The term “creating a culture of…..” has become the cliché of the 2000s’ ethos of competent management. It is no longer enough to lay down the rules; train your personnel, and maintain documentation; now we must create an all-enveloping world of understanding, communication, compassion and comfort with the organization’s operating standards.    This new modus operandi applies to all organizational settings, whether offices, factories, retail, education, healthcare etc.; we are all enveloped by our new cultures.

In the laboratory, we talk about the “culture of quality”; but we can also be more specific and feel good about our “culture of customer service”; our “culture of safety”; our “culture of personal responsibility”; and our “culture of teamwork”.

Contrary to what you might be thinking at this point, I heartily support this evolution of organizational behavior and standard setting.  Just as we are undergoing a revolution in the technology of how, where and when  we communicate and relate to each other,   we are finding that this is changing everything related to human interaction.   It isn’t just the smart phone, or the use of social media, or the ability to message each other 24/7, it’s the idea that we all now have the ability to create instant communities, wherever we are.  When we are in the laboratory, we are immersed in our laboratory community; in the office, we are immersed in our office community; in the gym or spa, with our exercise community, with family, our personal community.

So, when you read about your laboratory creating a “culture of…..(whatever)”, buy into it, because this is the future of all organizational and societal aspiration.

For laboratories in particular, it is no longer enough to just set down the standard operating procedures, do the technical orientation, and training.  Today’s generation of laboratory professionals  already expect to work in  different and new organizational cultures.

Effective managers will already have embraced this and understand that successful laboratories will have to create new cultures of their own.  This also means that the old models of hierarchial management will no longer work; that the new cultural models are driven by two-way communication; and the acknowledgment that all, including new employees’, input should be listened to and valued.    If is not the case, you will have a difficult time retaining new, younger, energetic staff.