Taren Grom, Editor
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By Taren Grom
Life-sciences organizations operate in a complex and challenging environment that includes tighter funding, reimbursement restrictions, longer and more expensive product development cycles, and more regulatory oversight. Whether future leaders are prepared to manage in this complex and evolving environment, according to experts at Spencer Stuart, depends a great deal on the organizations’ ability to identify and develop high-potential executives. Spencer Stuart’s survey of life-sciences CEOs and human resource managers revealed that the profile of leaders is changing. In the current environment in which the costs of healthcare and product development are rising and funding is more difficult to secure, leaders must possess operational, people development, and business development experience, and a strong results orientation. With corporate governance practices under the spotlight, senior executives also must possess unassailable personal and professional ethics. Experts at Spencer Stuart also note that if executives are going to adequately prepare their organizations for the future, they must make talent development a priority. Additionally, talent development programs are most effective when they have the support of the highest levels of management and are closely linked to company strategy and executed widely across the organization. They should include clear, well-managed, and systematic processes, including processes for measuring results and holding managers accountable for success. A CHANGING PROFILE In the current environment in which the costs of healthcare and product development are rising and funding is more difficult to secure, leaders must possess operational, people development, and business development experience, and a strong-results orientation as well as unassailable personal and professional ethics. Downey. Solvay. Today, leaders have to be forward thinking, and particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, they need to be able to map out what is happening now, what the market dynamics are, and what is likely to happen in the future and adapt accordingly. They have to have the capability to make tough decisions. They have to be good communicators. They have to have strong innovation skills. Additionally, they have to have an understanding of risk management and how to assess risk and know how risk may affect the business. Spofford. Powerful Execution. Technical competencies get people in the door; the differentiators are the softer skills, such as awareness of self, understanding the impact one has on others, and having executive presence, which is having self-confidence. I also think empathy plays heavily in leadership development. Lim. Halozyme. Strong interpersonal skills, or what we call people skills, are at the top of the list. Based on the number of stakeholders who one must successfully interact with as they move from middle management to executive management, these skills make the difference between success and failure. In no particular order, there are a number of different attributes embedded in these people skills, including strong communication; insight into one’s own strengths and weaknesses; humility to admit the need for help; the ability to not only work well with others but also to be able to earn their respect, trust, and motivation to work hard; the ability to work through challenges; and the ability to not take things personally, but to do what’s right even if it hurts other people’s feelings. In these cases, the difference between success and failure is maintaining positive, constructive working relationships with others in spite of these differences of opinion or challenges, which inevitably occur during the course of working together. From a technical perspective, I believe depth of expertise is very important in moving up to middle management. However, in moving from middle management to executive management, breadth of expertise and the ability to rapidly assimilate new information outside of one’s own expertise, as well as to make decisions under tremendous uncertainty, are critical skills. I’ve found that people with cross-disciplinary training are particularly valuable to the company because they are able to see connections and insights at the intersection of different disciplines, which leads to creative problem solving and new paradigms. Cotherman. Corbett Accel. The first things required from leaders today, and especially in the future, are global understanding and market sensitivity. Clearly, the world has become smaller and far more connected because of technology. Clients are doing business in every market in the world so it is going to be absolutely essential for future leaders to have a very good understanding of the global marketplace, what it will take to compete, and how to do business with multiple countries and different cultures. From our perspective as a healthcare communications company, leaders must have a strong understanding of brand stewardship and integrated marketing in an increasingly accountable business environment. The ability of senior-level marketing communications professionals to understand how all of the pieces fit together in an efficient, effective solution set is critical. Leaders also need to be able to align otherwise scarce and often competing resources toward a mutually beneficial outcome. We have long left the era of top-down management and being effective is now about collaboration. Waldron. St. Joseph’s. Academic credentials from AACSB-accredited institutions and mastery and competency in all related business disciplines are vital to making one’s way to the C-suite and senior-management level. Additionally, proven performance, self-awareness, a high level of emotional intelligence, and a keen sense of organizational vision are also major contributors to one’s upward mobility. Seltzer. Boyden. The critical skills are those that prepare a senior executive