attempt to link readers to discussions of some of the 
books that follow in this blog.

Maria Konnikova THE CONFIDENCE GAME:  WHY WE ALL
FALL FOR IT. EVERY TIME, Penguin Random House NY 2016

Thomas L. Friedman THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE Farrar
Stevens and Giroux NY 2016

Yuval Noah Arari HOMO DEUS:  A BRIEF HISTORY OF
TOMORROW
audio 

Robert Cialdini INFLUENCE THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
PERSUASION Collins division of HarperCollins NY 1994

William Strauss, Neil Howe THE FOURTH TURNNG:  AN
AMERICA PROPHECY Broadway Books,   NY 1997

David Livermore, THE CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE DIFFERENCE: 
Master the one skill you can’t do without in
today’s global economy,
American Management Association, NY, 2011

Adam Alter, IRRESISTIBLE: The Rise of Addictive Technology
and the Business of Keeping us Hooked,Penguin Press NY 2017

Rudolph W. Giuliani with Ken Kurson, Leadership, Miramax
Books Hyperion NY, 2002

Lisa Randall, KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR:  HOW
PHYSICS AND SCIENTIFIC THINKING ILLUMINATE
THE UNIVERSE AND THE MODERN WORLD
HarperCollins 2011

Robert Colville, THE GREAT ACCELERATION:  HOW THE
WORLD IS GETTING FASTER, FASTER  Bloombury London NY 2016

Michael Breus THE POWER OF WHEN:  DISCOVER YOUR
CHRONOTYPE AND THE BEST TIME TO
EAT LUNCH,
ASK FOR A RAISE, HAVE SEX, WRITE A NOVEL AND MORE,
Little Brown and
Company NY  2016

Alan Alda  IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU WOULD I HAVE THIS
LOOK ON MY FACE
RandomHouse 2017

Barbara Oakley, MINDSHIFT BREAK THROUGH OBSTACLES
TO LEARNING AND DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIAL
Tarcher Peregre Penguin Random House 2017

comments (0)
10/15/17
Digital Media. Growing Use of Internet Publishing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Recruiters, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:36 pm

One of the crucial measures of developing research programs
is keeping in touch with new ideas and combinations with
new equipment and theories.  

.
Several career paths place credibility of achievement on
publications [publications in peer reviewed publications]. 
How this is measured with Internet publications is not patently 
obvious or at least consistent from one organization to another.
.
Nonetheless several sources of online publications are appearing.
ChemRN provides global access and outlet to classified topic
areas.
.
ChemRxiv is a Figshare product offers rapidly transmitted
of one-page preprints with a promise of tools to detect plagiarism.
[open API or via OAI-PMH].
.
This blog articulated that scientific publishing was going
to evolve from the commercial and professional society
journal paradigm.  It will be important that strong professional
ethics are articulated in this evolving medium
and there is
a viable enforcement mechanism for violations and dealing
with grey-area issues.

2 comments
10/05/17
Leadership. Insights from observations during challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:30 am

Just finished reading Rudy Guiliani’s book Leadership.

Reading the book was an opportunity to see things from a
different perspective– legal mind with historical interests
who faced and met challenges.  It was a rewarding experience
in that it offered some remarkable take-aways about positive
behaviors of leaders and thinking processes in dealing with
challenges.
.
BEHAVIORS 
.
-   The importance of seeing things / situations with your own
eyes, as it allows all sorts of things that you can question and
suggest.
-   Practice simulations of actual events before they happen.  
Have a reaction plan.  Let it be modifiable.
 -  Have a command center
       organize and formulate communications, coordination
and evaluation
       prepare back up plan and unintended consequences
       anticipate what might happen next
-    Prepare relentlessly and eliminate making assumptions

