#48 from R&D
Innovator Volume 2, Number 7
I direct a team
of materials science researchers in a large company.
I used to be frustrated that my boss spent so much time
visiting some of the labs under his control and so little visiting
mine. The labs on his
visiting route were doing the most exciting research, while mine
was usually assigned to more mundane objectives.
Our group felt like second-class citizens, and our morale
and productivity suffered.
One day I got up
the nerve to mention the problem to my boss, and he responded that
it wasn’t that he was ignoring us, but rather that the other
labs needed more attention. He
also admitted that he was unaware that we were disturbed by his
actions, and that he would try to correct the situation.
He did start
visiting us more often—for a couple of months—but then he
returned to the old routine of ignoring us and focusing on the
other labs. He
didn’t seem to be trouble-shooting in those labs, but rather
enjoying camaraderie with the researchers.
I talked the
situation over with my group and came up with the plan to invite
him to visit us every three weeks so we could tell him what was
going on in our lab and what
innovations could arise from our work.
As this latter topic seemed to spark his interest, before
each visit, our group planned presentations focusing on potential
My team now feels
more important and is aggressively focusing on new opportunities
for innovation. One
of our developments made a major contribution to our manufacturing
operation and was recognized at the corporate level.
Don’t wait for
your boss to notice your work.
Take the initiative to make sure your group is
visible—and your boss is enthusiastic about your activities.