to operate effectively in the ever-changing landscape of the life-sciences industry. Whether the changes are driven by technological innovations, corporate consolidations, or both; flexibility and adaptability are crucial. Those who want to advance would also be well-served by a tolerance for ambiguity, openness to change and new ideas, and the ability to influence others. These are hallmarks of interpersonal effectiveness. Other foundational skills include: big-picture, enterprise-level, global thinking, and the capacity to process interconnectedness among elements that, on their face, seem completely separate. M. O’Connor. CMR Institute. The ability to act and think strategically is critical to move to a leadership position. Integrity cannot be overestimated, especially as today’s leaders are being held to a higher standard. A good leader has to have the ability to lead a diverse group of people with specific sensitivity to generational and gender differences. For example, the rewards and recognitions that motivate Gen Xers are different from what motivate people of my generation. Gen Xers tend to be motivated more by a work-life balance than money. Rewards are important, whether these are intrinsic rewards or external rewards such as being recognized by their peer group or leadership group. Leaders also have to have the ability to build and motivate teams, as well as inspire and coach team members to help reach the strategic vision of the organization. L. O’Connor. Ngal. Great leadership is not a title; it’s a state of being. Great leaders have keen emotional intelligence — specifically self-awareness, self-knowledge, and authenticity. Leaders need the self-knowledge to know their strengths and their weaknesses. They need to be aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and actions, and they need to understand the impact — both positive and negative — that they have on other people. The higher people go in an organization, the more they need these qualities because they are influencing and impacting large groups of people. Authentic leadership is about leading from the heart, and it’s about having the social consciousness to recognize that in a global economy. Leaders have a responsibly to take care of the well-being of others and the environment in which we live and work. Spofford. Powerful Execution. Companies spend a great deal of resources on training and not enough on development. Having experience as an individual contributor and having experience being a leader are very different sets of responsibilities and accountabilities, which creates a bridge opportunity for high performers. Leveraging other industry experience can be an asset. Having a multidisciplinary background and/or way of thinking is also important. But the No. 1 differentiator is having a passion for people, because it comes back to the ability to lead through people. Cotherman. Corbett Accel. An organization’s ability to develop an untapped pool of talent is completely dependent upon its willingness to do the things necessary to drill into that pool. Even though I am constantly told that we are far ahead of other companies in terms of talent development, what I know is that we are constantly striving to reach our full potential. The greatest untapped pool of talent in our organization is related to three things. First, it is critical to identify and promote the visibility of “big idea” people who might otherwise toil away in isolation. There are many great thinkers out there but we have not discovered them all yet. Another untapped resource are those individuals who have worldly experiences but may have fallen into silos. These are people with enormously valuable experiences but whose talent we can’t fully capitalize on because of the need to deliver against short-term, day-to-day client needs. We work every day to break down those silos and encourage our employees and their supervisors to think beyond their daily confines. We also implement after-hours development programs, such as IdeaPharm, to help staff members discover and refine their creative thinking. The third is a personal pet peeve, and that is placing next-generation leaders with advanced skills into traditional roles. The Millennials (or Gen-Ys) bring a skill set far beyond what people of my generation brought to the job, yet they end up in entry-level positions and are required to do the same things we did 10, 15, or 20 years ago. This can have a tragic impact on talent development and retention. We need to open everyone’s eyes within the organization, especially the senior leaders, and move beyond the traditional thinking of “I did it that way so you should do it that way too.” Young people are bringing ideas to us that go so far beyond what we brought to the game. Downey. Solvay. It’s very important to have a good understanding of the total business starting with changing customer needs, the marketplace, and the regulatory environment. The reason I mention the regulatory environment specifically is that an individual has to be able to realistically project approval times and whether products are likely to be approved and to budget accurately for those compounds. Innovation is important, in particular in relation to fast and efficient clinical development. And probably above all, we need strong leadership to direct, motivate, and inspire others. Seltzer. Boyden. Skills, competencies, and experiences are, of course, interwoven. The broader an executive’s experiences are and the broader the approach is to proactively develop competencies/acumen, the more able she or he can take on robust leadership positions. In this vein, multifunctional experiences, particularly those that provide an understanding of the technical and commercial sides of the business, are important. While there will certainly be one or two areas in which an executive has truly deep knowledge and expertise, broadening beyond those boundaries will pay dividends to the individual and the organization. In