THINKING PROCESSES

All leaders are influenced by those who they admire.  Reading
about them and studying what and how they learned will inspire
how you will grow critical traits.  Much of the material will be the
raw material of your own life.
-    insist on starting off with a morning meeting as your cornerstone
       get control of the start of the day
       set priorities;  have all key contributors present
       allow open discussion
       outcomes:  specific action plans and reporting
       everyone is informed and accountable;  carry the info forward
-    sweat the details and small stuff, as they reveal underlying 
processes
-     create arguments for different coalitions to influence decisions
-     instill preparedness
-     put your health as a first and main concern
-     take as much time as available to make decisions, but the 
process of making the decision should begin immediately.
-     seek different perspectives and points of view, yet avoid
predetermination or favorites.  [Sometimes it is beneficial to
leave the room when discussion is in process and receive a
summary afterwards.]
-     surround yourself with strong, independent people while
keeping battles internal.  manage results and expectations
-     underpromise and overdeliver-  how
               develop your personal beliefs
               communicate them
               have a plan of action
               word choice makes a difference
-    stand up to bullies.  Do it early.
-    do not exceed the ‘pig factor’ [spending more than needed,
overstating on expenses, it is a form of bullying]
-     read in depth about things you find come up;  do not
just leave it to experts. 

comments (0)
07/14/17
Professional Behaviors. Speaking with your Boss
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:49 pm

A recent seminar on Overcoming Fears Uncertainty and 
Doubts pointed out things you should learn to do while
in graduate school.  Two leading ones the group pointed
out were:
   knowing how to speak with your boss

   knowing how to have difficult conversations with people.
.
These are no doubt situational things and depend on several
factors.  That is part of the learning that we need to do.  It is
important to develop this understanding while in graduate school.
.
Money Magazine (8-17 issue, 38ff) formed extra reading for 
our conversation about how to speak to a boss
  - for a raise and at review time
  - after making a mistake
  - challenges at home
  - have a major health issue
.
Flipboard shared a creditable piece about having hard  conversations
with people by Garfinkle.
  - begin with a perspective of respect and curiosity
  - avoiding conversations does not make problems go away
  - listen intently, respond with the other’s ideas first, and avoid
partial listening while planning to say what is on our mind
  - recognize cultural differences and determine how to be
direct (clear statements, not circular logic).
comments (0)
06/30/17
Watch-Outs. 103. Scientific Publishing, Limits of Analysis, Gas Cylinders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:36 am

Publication is a critical focus in the scientific world.  Societies
have publication wings.  There is a large commercial publication
business that earns nearly $20Bn/year with a third being
profits.  The Guardian published a revealing article about the
publication world which this blog has offered comments.

Previous comments have been offered on peer review,
papyrocentric 
model 
and critical thinking when reading.  
This blog is on record for supporting the idea of “open access”
and questioning the viability of “rating” journals based on
citations in the internet age [it is like mindless “likes” in
social media.].
.
Been following of Deming’s articles on Applied Statistics
for decades.  He is in the middle of an important series on 
limits of detection.  I just received a water analysis report
and have received blood and urine medical reports that refer
to one or another of these.  These articles are important and
significant for all of us.  We should know and use these terms
properly.
.
One of the types of questions I ask in some interviews 
concerns gas cylinder set-up and use.  Articles in LC/GC 
often reveal solid scientific thinking to answer questions
in this area.
.
ROBERT MAXWELL AND PROFITING ON SCIENCE
SOURCE:  S. Baranyi, The Guardian June 27, 2017 
“Is the Staggeringly profitable publishing business bad for
Science”
Although the ACS continues its efforts to 
expand its
profit center, most of the members do not realize what
is going on in the publication business.  This Guardian
article goes into details what the ACS publications 
division might be emulating.  
.
Should we not ask questions to make more science, often
paid for via taxes, available free online?
.
SCIENCE AND THE LIMITS OF DETECTION
SOURCE:  S. N. Deming, Amer. Laboratory June/July 2017
P. 41.  ”Statistics in the Laboratory:  The Limit of Detection
Deming teaches in this article L(D) the limit of detection, which
he points out is different than the smallest amount of 
analyte that can be detected or the limit of quantitation (appearing
in future articles.).
.
He points out:
- false positive risk needs to be appropriate for the application.
[drug testing example]
- in a plot of a calibration curve with a non-zero intercept, L(D)
the limit of detection is the amount of analyte that yields a
signal outside the error of the false negative.
.
These comments are often not brought out in many classes.
.
GAS CYLINDERS
SOURCE:  J. V. Hinshaw, LC/GC North America 11-2016, P. 41
Gas Cylinder Safety, Part II:  Set up and Use
What I like about Hinshaw is that he does a fishbone diagram
to assess a wide variety is issues that could come up in
working with a common analytical tool.
1 comment
03/31/17
Where can grad students go for skills not taught in Universities
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Leadership, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 11:28 am

This is a story about two conversations.  The first is
one with a very accomplished senior grad student.

