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From pathology to corporate strategy

From pathology to corporate strategy

When he isn’t overseeing teams conducting dissections in the lab, you just might find Dr Joe McDermott onstage giving a talk alongside the likes of Bill Clinton.

Irish-born, McDermott is the technical head of anatomical pathology at LabPLUS in Auckland City Hospital.

But he has also worked (without payment) as a management consultant, a post that last year led him to a speaking gig at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pathology in Las Vegas – a World Congress meeting attracting medical professionals from around the world – at which Clinton was the keynote speaker.

McDermott decided to explore the area of corporate strategy after constantly hearing about the problems facing businesses – which always echoed strains of the same story of bullying and dissatisfaction. 

While he has not worked as a consultant during his current contract with the ADHB, he is planning on using the skills he has gained as a medical laboratory scientist and manager in his science and medical career as a consultant in the future. 

McDermott's usual MO is to travel to the organisation he is working with, meet with the CEO and workers, and learn as much as he can about the business. After he has done this McDermott works with the teams to improve communication within the group. Assessments are then done after three and six-month intervals to track progress made. 

McDermott reckons that from a management perspective, overseeing a team, be it in a medical or business context, operates on exactly the same principle. 

"I see the same issues with teams all over the world," he says.

"The secret to successful management is communication. The problems within teams usually have a common theme – poor communication. How we communicate within teams is another issue."

Communicating the organisation's purpose is also important.

"What are the key issues for the team? More profit? Faster turnaround time? Better quality?  Does the team really know what the expectations of the organisation are?"

This post has been updated.