There’s nothing worse than working with an investigator that is frustrated because he’s worked with someone that he can’t trust or count on. What is typically the problem?
1. Staff who are not responsive. Calls are not returned, e-mails receive no response; when an investigator needs help, he needs to do it himself.
2. Information he receives about his project is inaccurate or out of date.
3. Reports are presented with jargon and data that he does not understand, does not need, or with information isn’t useful. There is no explanation or assistance to understand the report.
4. No face to face contact with staff – communication is on the phone, or by e-mail.
5. Staff do not understand research concepts, or finance – they are pulling together information but don’t understand why.
The care and feeding of principal investigators: 3 things you can do
1. Schedule a face to face meeting.
2. Find out your PI’s information preferences (What does he want to know? How does he prefer to receive information? What kind of reports does he want?).
3. Outline a plan of action – and deliver.
Be sure to outline very realistic milestones at first, to make sure that you can accomplish what you say you will do by the deadlines you outline in your plan. Make sure to follow through on all calls and e-mails to establish trust.