The second conversation is one of a series with
a department of chemistry chairperson.
.
Ph.D. LACKING NEEDED SOFT SKILLS
Almost Dr. Smith (not his or her real name) wanted
to talk about a situation in which she finds herself.  She
has received several promising offers, only to be rejected
after providing references.  She has learned from a reliable
source that the reference supplied the information that her
writing skills were not up to acceptable standards, whereupon
the offer was pulled.
.
She asked what can she do now?  Learn by various means–
reading for style and formatting, specialized training to write
for specific audiences, and practice, of course are several 
possibilities.  Shouldn’t the grad school provide that for her?
.
The answer is generally, not in today’s climate.
Second conversation, now.
.
PROPOSAL TO CHAIRMAN TO OFFER PRACTICAL
SKILLS TRAINING 
[Bring a solution, when you ask about a big concern you
have.]
When the new chair was installed I went to her with the
concern that many graduates do not have essential writing
skills and other “Soft skills” that we need to be successful.
What are some courses, programs of study, and tutoring
assignments (shadowing, draft writing, editing, reading)
that are offered or can be offered?  We will bring it up to the
dean, was one response.  
.
Another time, post-docs are people without support,
representation or a voice.  What can be done to help their
case?  That is up to the individual PI was the response.  I reflected
on several national labs, medical schools and NIH programs
and received the feedback.  That is not something I can do.
.
I pursued:  Why not?  some of the ideas are nice, but I would
be stepping on people’s [departments] toes and it is imprudent
to do here.
Another reason is that I can not impinge on the time they are
working in the lab.  They have so many distractions and
commitments as it is.  To add another requirement would take 
time from the research work that needs to get done.
.
So, it goes.  Outside speakers emphasize it is important to “get 
out of the lab” and learn extra-curricular skills through different
activities, internships and volunteer roles.  Most students immediately
reflect that their boss would not like them doing that.  Most say
they feel pressure to be in the lab 7×12 getting results.
.
While I receive consistent support for Professional Development
 activities in summer and both semesters, I am only one and
so much more could be done to make a difference.  What we
do is as much or more than is offered in other R1 institutions.
Please send in ideas and concepts working in other institutions.
I look forward to them.
 
2 comments
01/15/17
Watch-Outs. 100. Negotiation insight, Title IX-Parental Leave, Continuous Personal Development
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
MONEY12-2016  Trends in 2017 (Job Market)
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something 
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
.
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions.  Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
that range.”
.
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
L
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
strong recommendations as noted in 
Mason’s fine
article on Title IX
.
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers?  We do not think about that until often
it is too late.  It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it.  Engage in activities that 
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
range goals.
.
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the 
same things over and over is self limiting.  You need to 
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment 
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications.  The Economist highlighted observations
and some trends.  (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.  
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?  
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
.
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members.  How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.


comments (0)
12/15/16
End of the Year Career Management. 2016
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

Three top line topics have appeared this year:
1) Evolving trends in technical careers
2) Professional Behaviors that can help you
3) High Need for New Division in ACS– Economics
and Chemistry [Not only short periodic webinars that
are at 30,000 foot level and CEPA] 

*Trends in Technical Careers   
   Protein Binding, Quaternary Structure, Thorium Reactors
   Drug Resistance, Crowdsource Funding, Teamwork in High Risk Goals
   New forms of Light, Epidemiology, Cell research  
   Photonics and Si-C chemistry
   Omics, Panomics
   Optics, Spectroscopy and Miniaturization

*Professional Behaviors
   -Learning to Say “No”
   -Listening Skills          Activities of a Listener
                                        Focus elements
   -Trust                           Highest form of Motivation
                                        Elements of Communication  
   -Ethics                          Legal elements
                                        In Decision-making

*Economics and Chemistry
    New Division Proposal
    Need for “Forecasting”
    Superstar Organizations
    Financialization

 

comments (0)
09/29/16
Trust 2. Elements of Communication
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:37 pm

This topic may apply to working in teams, dealing with
customers and managing challenging situations.  Three
useful concepts come out of Leonard Greenberger’s
soft cover book, “What to Say when things get tough“.

