While our perception of reality changes daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet itself marches on much as it did before, turning with perfect cohesion in all its parts. Yet on the ground, many of us are like a novice gymnast attempting to traverse a balance beam in a hurricane. Persisting in the midst of this pandemic has revealed a number of unexpected challenges in our lives, some of them harsh. With such dramatic and widespread changes to how we live our daily lives, it is difficult to prevent those stressors from seeping into our professional lives. Although this can lead to error, it must also be factored in to future error prevention.
Like clinicians, most editors I know have a natural inclination toward attention to detail. As such, the discovery of errors can be particularly jarring when they turn up in a well-trod process. But going through such trials serves as a reminder to get back up, dust ourselves off, and move forward, come what may.
Among the iconic scenes in the film Cool Hand Luke is the “boxing” scene featuring Paul Newman’s ‘Luke’ versus George Kennedy’s oversized ‘Dragline.’ The scene is memorable for its brutality, but more so for the effect Luke’s actions have on his fellow inmates. Facing substantial odds, those inmates urge Luke to stay down, to seek an easy end to the fight. Dragline is just too big, they say. Over and over, Luke is laid low, felled by one haymaker after another. He continues to stand back up, only to be knocked to the ground again. At last, Luke mutters, “You’re gonna have to kill me.” He will not stay down. As Dragline and the rest disassemble in disbelief, Luke is left standing, albeit shaken, in the center of the round.
The willingness of laboratory leadership to keep standing back up, despite great challenge, despite being knocked down, will resonate with your staff. As with most things, actions speak louder than words.
If you have learned a valuable lesson during this pandemic, we would love to hear about it. Please feel free to send me a note to discuss.
With kind regards,
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