From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

August 2016
« Jul   Sep »
Filed under: Recent Posts, 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 
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 
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
 - acknowledge and support deeply held features
 - respect in not trying to hijack the initiative of the
comments (0)
Negotiations. 6. Calibrated “how” questions, “rule of 3″, Ackerman planning
Filed under: Recent Posts, 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)
Graduate Student Orientation. Self Assessment
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:46 am

Some universities have a section of their graduate
school orientation that will involve self assessments
for each.  It is so important that this part of
technical professionals education is incorporated
as it is so often missed or at least delayed so that
reflection and use of the learning can be part of
their education.

Our session incorporated concepts put forward
by Tom Vanderbilt and Daniel Goleman on how
Myers-Briggs, Values and Behaviors instruments
might be used.  Vanderbilt clarifies that our
“likes” form our identity and often are habitual
and we may not have a “why” or words to describe
categories and choices under specific
Goleman brings up the psychology of interpersonal
behavior  that brings in self-knowledge and logical
understanding of others values, behaviors and “likes”.
Equal time in our session involved actual exercise
engagements to point out how differences can be
systematic with groups identified by MBTI.

 - Who likes “small talk”, working by themselves,
who gains energy from crowds.
 - Pointing out the difference between the
“golden rule” [treat others like we want to be treated]
and the

“platinum rule” [treat others like they want to be
 - revealing habits of J vs. P profiles [again without
reflection and considering “why”] in working on
projects due in a month. [early starters vs pressure
 - hands on activity of selecting, building and
explaining a group toy project that emphasized
using creativity.
comments (0)
Trends in Technical Careers. New form of Light, Multi parametric analysis of cells and Epidemiology Careers
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:56 pm

We have a new competitor in science, technology and
engineering fields.  It is the Internet, computers and
automation.  We can be competitive in our careers if
we can do things that computers and robots are not
best at– creativity, originality, developing new 

hypotheses and interpretation.

If you are like I am you were taken by the news that
three Irish investigators reported interpreting the
behavior of light’s angular momentum.  It goes back
many years when lasers were originally reported and
how many important devices and technologies are
based on stimulated emission.

More and more complex systems are being
experimentally interrogated using high content screening
technologies..  John Conley has authored a insightful
review of important trends that new devices enable.
Finally, in discussing potential careers after graduation
with a computational biologist we brought up
epidemiology.  For a computationally astute scientist
this is a relevant and important career path that has
been brought to the fore by relevant high content
screening and computational estimation.  This 
is more significant in being cost and time efficient.

Ballantine et al have reported that light may be
characterized with a different property than wavelength.

There is speculation in how this can be applied. 

John Comley surveyed the field and projects where
developments and advances will come in computational
biology especially using confocal imaging where
CRISPR-Ca9 technology will be exploited. 

M. Marathe and N. Ramakrishnan outlined recent
advances and directions in their recent review.  
They wrote about future directions using synthetic
populations, social network sensors and data modeling.  
This work is of high value at CDC, MD Anderson
and Roswell Park
It is not accidental that physics, biology, biochemistry
 and computer science/mathematics is all brought
together in this entry.
comments (0)
Professional Behaviors. Taste, choices and preferences
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:15 am

Scientific thinking has undergone an evolution in the Internet
age.  Science commonly rationalizes outcomes based on
each effect has a cause.

There are rules and boundaries and limits and established facts.
That may be for the physical world.  Does that also survive for
humans, for teams, for what we like and what we may choose and
Scientific work can offer results, interpretations and predictions.
There is a logic to this line of thinking.
Recently, I read TomVanderbilt’s book, “You may also like: Taste
in the age of Endless Choice
” that raised more questions than answers
about the dramatic evolution we see in our imperfect, more
unpredictable world.
In a scientific world where we work with teams, customers and 
suppliers, it is a challenge to deal with the concept of human tastes.
They can be quite different than habit and cause-effect processing.
We can also think of our own “tastes” in light of some things
Vanderbilt wrote that
- our preferences most often depend on things we like in frameworks of
- tastes seem to depend on situations, circumstances and locations
- we choose and change choices and call upon a story for an explanation
[not the other way around]
- taste is comparative and adaptive
The Internet has brought about an explosion of the use, expression and
growth of our tastes, A/B testing, and recommendations.  We see this 
from Facebook, to texting photos, to Netflix as everyone can have and
express opinions which may or may not affect our thoughts.  We live
in a world of limitless choices so it behooves us to consider 
1.  shortcuts come at a price in what we think we like
2.  choices of words and meanings can bias thinking and feeling
3.  express why you like your choice/preference and it helps to consider
developing categories as our brain is a pattern matching processor
4.  it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘easy likes’ especially if we morph
what we see into something we think we see because we like.
5.  related to this is we like what we remember even if it is not true

comments (0)