Q was the name we gave our former head of R&D. Yes, it’s a little Bond, but it was also a play on his name, McHugh. I had written a story on him several years ago, how in his 60s he saw the end of his career rolling in with the tide of youth. “I am too young to start looking back,”, he told me once, “and a little too old to be looking ahead.”
Anyway, I was shuffling through old papers and I found what he called The 10 Q-mandments of R&D. Q had taped it to the door of his lab. The sheet was a bit rumpled and had yellowed over time. The remnants of Scotch Tape were still visible on the edges. I read it over again though, really, I knew it by heart.
He saw the end of his career rolling in with the tide of youth.
1. Question – Everything…in particular the status quo.
2. Quibble – The answers are in the details.
3. Quantum – Seek quantum, not incremental, improvements.
4. Queue – Set priorities, keep to them.
5. Quick – First to market gets the advantage.
6. Quiet – Loose talk gives the advantage away.
7. Quality – Not to be sacrificed for expediency.
8. Quixotic – Quirky doesn’t make it creative. And it’s not creative if it can’t be done.
9. Quit – Know when to walk away; failure should be avoided, not fixed.
10. Quagmire – Where you are when you don’t walk away.
I carefully pressed the page and slipped it and a protective cardboard into an envelope. I brought it to Whiny Baby and asked her to have it framed and sent to Q.
It’s about time.