addition, international/global experience and facilities within multiple cultures are becoming increasingly relevant. Within the pharmaceutical industry, experience in leading organizations through transformational change will always come in handy. M. O’Connor. CMR Institute. Today, a broad knowledge of healthcare is key — business, science, finance, the regulatory and political environment. It’s not just about being a good sales leader or understanding the research. Additionally, globalization is having a tremendous impact, especially as the industry becomes borderless. Lim. Halozyme. In addition to the people and technical skills, life-sciences leaders, because of the specialized nature of our industry, ideally should have a strong passion, or at least appreciation, for science; a stubbornness and persistence in addressing and overcoming adversity; equanimity under duress; resilience in bouncing back from adversity when it happens; patience to wait for and enjoy success, if and when it happens; and the fortitude to deal with failure, which will definitely happen at some point in one’s career. As you can tell, there’s a common theme here, which is successfully overcoming and addressing challenges and failures, which happen at a much higher rate in our industry than in most others. Waldron. St. Joseph’s. Life-sciences leaders, once perhaps dedicated to the sciences alone, now need to adopt other areas of focus. Their commitment to strategic and integrated business practices is also essential to the scientific and commercial success of a life-sciences company. The core business disciplines of marketing, management, accounting, finance, economics, and decision sciences now need to be a part of a leader’s ever-expanding competency. Angotto. Heritage Partners. There is a difference between management and leadership. We define management as having the technical skill set to move the company day by day. When we define leaders, we look for people who take advantage of strategic opportunities. We think that there are certain things that create the foundation for successful leaders. One is rotation through large pharma. Mentoring is also very important as people mature in their careers. We find those who were mentored have a better chance of success. Additionally, individuals who possess data need to understand how to analyze the information — whether it’s clinical or sales data — and know how to use the data competitively. We also find having a foundation in science to be a plus. L. O’Connor. Ngal. Leaders of today and tomorrow need to genuinely care about others. Great leaders constantly ask the question: “Are we putting our patients’ and customers’ needs first and our shareholders’ needs second?” They need global experience; great communications and influencing skills; technical knowledge; and a commitment to life-long learning, continuous improvement, and evolving as a leader. PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE Experts agree that talent development programs are most successful when they have the full support of top management. Analysts at Spencer Stuart add that these programs, as well as succession plans, should include clear, well-managed, and systemic processes, including ways to measure results and hold managers accountable for success. Kolimaga. AstraZeneca. For 2007-2008, we are rolling out globally a new leadership capability model and new potential indicators that will help us identify and develop the talent AstraZeneca needs to fill business critical roles now and in the future. Our talent development process starts with an assessment of potential and focuses on individual development planning and customized development opportunities that blend on-the-job experiences, including global and local development assignments; relational opportunities, such as coaching, mentoring, peer feedback, and 360 assessment; and internal and external classroom programs. At AstraZeneca leaders — not HR or talent management — own the identification and development of talent. Talent management ensures business leaders have the guidance, principles, tools, and processes needed to accelerate and optimize talent development. Downey. Solvay. We conduct succession planning every year and this involves the senior leadership at the company. We spend a great deal of time on this. We discuss traditional succession planning processes as well as identify the high-potential people in the organization, and then we allocate them to a whole series of development programs. We have someone who is responsible for organizational effectiveness and leadership development who is dedicated to the programs and the process. Waldron. St. Joseph’s. Customarily, high-potential individuals are identified and considered for advancement. Understandably, this selection process is based on their credentials, competencies, proven performance, and affinity for customers and colleagues alike. Additional gap audits may be conducted to determine what support the company and these individuals may need to supplement their competencies and candidacies. From this point of assessment, many associates are positioned and sponsored through additional academic and experiential programs to prepare them for senior management and growth opportunities. Spofford. Powerful Execution. It’s important to broadly look at talent management as performance management and then within that there are several buckets. One is organizational management, such as defining what the culture of the organization is, what the reward system is, and so on. Then there is the organization’s learning and development program, what the company designs for people at various levels within the organization, offering a variety of tools — programs, curriculum, coaching, and availability of learning and development opportunities — depending on the level of the individual. And lastly, at a broad level, people need to understand how to manage their career and brand within the organization. Lim. Halozyme. One of our core values