Showing by author: CJ Fitzsimons

Group Leader is not the only career option
Last August, I was invited to run a mini-workshop at a post-doc retreat in the Swiss Alps. The beautiful landscape was conducive to good and creative work. One of the workshop topics was what career options are open to post-docs who do not want to [more]
How Not to Take “no” for an Answer
After-hours at a recent workshop, the conversation went slightly off the beaten track and people began to swap stories about what they learned from different challenging or funny moments in their careers. Several times, the topic of resilience ca [more]
I recently wrote about the 24/7 lab – one model for a successful research lab. The original Nature article about the lab generated a lot of discussion, including a thoughtful response in Nature from Julie Overbaugh. For those whose working s [more]
Five ingredients for The 24/7 Lab
I have been asked several times for my opinion on the Nature article, The 24/7 Lab – Working weekends. Leaving at midnight. Friday evening meetings. Does science come out the winner? The title took me on a trip down memory lane. When I was in Dubl [more]
How can I criticize without offence?
Clients regularly ask me about how they might criticize a colleague or employee, without that person taking offence – or how they might broach a delicate topic with someone. In most cases, the first step involves offering the colleague or employee [more]
Putting Lab Management in the Picture
  I got a good chuckle from the cartoon drawn by Leonid Schneider, participant at a recent EMBO Lab Management course run by Leadership Sculptor near Heidelberg, Germany. While the cartoon emphasises the strong involvement of participants, [more]
“I only need a minute …”
Interruptions have always been the bane of a researcher’s life and at the same time researchers need interactions to thrive. Most operate an open door policy and are annoyed about the level and style of interruption that ensures their own time is n [more]
5 Things to check before you start your project
Gero Lomnitz has an oft-copied  saying, “show me how your project starts and I can tell you how it will finish”. Usually, the painful projects start out badly and never really recover, despite our best efforts. We seem to be playing catch-up. He [more]
A mathematician’s approach to leadership
Most of my clients are curious about how a mathematician ended up as a Leadership Sculptor. You can read the biographical answer on my About Me page. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Another aspect is how my life as a mathematician has i [more]
Why you should eat your cake later
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund organized their first lab management course in 2002. After the 2005 edition, they issued the book Making the Right Moves (which you can download by following the link). Thomas R. Cech, t [more]
Observe first, judge later
I recently asked a group of research leaders how they would respond, when one of their people was trying to insist that a picture from a result was showing something that wasn’t in the data. The answers were varied. A few focused on the person’s [more]
Characteristics of great leaders
One of my favourite exercises in leadership workshops with people from R&D is to ask them to take a few moments to recall the best leader with whom or for whom they ever worked and think about what it is that makes this person special. For those [more]
How leadership complements management
I’m often asked about the difference between leadership and management. While it is helpful to be clear about the differences, you need to be able to both lead and manage, if you want to produce top results and people. Field Marshal Lord Slim, r [more]
What is leadership
Leadership is another of those things that people find hard to define, but can recognise it when they see it. I recently googled “leadership definition” and got 151 million hits, an indication that there are many definitions out there.  A dictio [more]