.
A.  He characterizes the need to prepare and craft communications
tactically as beginning in the 1980s when a new field
emerged that outlined three steps observed in communications–
- ignore a situation or problem         NO COMMUNICATION
- explain with facts as you see it       ONE-WAY COMMUNICATION
- engage people involved                   TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION
This approach recognized the emotional component.
.
B.  The strategies he reported can use four equations:
P = R         PERCEPTION EQUALS REALITY
E > F          EMOTIONS TRUMP FACTS
S = B+        SUCCESS COMES FROM BEING POSITIVE
3P = HC     THIRD PARTIES TRANSLATE INTO 
HIGHER CREDIBILITY

What counts is your audience’s perception of what is happening
and whether or not you are trustworthy and credible source of
information
See events through the eyes of others.

Facts do not equate to winning people over.  When people are angry,
worried and suspicious, they absorb and sift through information
with the emotional areas of their brains.

Life is divided between things that make you feel and things that
make you think.  This is hard for scientists and engineers to
fathom.  Situations seek reassurance and empathy.  Understand
how others feel, rather than offering facts.

To achieve success, remain positive.  Words used can often
embody the feeling.  But receivers may pay more attention to
nonverbal cues.

Use third party resources to provide supporting feeling and input.
It helps that they have higher credibility.  The closer to your target
audience is to your source the better.

C.  CODE FOR DEVELOPING TRUST AND CREDIBILITY
                                                                    Weighting factors
Caring and empathy                                            50
Openness and honesty                                         10-15
Dedication and commitment                               10-15
Expertise and competence                                   10-15

Angry, worried and suspicious people pay attention not only to
what you say but also to what you do with your eyes, hands,
posture, clothing and other nonverbal cues.

Caring and empathy accounts for about half of the trust and
credibility judgments that people will make of you.    
 Telling relateable stories can be key.

comments (0)
09/04/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Recruiters, Leadership, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:58 am

The global pace is speeding up.  To meet the needs and
interests of members and institutional stakeholders the
Society needs to incorporate broader and deeper aspects
of economics in the technical and scientific aspects of
the chemical enterprise.

.
Think:  mergers and acquisitions; government funding of
CDC, EPA, NIH, chemical research;  international trade
arrangements; patent implications for different industries;
water, power, recycling…
.
This post recognizes the development of sustainability,
green chemistry, and internationalization of programs.  
Other organizations [ 1 , 2 ] have pointed out deeper and
broader economic implications. ACS has an ongoing
organization
to continuously update “historical” data for
members.   
.
We need to access disciplines that will continuously
FORECAST business cycles that affect the chemical
enterprise and describe implications to members and
constituents.
.
Robert Colvile has described how 
- more attention is paid to one issue rather than the
gradual and incremental changes all around us
- flashy and superficial is promoted
- faster and shorter-lasting dominates
- ease of money, ideas and pathogens moving around
with less friction and checking means disaster can
happen before we are aware
- industries and companies can disappear with a click
of a network or computerized trading micro-second
- trajectories are nonlinear and interruptable
.
One strategic area ACS needs to grow and foster
is economic forecasting.  This blog has reviewed
Tetlock’s Superforecasting and it is appropriate to 
bring up the Good Judgment Project as a seed for how
the ACS might bring economic forecasting to help
members.
2 comments
08/21/16
Listening.
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:43 pm

R.Nicholls and L. Stevens presented a case that listening
is an underappreciated and poorly instructed skill that
has many barriers.  

It is time to put it out front and center on this blog as a
skill all professionals need to pay attention to.  Just how
do we do that?