as a company is to “value the team.” This means we recruit, develop, and retain exceptional talent while maintaining a merit-based work environment that fosters passion and performance, individual work-life balance, and constructive interactions that promote integrity, accountability, respect, and open communication throughout the organization. In addition to seeking to attract and develop the best possible talent, we also invest in employee training, we provide informal mentorship to people who seek it, we provide periodic 360-degree feedback, and we encourage regular feedback between employees and their supervisors. In terms of succession planning, we only have 40 employees so, like most biotech companies, we are fairly stretched in terms of having too much to do with too few resources, but as we grow, we will be seeking to flesh out the depth of our organization, in addition to its breadth. M. O’Connor. CMR Institute. Planning and investment in both talent development and succession are key. We realize that to develop future leaders we have to plan now, so we have set aside a predetermined amount of resources to devote to these two initiatives. Often these are the areas that get cut when budgets are tight. To prevent a leadership vacuum, there has to be proactive planning. Companies spend a significant amount of dollars on learning and training of new hires, but then if you look at their plans two to three years down the road there are no formal development programs for tenured leaders who are impacting the organization. We are developing a leadership program that is geared toward tenured leaders based on client feedback and industry research. Seltzer. Boyden. To maximize efforts, first and foremost, a company cannot define talent development as primarily an HR responsibility or it will be limiting its effectiveness from the start. Responsibility and accountability for talent development and succession planning must be as deeply embedded and dispersed throughout an organization as fiscal/budget accountability. Also, such initiatives must be aligned with the overall strategy and objectives of the organization with an effort to “see” the future and what talents will be critical to success five-plus years hence. Lim. Halozyme. I have been playing a primary role in talent development planning for senior-leadership positions, but I work very closely with other members of the executive team and also have enlisted the help of my board. Seltzer. Boyden. In an ideal setting there would be a close partnership between the senior executive management team — starting with the CEO — and HR. The team would drive talent development planning from a strategic standpoint and hold the rest of the organization accountable for execution against talent development plans. The critical message is that talent development is not a specific function within the organization; it is both an objective and a responsibility of everyone. That said, it is important that HR and senior management develop ways to measure efforts/results across the organization. Kolimaga. AstraZeneca. At our company, several groups are involved with talent development planning for senior-leadership positions, including business leaders and managers, members of the global talent management network, and HR business partners. The leaders’ perspectives are invaluable, giving talent management insights into the optimal career moves and development opportunities required for success in and across areas/functions. Their insight is predicated upon knowledge of specific individuals and their professional strengths and opportunities. M. O’Connor. CMR Institute. A best practice is a team approach, which would involve individuals from HR, sales, finance, and so on to identify and develop the high performers. Spofford. Powerful Execution. Senior leaders need to be involved in both the selection process as well as taking responsibility for what those people should be exposed to and what opportunities they should be given. Then it’s the high potential employee’s responsibility to execute; once the individual is given the opportunity he or she needs to deliver value. Cotherman. Corbett Accel. We have mapped out the core competencies for every job in the organization. It’s taken us six years to do this, but we know exactly what is required of every job at every level in every functional discipline to advance one’s career over a 20-year timeframe. We call it the Career Navigator, and this year we have made a commitment to develop overlapping three-year career-development plans for all high-performing employees. UNCOVERING TALENT Most organizations have programs in place for the development of high-potential employees; we asked our experts where they believe the untapped talent in their organization lies. Spofford. Powerful Execution. For most organizations, the greatest untapped pool of talent is those individuals who are resigned in place. If an individual is tapped as a high performer he or she receives attention and resources and is already on the fast track. But there is a large percentage of people who aren’t earmarked for those types of programs who might be super talented but need direction, molding, and mentoring but are resigned in place because they can’t differentiate themselves to get noticed. They may not fall into the categories that are “in” with the network culture. The other pool are individuals who are trying to re-invent themselves through education — an MBA, Ph.D., or J.D. — or through a commitment to an executive coaching perspective or a leadership development program. Lim. Halozyme. This is a tough area to address because I don’t think there are any untapped pools. We pride ourselves on our productivity and efficiency as an organization, so I believe we do an effective job of tapping into all the pools of talent in our organization, whether in R&D, G&A, or commercial. Downey. Solvay. There is a rhetorical framework to the question, and it’s likely that we have untapped talent across