Today's guest blog comes from Steve Bode, an IT manager in Lilly Data Sciences and Solutions.
I spent five years as a submarine warfare officer in the United States Navy. The most memorable moment, when I knew how vital my work on the submarine was, came in passing through the Panama Canal on our way to Hawaii. It had been a tremendously long, challenging, adverse experience, and my watch team led the journey through the canal. We had traversed through fog and rain, among cruise ships and swirling currents, on this 18-hour watch. As we went through the last lock in the canal and started to see the Pacific Ocean, people on a nearby tour boat started singing "God Bless America." That’s when I knew everything we went through meant something to those people. That’s when I knew my submarine family would always have my back.
Working at Lilly is strikingly similar to my experience in the U.S. Navy. It's not a commonality you'd usually associate with these two different organizations. It’s not organization, it’s not efficiency, and it's not leadership. It’s about family.
Let me explain.
The Navy and Lilly each have a mission—to "Protect the Country" and "To Make Life Better For People," respectively.
In the Navy we have a saying: "Ship, Shipmate, Self." This motto prioritizes how you should think about actions, a lens to view every day. By using this view, you always put the mission first and foremost, in this case whatever the ship is doing at a given time. As the mission succeeds, you must determine what can be done to help fellow sailors. Finally, once the two higher-level pieces are complete, you think about yourself.
In this, Lilly is quite similar. We focus on the patient first and foremost. The medicines, support system, technology, supply chain and administrative work all enable this mission. Then, once we’ve addressed our patient's need, we focus on what's best for the company and those around us. Finally, individuals do what is right for them and are rewarded.
This mission creates a strong sense of family. We’re all driving toward a single, powerful purpose—and we know that our colleagues have our back.
The rewards for this are varied. We don’t see the patient every day, just like I didn’t see every citizen under my protection while in the Navy. But there are occasions when you truly feel that what you’re doing is important.