Also, it is incumbent on our educational system to
engage students in regular exercises that will be an asset
in all endeavors.
.
Nicholls and Stevens write about a University of
Minnesota approach that improves outcomes.  Notable
are four activities of the listener: 

  Engagement to have an idea what is coming and “think 
ahead”
to conclusions and generating a summary statement
  Internal reflection about evidence, logic and 
interfering features
– emotions, background, completeness
  Active listening to bridge all information, data and 
circumstances
pointing out what might not fit even at
intermediate points
  “Listening between the lines” to assess emotions,
nonverbals, and speaker editing and emphasis.

The authors provide some appropriate cases and
suggestions some of which may apply in your situation.

Then, Zenger and Folkman reveal what you and I
think what we should do and that those things are not
enough to be a great leader-listener.  As the key
requirement for being a leader is listening to others —
Key among them:

 - deliberate on the substance of the message
 - be alert to and observe all communication elements
 - awareness of cultural, physical and behavioral biases and
barriers
 - acknowledge and support deeply held features
 - respect in not trying to hijack the initiative of the
speaker.
comments (0)
08/17/16
Negotiations. 6. Calibrated “how” questions, “rule of 3″, Ackerman planning
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:29 pm

Reading Chris Voss’s book on negotiations convinced me
that we need to keep learning.  Don’t ever stop the process
of gathering new information from different sources,
especially experts.

Chris Voss really has the expertise that can be applied even in
simplest situations.  Watch
 - never say: have you a few minutes to talk?
 - instead say:, is this a good time to talk?
.
Get that other person to say “That’s right.”
Use the facts as the other person sees them.
.
Let me highlight several significant take-aways–
1. Calibrated “how” questions keep the negotiation going.  They put
pressure on your counterpart to come up with answers and
contemplate your problems when making their demands.
.
How am I supposed to..  How do we know…How can we….
.
How questions allow you to read and shape the negotiating 
environment.  You just have to know where you want the conversation
to go.

2.  3 kinds of “yes”:  commitment, confirmation, counterfeit

3.  Ackerman plan– set your goal, then first offer at 2/3 point,
calculate at three smaller increments
   use lots of empathy and different “no” strategy to counter, before
you increase your offer.
   use non-round numbers in your final offer
   after final number, throw in nonmonetary items

What was interesting was that Chris challenges many of the earlier
strategies in negotiation tactics.
.


comments (0)
07/21/16
Bayesian Thinking. Use of Slack for Project work
Filed under: Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:26 am

Innovation, experimentation and support from
leaders are often the keys to bringing progress.

As we have mentioned in a recent post, simply 
listing pros and cons is not the most effective 
way to move ahead, or, for that matter, make decisions.

Look for countering information, add more factors
and categories… Then apply the Bayesian logic of probabilities.

This is an example of critical thinking to consider.
Recently I had a conversation with a small business
in high tech who applauded “Slack“.  What he said is
that it has revolutionized his teams’ fun, focus, and
outcomes.  
Let me share how Slack is project management 
“mindfulness” from his blog.

 The suggestion here is this tool is one that can be broadly
applied and due to ease of use widely adapted.   It is like
using shared cloud storage or using search engines.

We in Chemistry should be leaping to use this in our
smaller groups.  Share your experiences and learnings.
Remember a negative outcome is often more useful in
the long run and not a “con!”
1 comment
06/30/16
Negotiations. What might you do dealing with Intimidation
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:14 am

We had an interesting problem dealing with a vendor who wanted us
to commit “right now.”  It is a situation that can happen broadly in
many employment scenarios.

James Baker provides situations where you might feel manipulated
in making decisions–
1- pressure with deadline:  question how real the deadline is, test
the parties motivation and propose what will be best for both
2- pressure with competitive price, vendor or approach:  ask for
details on the quality and terms of the competition.  Look for other
features you offer or provide.
3-  missing person to be consulted or limited authority:  ask to meet
with the person who has final authority or find out who makes the
final decisions regarding delivery, price payment, exact details of
the work.
4- moral appeal:  what is underlying motivation, indicate you are
looking to be fair with all and create good long term relations
5- good guy/ bad guy:  understand the manipulation and understand
that your requirements and needs are included
6- name dropping or association of related situations, number of
other clients, or similar customers.