the organization, but I think a great deal of unrecognized talent is in the salesforce. Because salesforces are so big it’s become difficult to identify the high performers who have aspirations to go further within the organization. It’s easy enough to determine the high sales performers but it is harder to identify those who want to move in a different direction. Angotto. Heritage Partners. Historically, we said the right track was to move from sales to marketing to general management, but that’s not the case anymore. We are finding that people who are crossing over from foundations in technology are successful. The pool we are just starting to tap into is people who have strong foundations in science and technology. Seltzer. Boyden. I think the short answer is that untapped talent is everywhere. This might be a bit of an overstatement, but once someone becomes part of a company, he or she can become pigeon-holed — known as a “finance person” or “the marketing guy.” Broader experiences and talents — often gained in previous organizations or some of which are innate traits — are lost in the folders that contain their resumes and notes from when they were interviewed. Many firms lose sight of the broader capabilities of those who are already part of their teams. Just because those talents aren’t currently being leveraged doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Keeping a better, regularly refreshed inventory of the talents/skills that are resident in a company — captured beyond specific functional constraints — can be a terrific way to ensure that talent is not being squandered. This is critical because at some point people will look to leave an organization to find a new role that they think will draw on more of their capabilities and interests — ones to which they may feel their current employers are blind. M. O’Connor. CMR Institute. The greatest untapped area of talent in most organizations are those individuals who bring the knowledge, needs, and wants of the customer to the organization, whether that’s the physician, another clinician, or the purchaser of healthcare. Knowing and understanding these groups is truly how the needs of the patient are ultimately going to be served most effectively. Waldron. St. Joseph’s. This is a tough question. It may be reasonable for companies to also identify a second level of high-potential candidates who demonstrate top performance, loyalty, and commitment to their respective companies. Often candidates are groomed for succession and then are lured to other companies. Having back-up candidates in organizational succession plans is strategically advantageous, especially considering the mobility of the marketplace. L. O’Connor. Ngal. In most organizations, the greatest untapped pool of talent is women: Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Caucasian — all women. PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article. E-mail us at email@example.com. Michelle O’Connor CMR Institute Best Practices • A strong mentoring program is critical to tap into the leaders of today and avoid a leadership vacuum. • Providing opportunities for individuals to receive a depth and breadth of experience in many areas and then giving individuals the opportunities to apply those skills are important. • Leaders have to develop transferrable skills. There are many skills that transfer across any area, such as effective communications, strategic thinking, finance, etc. • Leaders need a life-long learning approach that balances life and job experiences. There has to be a combination of both. • There needs to be a commitment to ongoing development and investing of resources. Terri Angotto. Partner, Diversity Practice Leader, Heritage Partners International, New Haven, Conn.; Heritage Partners International is a senior-level executive search firm that focuses on delivering superior work to a select group of clients globally in the life-sciences industry. For more information, visit heritageleaders.com. Scott D. Cotherman. CEO, Corbett Accel Healthcare Group, Chicago; Corbett Accel is one of the largest healthcare communications companies in the world and is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. For more information, visit corbettaccel.com. Laurence J. Downey. President and CEO, Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., Marietta Ga.; Solvay is a research-driven group of companies that constitute the global pharmaceutical business of the Solvay Group that seeks to fulfill carefully selected, unmet medical needs in the therapeutic areas of neuroscience, cardio-metabolic, influenza vaccines, gastroenterology, specialized markets, and men’s and women’s health. For more information, visit solvaypharmaceuticals.com. Mary Kolimaga. Director of U.S. Talent Management, AstraZeneca US, Wilmington, Del.; AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services and has leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology, infection, and neuroscience products. For more information, visit astrazenecaus.com. Jonathan E. Lim, M.D. President and CEO, Halozyme Therapeutics Inc., San Diego; Halozyme is a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing recombinant human enzymes for the drug-delivery, palliative care, oncology, and infertility markets. For more information, visit halozyme.com. Lelia O’Connor. Executive Career Coach and President, Ngal So Authentic Leadership Group, New York; Ngal So has an 18-year track record of empowering leaders to achieve business results beyond what they thought was possible and create careers filled with vision, purpose, and passion. For more information, visit ngalso.com. Michelle Reece O’Connor. VP, Learning and Curriculum Solutions, Certified Medical Representatives Institute (CMR Institute), Roanoke, Va.; CMR Institute is an independent, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to providing healthcare representatives with continuing education, professional development, and certification. For more information, visit