Friday, December 23, 2011

Quote of the week: what a good organization feels like

I love this quote from Lt. Gen. Walter Ulmer (via Tom Ricks) about what a good organization feels like:
What is the essence of a 'good climate' that promotes esprit and gives birth to 'high performing units'? It is probably easier to feel or sense than to describe. It doesn't take long for most experienced people to take its measure. There is a pervasive sense of mission. There is a common agreement on what are the top priorities. There are clear standards. Competence is prized and appreciated. There is a willingness to share information. There is a sense of fair play. There is joy in teamwork. There are quick and convenient ways to attack nonsense and fix aberrations in the system. There is a sure sense of rationality and trust. The key to the climate is leadership in general, and senior leadership in particular.
I can't agree with this statement enough.  I especially like the bits about "joy in teamwork" and "convenient ways to attack nonsense." 


  1. I used to work in a place that had good "esprit". Unfortunately the Director of Research took it upon himself to destroy the "joy in teamwork" that really did exist by foisting a load of nonsense-based drug discovery on us. I managed to hang in there for a few years, but eventually the shame of doing such utter crap was too much. Sods law says that it will all work out really well for that company!

  2. Oh. My. God. Put a negation before every single sentence and it reminds me of...

    You know the world is upside down when a military officer steps forth as the wisest man on the planet.

  3. This quote is right on! And coming from an Army Lt. General in 1986 no less.

    I, too, liked the phrase "convenient ways to attack nonsense and fix aberrations in the system." It helps to have leaders who don't take it personally when things get off track. Put aside your ego and learn what you need to to change it. The times I've experienced (or been the source of) "my way or the highway" mode have really shut down the "joy in teamwork."

    "The key to the climate is leadership in general, and senior leadership in particular." With great leadership in place, the drama disappears and everyone can relax and do what they're good at.

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing it, CJ.

  4. I also have found that in such a group, new people tend to get sucked into the spirit too - it's self-reinforcing.

  5. I agree with DrFreddy: negate very single statement in the piece and you get the true atmosphere of Big Pharma. Truly, Pharma is about as delinquent and dysfunctional a workplace as is possible to get.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20