"Let me give you some feedback."
In Part 1, we showed how your current leaders are an essential asset in filling your leadership pipeline. We also introduced the Five Critical Capabilities needed by current leaders to develop upcoming leaders. In Part 2, using a real case study, we took a deeper dive into those Five Critical Capabilities: strategic talent mindset, talent identification skill, creating development opportunities, coaching skills, and interpersonal awareness.
Here, in Part 3, we discuss how to ensure the health and strength of your pipeline, by answering three questions:
- What is the status of your leadership pipeline?
- Is senior leadership aligned and bought in?
- Are key organizational levers aligned to create a culture that accelerates leadership development?
From our quarter-century experience in consulting with HR executives to help their leaders, here are the important things to consider in each question.
In Part 1 of our series, we explained that your company’s long-term strategic advantage relies on current leaders to develop future leadership talent. We identified Five Critical Capabilities that leaders must demonstrate: strategic talent mindset, talent identification skills, creating development opportunities, coaching skills, and interpersonal awareness.
Here, in Part 2, we present the remarkable story of how one HR executive leveraged those five talent-development capabilities with leaders to expand their severely restricted leadership pipeline.
Your company’s long-term strategic advantage relies on strong leadership to align people, execute strategy, clearly define the culture, and engage all employees. But as Baby Boomer leaders rapidly retire, most of their collective leadership experience — often 30 to 40 years’ worth — is out the door.
It’s not easy being a Regional Director in a pharmaceutical sales organization. There is a lot of pressure that comes along with the role.
After all, regional directors (RDs) are frequently being pulled in different directions, trying to satisfy corporate initiatives while also catering to the unique demands of their own districts. They are initiators as well as implementers, expected to translate strategy into its most tangible form in the field. Often this leads to an unfortunate series of misalignments, miscommunications, and misdirection.
So what then can be done to ensure strong and consistent regional director performance in pharmaceutical sales?
Pharmaceutical sales organizations are extremely diverse and have multiple generations represented in them – from baby boomers (born 1946-1964) to Generation X (born 1965-1980) to millennials (born 1981-2000). There are big differences between the generations, including different expectations and preferences when it comes to how they communicate, how they want to be managed, what they are looking for in a job, and how they approach their work. There are also things that the generations have in common.
As a leader, it’s important to be able to flex your style to meet the needs and expectations of all of your employees.
One of the questions you should ask is: How can I tailor my approach according to generational preferences and help meet individuals’ expectations to ensure an aligned, engaged and productive pharmaceutical sales team.
Try the following four strategies to harness the power of a multigenerational workforce.
The start of a new quarter and a new year typically generates a search for innovative ideas that can increase pharmaceutical sales growth and performance, especially if numbers have been lagging.
So, where do you look for the best ideas? Behavioral science may not be on your radar just yet, but it should be. Managing pharmaceutical sales performance by recognizing the science behind the behaviors visible in your organization can be just the differentiator that improves performance and creates lasting change.
Instead of following trends this quarter, why not implement these proven, evidence-based principles from applied behavioral science?
Change leadership is critical to your pharmaceutical sales results because of the acceleration of change in today’s pharmaceutical sales organizations. Change has evolved over the years from leaders just managing the change to leaders needing a full set of change skills and capabilities.
Change is no longer an event; it is a constant for organizations, and pharmaceutical sales representatives are looking to their leaders to help them navigate the flurry of change and to understand how to harness it to produce profitable performance.
In today’s environment, companies are heavily engaged with multiple, constant, concurrent and rapid changes impacting their pharmaceutical sales force.
When we think about achieving lasting behavior change in pharmaceutical sales organizations, we tend to mean change in the behavior of the consumers.
For example, how can we get consumers to develop sustainable habits around taking medication? How do we make interacting with web portals easier and more user-friendly
What many companies have not yet realized is that there is a different group that warrants the same kind of purposeful attention around behavior change – your pharmaceutical sales team.
While some pharma sales organizations are already taking advantage of behavioral levers today, there is still plenty of opportunity for growth in leveraging behavioral science to drive pharmaceutical sales team performance.
Pharma organizations can take a cue from other industries, which have realized the power of the behavioral science for their own sales forces.
Pharmaceutical sales leaders who are known to get results know there are critical leadership behaviors that¬¬ improve their ability to excel in their role. These leaders understand that strong sales performance is correlated with sales leaders engaging with their organization and the teams they lead in the right way at the right time.
Here are five critical leadership behaviors exhibited by successful pharmaceutical sales leaders.
Your goal is to be on the same page – to achieve and sustain true business alignment. However, it’s common for pharmaceutical sales organizations to roll out strategic and thoughtful initiatives that get off course soon after they are launched. Without team alignment, you’ll immediately start to see frustration and conflict between sales teams that need each other, and flatlined results for your organization.
Establishing high-performing pharmaceutical sales organizations takes time.
But, there are several things you can do today to ensure change does happen reliably and sustainably. It all starts with an open mind towards new ideas and the willingness to consistently apply best practices across your pharmaceutical sales organization.
Many companies boast about their cultures of innovation. They incorporate creativity and openness into their mission or values statements. They reward employees for new insights and ideas. They hire and promote for innovation. Yet despite such measures, they find that their teams remain stubbornly locked in place, struggling to generate new ideas and to execute even minor change initiatives.
My friend was frazzled. She had joined a large, consumer-facing organization, where she was immersed in the exciting work of redesigning the customer journey map. But she faced a major obstacle. Line managers were accustomed to doing business the old way. They knew how to get things done in that environment. They felt comfortable with leading and managing outcomes. How could she help these managers through the trouble and emotional turmoil of learning something new even as they continued to deliver on significant business expectations?
