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Blog MD of Chiriquí

Non negamus ignem

September 13, 2023

I must confess something sinful that I am not proud of at all.  I know that by confessing this I am insulting other organizations that have done their best to formalize their structures and that's terribly unfair, and it even makes me a hypocrite.  To try to cushion that blow, I will share the laboratory's unofficial motto: "we don't deny fire", which is a regionalism indicative of being willing to take on challenges (even if things do not go well).  Other colloquial regionalisms are "Low on salt", to say that someone lacks spark, or "pa'po'la", an abbreviation of "for the afternoon", which means that one does not consume everything and saves something for later.

I thought at some point about making a Harry Potter-style crest and putting the motto in Latin or something as nerdy as the title of this post, but the truth is that I have never wanted to use a motto for the laboratory, because it seems to me that it should be something internal that those who work here know well, not an advertising strategy.

What I find funny, and again I apologize for the non-malicious offense, are those boards that state mission, vision and objectives of the business.  What mission does every company have?  Profit!  But they don't say that, instead they put something far-fetched, half-naive and that has more of a public relations approach than anything else.

Everywhere I enter, I look for the so-called "mission, vision and objectives."  They all say more or less the same thing, and sometimes it is far from their general practice.  For example, "Mission: Provide the best care or use the best ingredients or change the world...", when at the end of the day it is to increase the profit margin by minimizing the cost of production, using the cheapest materials, avoiding claims or lawsuits, at a price relative to the quality that ensures the return of the client.  Nothing remotely close to what the user or client experiences firsthand.

This is where Peter F. Drucker comes in and his quote "culture eats strategy for breakfast."  Drucker was an Austrian consultant, writer of multiple works on management and what he meant with this motto is that everyone in the organization must be clear about what should be done, how, why and for whom.  The rules must be clear and everyone must know them so that there are no contradictions.  From the new hire to the founder should know what the rules are about.

"We don't deny fire" is clear, short and concise.  Within the portfolio of services we have, we accept the challenges that our clients require, as long as it is within our competence.  We are not the first laboratory in the interior of the country, we are not the fastest and being "THE best" is very relative because we all have different strengths and weaknesses.  Being brave meant that we were the first in the country to offer immunohistochemistry, a special test for typing cancers, and the first to offer intraoperative consultation.  As far as I know, we are the only ones to have a blog to educate the public, the only ones with white papers and publications.  We don't deny fire.  We enter caves where others fear to enter.

Everyone in your organization should be well versed in the collective culture of your company and the community they serve.  Slogans that encompass this culture should be short and clear.  Here that internal motto works for us, which does not appear on any social network or in our office, and is very in accordance with the philosophy of the people from Chiriqui, who are very proud and independent.  The Texans of Panama if you want an analogy.

Any strategy to improve the competitiveness of the organization must be in accordance with the set of values ​​and beliefs that the culture comprises.  What is contradictory will cause problems either within the organization or with its users.  Messages and practices must be consistent so that everyone in the organization can respond in a consistent way.

Now ask yourself what are the seven words or less that define the spirit of your organization.  The motto that everyone will live by and make it clear.  What is the group of values ​​beyond profit if you are a company?

I hope you found it an interesting entry and that you can apply it to your own organizations.

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