Intimidators will use every trick they have and know.  When they
find it will not work, they will become friendly.  It is just another
“face.”  We need to find a way to convert them into someone who
we can reach an agreeable outcome with.

Another good resource is provided.

1 comment
02/11/16
Professional Behavior. Time management
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 1:15 pm

A colleague visited me asking for my thoughts on helping
her overcome a time management situation she faces.
Each day she comes into her laboratory in late morning
after sleeping late and having a little breakfast.  Her day
then involves responding to events, problems and questions from
others.  She finds herself staying late to complete work
she had started or was involved with in other people’s
projects.  Little of the work she wants to do moves forward.

What can she do?

It seems her direction lacked focus, not having determined
and communicated personal goals and objectives.  Once
these are done a gap analysis and timeline can be created.

She indicated she wanted to graduate in December, 2016
and we spoke about a fast track route by outlining and doing
literature research for a review article that she could write
about her methods and instrumentation.

Then, we spoke about setting daily and weekly agendas and
communicating with customers, collaborators and co-workers
a more disciplined approach.  In addition, she needed to identify
an accountability partner, someone who is interested, honest,
can remain confidential, and displays the behaviors of openness,
fast-response and care.

Other steps, captured by H. Bruch and S. Ghoshal in “Bias for
action,” includes:
1   Ask for feedback on plan and possible roadblocks
 2  Overcome negativity and build up excitement
 3  Visualize intention and make a personal commitment
 
Overcome ‘traps of inaction’
  1  develop an agenda\ reduce priorities, organize demands
   2  identify constraints and map trade-offs
   3  expand choices
   4  selectively break rules


comments (0)
02/02/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Resistance to therapies, Crowdfunding research, Teams and innovation
Filed under: Networking, First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:42 pm

Amazing new insights about working in the world of science and
technology poured out of a meeting last week while I was working
on other things.

They are so thoughtful and inspiring it is worth sharing them
and making the case that smaller (boutique) societies have
incredible value
.  What they aim to do is look for the unmet
needs of the larger, very topic oriented (silos of sub-disciplines).
They seek out the intersections of fields and the forefronts of
research
often outside of the realm of the larger industrial
organizations.

On reflection, three outstanding findings are shared in this
contribution about SlAS2016:  insights into resistance to
drug therapies of diseases
(cancers and ’superbugs’), crowdfunding
research, and tackling high risk, never performed team projects
with unknown outcomes.

Drug Resistance
Shana Kelley of UToronto reported chip based microfluidic
devices using electrochemical assays
to identify the bacteria
to know the proper therapies to apply.  Each year it is
estimated that 2 million  US cases of antibiotic resistant
infections, which can be caused by over use of prescription
drugs or employing the wrong agent for the infection.

An assay of redox active molecules that measures the levels
of metabolically active bacteria it the telling step in the device.
Anecdotally, having a tool like this available 90 years ago might
have saved Calvin Coolidge’s younger son.

Michael Gottesmann of NCI spoke about drug resistance found
during cancer treatment that involve at least four different
mechanisms:  target mutation, genetic mutation, cell type
changes and alterations of physiology (of blood or organs).
Cell models do not model in vivo gene expression.  calls for
coordinated treatment regimens of multiple mechanisms.

Crowdfunding
K Tom Pickard presented the case for a different research
sponsorship model that uses — “be viable or vanish”.   He cited
how this is becoming a viable approach to deal with shortfalls
in resources and seek out other sources that can have a
purposeful, entrepreneurial or doing the right thing motivation.

His primary focus is autism and he reported on use of
twitter, social media and kickstarter/ experiment.com .

Teamwork to achieve high risk goals
Adam Steitzner amazed the audience with the story of landing the
Mars Rover on the surface of Gale Crater  to answer the question
of whether there was/is life on Mars… 100 million miles away.
-   Separate people from ideas
-   Lunch with Enrico
       Get to know and like all the people you work with
-   Plan to change plans
-   Many times the answers we seek are in the questions
        Challenge all assumptions

comments (0)