Several years ago, we surveyed two dozen CEOs about what they thought were personal qualities instrumental to successful leadership. Their reflections on this topic surfaced 6 Personal Qualities Instrumental to Successful Leadership. Here they are –
Is your company stormproof?
The storm I’m talking about isn’t a tornado or hurricane, but rather a “perfect storm” in the battle for talent. A tightening labor market combined with baby boomer retirements is adding up to significant talent gaps at many companies. Younger workers are often not ready to take over in leadership positions. Meanwhile, they are becoming frustrated with perceived shortfalls in the leadership development opportunities available at many companies.
Have you heard about Adobe’s Kickbox? It’s a little red box filled with materials that take employees through a six-step, self-guided innovation process. Employees who have a new idea they want to pursue take a workshop and then proceed through the stages of innovation on their own. Each box contains a credit card with $1000 in seed money.
Do you remember that line, from a 1978 public service announcement encouraging viewers to join the Peace Corps? (Hint – “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love”) Well, it seems like it might also readily apply to the CEO job. Our survey of executives found that being CEO was much tougher than our executives ever imagined, but also much more rewarding.
First, the tough part. The CEO job is demanding in every sense of the word, requiring physical, mental, and emotional stamina. “I had no idea how physically demanding the job would be,” one CEO told us. “For this job, I need to be energetic, focused, and disciplined.”
As a new CEO, you can’t do it all alone. While you might have the authority to make the company’s strategic decisions, you will never have all the information you need to make them nor the time required to implement them. That’s why one of your first jobs should be to select your senior team—and to do it well. As one participant in our CEO study observed, “You can never have too good of a team. Upgrading the talent makes a magnitude of change in the organization. You probably never have a team as good as you think you have, and you can always improve your team.”
By: Amy Durgin, Ph.D., Associate Consultant; Marcia Dolby, Sr. Principal; Carolina Aguilera, Ph.D., Principal
Nationally known voice on generational differences in the workplace Kim Huggins, was recently interviewed by Generis (an organizer of business summits including the American Manufacturing Summit) on the topic of Leading A Multi Generational Workforce in Manufacturing.
Most turnaround work occurs during the execution phase—but key activities performed during the shutdown, cleanup, and startup phases (SCS) can make or break a turnaround’s success.
We’re all too familiar with the shift in buzzwords and industry jargon over time. Words such as “customer-centric” “big data,” and “innovative” are sure to grab our attention today, whereas “paradigm shift,” “synergy,” and “bandwidth” were hot terms in the past.
The business leader seeking practical advice and wisdom has many options these days. Too many, in fact. Blogs, articles, and postings abound—a tidal wave of ideas coming at you each and every day, more than you could possibly read. Yet much of this material is what we might call “management knowledge light”; much of it is opinion and hearsay. Often it’s trendy. Sometimes it’s simply wrong. Where can you go when you’re looking for truly helpful advice grounded in decades of science as well as original research? Where do you go when you want substantive advice that really works?
What does it take to succeed in the top job? In our study of sitting CEOs, executives pointed to six kinds of developmental experiences that they believed had been integral to their success. While not a simple recipe for success, these experiences nonetheless serve as a valuable guide for anyone interested in preparing well for the c-suite and CEO position.
Taking the reins as CEO is tricky. Some participants in our CEO study told us of smooth and helpful transitions, others of strained transitions that couldn’t happen fast enough for one or the other party. Although no firm recommendations emerged as to how long a handoff should last or what incoming CEOs should say or do, executives we spoke with emphasized the importance of attending to a number of specific items during the first 100 days. Be sure to:
You’ve been working toward the top spot for years. Now that you are the CEO, you have to lead your former colleagues, even some who might not be all that thrilled at the prospect. What do you do?
The Board of Directors is a primary stakeholder group for any CEO. When CEOs enjoy strong relationships with their Boards and individual Board members, they can generally make swifter progress. On the other hand, when relationships between CEOs and their Boards become strained, CEOs find all kinds of roadblocks cropping up.
If you hope to become CEO, you can’t be a wallflower. A key part of any CEOs job is to represent their organization to diverse audiences, including analysts and investors, the media, members of the local community, government officials and even heads of state.
Companies pay millions each year to researchers and consultants to help them understand employees in various generational cohorts. Yet some observers have begun to ask whether companies are going too far, and whether generational divisions are overblown, if they exist at all (see New York Times article Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers)
Do you regularly seek out information from people across your organization? Do you maintain a cabinet of trusted advisors—confidents who are willing tell you not only the good but also the difficult truth when appropriate? Do you look closely at behaviors of your own that may prevent others from speaking openly with you?
Joining an organization from outside and inheriting an intact senior team, possibly containing members who had been passed over for the CEO job, brings obvious challenges. CEOs in our study who had lived through this situation reported that it was important to build their own credibility with the team while also assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their new colleagues. “One thing I knew I had to do quickly,” one CEO told us, “and I felt prepared to do, was to build trust and confidence in me. I had to do this with my management team, and I had to do it with the other stakeholders, including the Board and with our customers.”
Research by Accenture has found that almost all CEOs peg their organization’s long-term success on innovation. Yet fewer than a fifth see a payoff to the very substantial investments they’ve made [See the Accenture article here].
If you’ve ever watched one of television’s popular singing competitions, you no doubt have marveled at the number of obviously untalented individuals who go on stage anyway, thinking they can sing. Didn’t anyone bother to tell them they have a tendency to veer off-key?
Do your managers give enough feedback? Do your line workers perform job tasks consistently and well? Do your teams focus on a few key items when trying to improve their performance?