If my office location being in Ann Arbor, Michigan doesn’t tip you off to my collegiate sports allegiance, then this will. In 1983, University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler addressed his team with a motivational talk now known as The Team, The Team, The Team. I am reminded of this talk on this hot and muggy August day – just a few miles down the road from where, probably as I type this, the current Michigan football team is preparing for the season. So why is this relevant here? It’s the research, people!
I read his talk and I think about all of our amazing individual employees. I think about our nationally known research customers. I consider the pile of papers written by colleagues that sit on my desk ready to be read. I also consider the investment made by our research participants – the trust, time, and effort, often without much in return, that they put in.
What we are doing isn’t about any one of the individuals involved. It is about all of these individuals – and we cannot forget that. It is about what brings us together to do science, as scientists, practitioners, and participants. In this world, our “team” is the “research”. I quote directly from Bo’s talk, with modifications noted in brackets:
No man is more important than the [research]. No [individual] is more important than the [research]. The [research], the [research], the [research], and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my [research]?
As a field we have done fairly well at involving the researchers and the implementers in our research. How have we done with our participants?
Have we done what is needed to make them part of this team?