Like & trust: a relationship in question

About a decade ago I started noticing people seem to not trust information they didn’t like instead of simply not liking it and going on about their business with this information.

At that time, I was about to report data that wouldn’t be well received and initiated an out of spec investigation prior to release. This is a kind of due diligence, to make sure that every step of the process was followed and ensuring instruments are correct. Once that is complete, the person that receives the data asks for a resample, they grab another sample and it is rerun, either returning the same results or different results.

The request for resample always reminds me of my post-doc advisor telling me — as a joke — if replicates count, do single measurements.

In all seriousness, if the resample results are different from the original – what does that mean?

There have to be rules made in advance and followed when the situation happens. One plant I worked in had a two-out-of-three rule, another plant had three-out-of-five, another didn’t have any rules and this led to significant angst during investigations if investigations happened at all. Without structure a lot of blaming and denial occurs, it just isn’t effective at all and allows for plenty of room for people to not trust the data and each other.

Blame and mistrust doesn’t solve a problem. Ever. So how do you get past it?

Common ground is usually the best place to start. We all want to make good product. We all want to be safe. We all want….. If you don’t find the thing we all want, take another step back. We all want to be paid. We all want to make it to retirement in one piece.

Keep common ground in the forefront, don’t let it become a common enemy it is just another way to place blame and reinforce mistrust. The next step is to point out what went well. Blame can lead to a complete rewrite of the process which is a complete waste of time if there are parts of it that are good.

Common ground, an understanding of what went right and appropriate guidelines or rules remove almost all opportunity for lack of trust when something unpleasant occurs. Keep in mind guidelines and rules don’t limit creativity, if anything they help it flourish because you can focus on the incident instead of defending a position or placing blame.

Next time you find yourself not trusting something ask yourself which it is, lack of trust or lack of like. Do something productive to fix the your own lack of like. And remember just because you don’t like something now doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it or make it better or perhaps even learn to like it with time.

In the case a decade ago, the mistrusted data was replicated time and again. The root cause was found to be the sample was taken from a dead leg and needed to be flushed for a representative sample to be obtained. This was only determined because analysis showed this sample point was resampled repeatedly, way more often then other points and the resample was often in spec. A longer look and a deeper understanding of the situation showed there was no need to place blame and mistrust was completely unwarranted, there were even a few solid solutions. A much better outcome than pointing mistrusting fingers at someone else, wouldn’t you say?

Published by survivorsherpa

I am a wife and mother to three daughters, a chemist and a breast cancer survivor. I would very much like to help others by caring and advocating for them while sharing my experiences and tips that may help to thrive during and after treatment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: