Join ALULA's Martin Scott, Principal Consultant as he guides you through seven important steps to creating and delivering engaging and informative presentations.
With COVID-19 restrictions and work-from-home orders lifting, executives are working toward shared workplace reentry. Some organizations are planning a phased return to the workplace, starting with senior leadership. Others are focused on critical functions, like R&D. Still others feel it’s a bad idea to shift people who can work from home back to the office before a vaccine is in place.
While organizations are diligently addressing systemic and process requirements, leaders are thinking about how they will lead to achieve a smooth transition.
There is a time-tested military leadership best practice that is known by the mantra; “Officers eat last.” It is reflected in what Simon Sinek described as a “circle of safety” that exists in high performing organizations so that all members will feel safe and secure and able to focus on battling external challenges and “seizing big opportunities” as a team, rather than worrying about internal conflicts and threats. That safety net is established by supportive leaders; those who put their people first and who will make personal sacrifices for the good of their teams.
Leaders planning the return to workplaces for employees who have been required to work from home (WFH) because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are finding they will need multiple working arrangements to keep their businesses thriving.
Whether returning to the office all at once, in staggered shifts, using split schedules, or maintaining WFH for some or all, leaders will need to be flexible and adapt their behaviors and management skills to deal with the fusion of the unique cultures attributed to each of these ways of working. Complicating the situation further are the still-to-be-determined cultural norms for how to behave in a socially distanced work-world.
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living and working with a mental health issue. More and more, companies realize that it is time to fight stigma, provide support, educate and advocate for policies that support people with mental health issues.
Whether intended or not, teams working remote feel the need to be virtually present all the time. This desire to be visibly productive to their leaders and colleagues is creating longer than necessary work days and a lack of attention to personal priorities.
You athletes will probably laugh at this but humor me – there is a point – and it’s a true story!
When I was in basic training I was not much of a runner. We were doing our final test - a seven-mile run, and I was struggling at about the 5-mile mark when my instructor came up beside me and said something to me that I have never forgotten. He said; “I can see that you are getting tired and you have quite a ways to go” Then he said, “Don’t think about the end; instead just keep putting one foot in front of the other one.”
Personal Reflection: Staying engaged while being new and virtual.
Anh Vo joined ALULA at the beginning of 2020 and was progressing through her onboarding when the whole world changed. Onboarding to a new company is challenging in itself. But onboarding during a pandemic is especially challenging. These are Anh's thoughts on making virtual onboarding work.
January ended on an immense high note: I was joining a new company and a new team! I was really looking forward to getting to know everyone and learn about the organization, as well as my place in it. Things were progressing as planned. I got to attend the annual company meeting (in beautiful San Diego!) and meet everyone from all over the country. I traveled to the company headquarters for an onboarding session and met with colleagues. The usual onboarding activities, as expected.
In this time of pandemic, we are intensely caring for our families, our clients, our company, and our careers—and in some cases even schooling our children at home, or caring for loved ones and neighbors. We are giving 110% to everything at once. Many of us have become adept at this, working virtually, leading meetings remotely, hurtling forward day-after-day.
But too often we are not caring for ourselves. Though we are strong, leading the way daily, our minds and bodies need breaks too.
ALULA has worked as a virtual company for years, so we’ve learned a lot about staying healthy in “the virtual life”—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here’s some advice, especially for those who may not be accustomed to working from home.
When a crisis hits, many companies turn their attention outwards. Understandably, business leaders spend time crafting external messages and planning for ongoing communication to clients, partners, and other external stakeholders. Equally important, business leaders need to craft plans for nurturing and strengthening internal relationships through ongoing communications.
As we practice social distancing, we are also practicing new ways of working together. But even as we are keeping our distance, we still need the social part! I don’t know about you, but I miss the chats during coffee breaks, going to lunch with my colleagues, or just stopping by their desk for a quick check-in. All those small interactions that we took for granted are now sorely missed.
We know that high-performing teams have two strengths: productivity (alignment, accountability, efficient decision-making), and positivity (trust, camaraderie, clear communication). Unfortunately, when we are in a virtual environment, all we can see or measure is productivity—what we accomplish by day’s end. It is easy to overlook the positivity part—the human connection—which is what really drives employee engagement. Our daily human connections are as vital to productivity as doing the task itself.
In these uncertain times, your team members will have deep-seated concerns about their health, their families, and job security. It is critical that you recognize the value they bring to the continuity of your operations and to your organization’s culture. How you relate to your team during this worldwide pandemic will have lasting consequences.
It is critical to maintain solid relationships that demonstrate trust and respect, inspire, show empathy, and create positive accountability. Your primary role as a leader in these times is to ensure that people continue to feel valued, heard, and connected.
We are facing times of true uncertainty, and that means leaders, their organizations, and the people within them are faced with enormous challenges. Most people have a hard time dealing with unknowns, and this can be exacerbated by a relative lack of information, or, as is the case in the current situation, an abundance of information that causes fear and concern. People have questions, and leaders find they don’t have all the answers. As more information becomes available, leaders must realize that their decisions are now much more than just business decisions. What leaders say and do next can ultimately have significant implications for their people and affect individual lives and careers.
Personal Reflection: Caring for Family and Colleagues
These personal reflections are from Danielle Geissler, Ph.D. A trusted advisor and coach to many senior executives in the U.S. and abroad, Danielle boards planes, trains, and secures ride services on a daily basis to better help executives create positive, productive, and engaged workplaces. She resides at—what is today—the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak. These are a few of her insights.
When it comes to bettering ourselves and our lives, we’re likely to get inundated with a range of different resources. Over the years, publishers have continued to release hundreds of books devoted to growth and self-improvement. More recently though, consumer trends find readers gravitating towards material that focuses on how we can develop new habits that are genuinely positive and radically sustainable.
Here you are: tasked to design and implement a foolproof strategy that will elevate your organization to the next level. It’s likely that you’ll build your strategy around some variation of the following goals:
Have you ever been on a team that feels like it is stuck in a loop? Trapped in a cycle of ineffectiveness or mistrust? Have you ever wondered, “How did we end up here?”
There’s a lot of discussion about Gen Z and the impact they will have on the workforce. The Wall Street Journal reports that they seek financial stability and are industrious. Inc. Magazine tells us they are culturally diverse and risk averse. Forbes says that they want to be judged on their own merit and they want to work with autonomy.
In every work environment you’ll hear talk of teams. Teams are formed deliberately and carefully to achieve the objectives and goals of an organization.
Many of us are part of multiple teams—a core team, plus at least one cross-functional team. In our work with many Fortune 100 companies, we know that the best teams all possess the same secret for success: a leader who knows how to create and lead a high-performing team.
My colleague, Kim Huggins, presented on “creating and leading high-performing teams,” and joined a panel on inclusivity and relationship-building as a leader. As I listened to the speakers, I thought: these topics are relevant for any leader, regardless of gender or seniority.
Audits tell us whether employees are following safety procedures, right? Not necessarily.
Audits don’t always tell the whole story. I’ve seen cases where well-trained employees looked good on the audit yet had a troubling number of incidents on the job.
I’ve seen situations where companies have an admirable history of safety practice yet still experience fatalities—and in one case, two-thirds of the deaths occurred in high-risk areas.
How is this happening when their audits looked so good?
It’s not easy getting the most from your sales teams. Organizations are getting better at developing and supporting sales reps to drive sales results. But they still often struggle with the fact that each project, each team and each sales process is different, and therefore requires a fresh look at how to shape the environment to best support the sales reps.
Having a laser focus on patient needs is table stakes in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. Organizations must continually measure and improve their processes for keeping a patient and their community of family and friends informed regarding the patient’s well being. Equally important is giving the patient a voice in their care, including choices about medical options and sharing in decision-making about recovery.
We at ALULA were recently speaking about patient centricity with a Senior Executive of Patient Advocacy at a major biotechnology company. Here is what we learned.
Companies are eager and ready to invest in digital transformation strategies, but are they achieving results? The numbers so far indicate that the answer may be a resounding “no.”
Several studies report that up to 80% of transformation efforts fail to achieve their intended goals. Another study polled senior executives and found that 50% feel their company is not successfully executing digital strategies. What’s causing this?
ALULA recently had the opportunity to participate at The POWER of Professional Women conference in Philadelphia, PA. During the conference we had the opportunity to engage with Millennial panelists, active in the workforce, to find out why they change jobs and what companies can do to retain them. Research shows that 21% of Millennials changed jobs in the past year, and 60% say they are open to new job opportunities.
By 2022, worldwide investments in the digital transformation of business practices, products, and services are expected to reach nearly $2 trillion (Source: International Data Corporation (IDC)). However, research by Forrester indicates only 27% of businesses have a coherent digital transformation strategy in place for creating customer value. Furthermore, in a recent survey conducted by Wipro Digital, out of 400 US companies with an articulated digital transformation strategy, 50% of their executives felt their company was not successfully implementing those strategies.
New Year’s resolutions: the age-old annual practice most commonly associated with failed attempts to change personal habits. Despite our best intentions at the start of the January, it’s widely known that over 75% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.
Most articles on the topic endlessly rehash “how to really make it stick this time” or “why we should stop making resolutions in the first place.” But we’re overlooking a valuable lesson these failures teach us about organizational change.
How to love. How to live. How to fix anything. How to lose weight. How to stop worrying. How to train your dog, bird, cat or dragon. How to manage projects. How to manage time. How to set goals. How to influence people. How to negotiate anything with anybody. How to survive the zombie apocalypse.
We live in a "how-to” world. A quick search of “how to” in Amazon.com yields over 800,000 books and videos with the phrase in the title. The popular For Dummies series has over 2,500 titles and the Idiot’s Guide series has nearly as many. And take a look at your local newsstand and you’ll see covers littered with articles telling you the 5 things you must know, the 3 insider secrets that will guarantee success, or the 7 steps to improved performance.
A marketing exec friend of mine gave me a call the other day to catch up. After swapping stories about families and our current work, he finally asked after years of knowing me, “What exactly is change management anyway?”
The other day I was explaining the results of a change readiness assessment to an executive and shared a piece of news he found disturbing. He believed that everyone wanted the change that he was leading because when he spoke with others in the organization about it, they all told him it was a great idea.
Emperor . . . you have no clothes, I explained.
Pharmaceutical companies have been talking about patient-centricity for years.
Yet, many pharma companies find it challenging to make patient-first thinking a pervasive trait throughout their organization.
In its simplest terms, creating a patient-centric culture is about being authentic and open in communicating to patients, taking care to understand their needs, and giving them a voice in the management of their care. Patient-centricity simply requires putting the patient first or being empathetic to their story.
Are you searching for ways to get better results from your sales team? Here’s a chance to look back at some of the top articles and tips from 2018. As we shift into the new year, you’ll have a valuable perspective on how to get the most out of your sales team.
The health care industry has made strides to involve the patient across the entire value chain, from research and development to differentiating the needs of patients, to ensuring efficient ways for access to medication.
There is a movement towards patient-centricity, typically defined as more than just feeling empathy and a connection to patients. More and more, patient-centricity is about creating the intersection between a positive patient outcome and a business benefit.
Pharma sales teams can leverage and form this value-based intersection of patient outcome and business benefit by creating a patient-centric approach in their daily work. If you can increase the pharma sales team effectiveness in creating a patient-centric culture, it likely equates to more sales, more lives saved, and a greater impact on the community.
Digital transformation is top of mind for many organizations, large and small, these days. However, knowing exactly what digital transformation means to a company and its leaders can be fuzzy at times. The complexity of the needed transformation can be daunting, and the path to realization of a digital transformation strategy can be filled with false starts and resistance.
Coaching is an investment and should be a positive experience for your pharma reps, where they learn what they do well and discover where they can improve.
Below are three proven coaching actions used by effective pharma sales managers to help their teams reach business goals.
Behavior change isn’t easy. Changing habits isn’t easy, either. Especially when life happens and derails the best laid plans, a common reason for failed behavioral change.
So, what can you actually do to change behavior?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the core of pharmaceutical sales. They are simultaneously the output and driver of sales representative behaviors.
Sales representatives use performance indicators to evaluate their relationship management and district sales strategies, ensuring they get the best results. Regional directors use them to identify training and development opportunities in sales reps, revise targets, clarify their own vision and direction, or find new or different ways to motivate performance. National directors use them to make strategic hiring and market development decisions, coach regional directors, and remove barriers.
But while pharma sales KPIs are valuable to all members of your organization, many companies fail to use these metrics to their full potential. Learn how the following three steps can ensure you’re aligning with KPI best practices and maximizing performance improvement.
Is your pharmaceutical sales team motivated? If you are like most sales leaders, you look to KPIs to find out. And that’s a good start – after all, making your sales targets at least indicates that you are putting in the work to be successful. Or, a nice bonus might be the motivator to continue hitting sales targets.
However, we tend to overlook the fact that sales environments are high-pressure, punishing environments to work in, especially when it comes to pharmaceutical sales. Salespeople often face barriers that are out of their control, and failures can stack up quickly.
So, how do you get your sales teams to deliver consistently, stay motivated, and think outside of the box to generate new opportunities?
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.
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.
A high-performing Turnaround Steering Team is your key to better planning and execution.
Turnarounds are a complex, challenging, and expensive part of capital intensive industries (e.g., refining, mining, power generation). Successful turnarounds require significant collaboration and alignment between operations, maintenance, and engineering to ensure best-in-class performance.
You’ve heard it a thousand times. How athletes use positive self-talk to eliminate pre-game jitters and improve their performance on the field.
What if we told you that self-talk is a powerful tool in business too? By modifying one simple habit you can flip a switch in your brain and improve the quality of your decision-making and subsequent on-the-job performance.
Skeptical? Stay with us on this one. Researchers across disciplines are discovering new insights on what many consider conventional wisdom: how we talk to ourselves can truly make a difference in how we behave.
Late scope jeopardizes turnaround schedules, adds additional costs, and increases safety risks. Here's what you can do about it.
Even the best-planned turnarounds experience some late scope; discovery work, compliance work, and last minute process optimization opportunities are par for the course. In highly disciplines companies it’s common to anticipate late-scope of up to 7%, which is often seen as a best in class industry benchmark.
The effective, efficient, and safe performance of contractors is critical to superior turnaround performance; their performance can often make or break the cost and duration of your turnaround. Like most of our clients, you probably train and orient your contractors—before a turnaround begins—in your company’s policies, safety procedures, work rules, quality standards, and culture. While this initial training is vital for getting off to a good start, our experience has been that the oversight and monitoring during the turnaround is even more important for ensuring top performance.
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.
For each turnaround, you probably form a “turnaround team” for planning, scheduling, execution, and look-back. This team typically includes various organizational functions, meets often, and is responsible for the turnaround’s success.
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.
These portions of the turnaround should require a fraction of the time to complete, compared to total turnaround time. But poor planning and execution of blind lists, procedures, permits, or chemical cleaning work scope quickly lead to longer durations and higher cost.
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.
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)