cmrinstitute.org. Deborah Coogan Seltzer. Senior VP and Managing Director of the Atlanta office of Boyden Global Executive Search, New York; Boyden, with more than 65 offices in 40 countries, specializes in high-level executive search, interim management, and human capital consulting across a broad spectrum of industries. For more information, visit boyden.com. Karen Spofford. Executive Coach and President, Powerful Execution, West Chester, Pa.; Powerful Execution focuses on implementing leadership development solutions that link individual executive effectiveness to organizational performance. For more information, visit powerfulexecution.com. Terese Waldron. Director, Executive MBA and Executive Pharmaceutical Marketing MBA Programs, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia; Saint Joseph’s University is home to 3,500 full-time undergraduates and 3,000 graduate, executive, and nontraditional students. For more information, visit sju.edu. Robin L. Winter-Sperry, M.D. President and CEO, Scientific Advantage LLC, Bernardsville, N.J.; Scientific Advantage is an integrated company that specializes in the development of medical science liaison (MSL) divisions and strategic business development in the medical marketing arena. For more information, visit scientificadvantage.com. Karen Spofford Powerful Execution Best Practices • Leaders need to make sure their technical skills are excellent. • Leaders need to be self-aware and know their impact on others. • Leaders need to manage their emotions. • Leaders need to incorporate empathy and influence into their management style. Lelia O’Connor Ngal Best Practices • Career coaching is one of the best ways to develop talent. The one-on-one, focused attention and partnership can empower a good leader to become a great leader. • Work with a mentor who you respect and would like to emulate. Leaders flourish under the support and guidance of a great mentor. • Reduce stress and anxiety as these block your effectiveness. Develop a regular practice of stress reduction exercises, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, walks in nature.Take time to rejuvenate your energies. Practice the mental discipline of being a positive person. • Get involved in community service and humanitarian causes. All great leaders understand the principle of service and giving back; they make it a priority. • International travel is a practice I highly recommend for leadership development and not just to luxury resorts but to where the local people really live; this will help you grow as a business leader and as a human being. Also visit your customers; make it a practice to be face to face with doctors and patients so you keep the heart connection as to why you’re doing your job. Laurence Downey Solvay Best Practices • Choosing, finding, and identifying the right people is critical. • Commitment from the top of the organization is key. • There has be an informal coaching and mentoring program. It’s important that training and development is not left just to courses. • The development of talent/people has to be viewed as a key competency in and of itself. Everyone in the organization has to be responsible for participation and this needs to be tied into performance reviews. Scott Cotherman Corbett Accel Best Practices • Demonstrate a strong commitment from top leadership, as well as competency-based, performance-management systems to align employees with company goals and objectives. • Establish a 360-degree performance-based management process that allows people to achieve careers goals commensurate with their ambition. • Implement a full organizationwide commitment to job rotation, job changes, and geographically diverse experiences to accelerate career growth. • Create a value-based leadership program for executives, senior managers, and high-potential employees. • Help employees enhance their relationship building skills, which are a necessity. When it comes to global awareness and capabilities, a leader needs to be a coalition-builder as opposed to an alliance-divider. Deborah Coogan Seltzer Boyden Best Practices • Do not describe talent development as an HR function. Do demonstrate commitment on the part of the CEO and top executive management team. • Don’t over-process the effort. If key parameters/measures are too rigidly defined, you can risk missing the forest for the trees. Some truly talented individuals who can make a great contribution to the organization may not check off every proverbial box, but they may be exactly the right person at the right time for a pivotal role. Leave room for serendipity, gut instincts, creative choices, etc. Different perspectives can lead to innovation and transformation versus incrementalism. • Develop more broadly gauged definitions of what constitutes career advancement/progression. We are still too tied to the notion of “moving up the ladder.” Broadening experiences through lateral moves, learning new functional areas, etc., can be much more valuable than simply gaining more responsibility in the same functional area by moving up a rung. Plum assignments/rewards don’t simply come in the guise of a more senior title and more direct reports. Moving beyond a focus on such metrics can help an organization and individuals focus on things that may be more important, such as the developmental nature of an opportunity and the scope of potential impact one can have in such a role. • Make a concerted, formal effort to provide opportunities for key employees to have “broadening” experiences and provide the resources that can ensure their successful transition. • Build in flexibility and feedback loops so that efforts remain fresh and relevant, and don’t fall into the trap of trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. Mary Kolimaga AstraZeneca Best Practices • Senior leaders champion and support the development of talent. • Talent management ensures the link between AstraZeneca’s global business strategy and the development of the capabilities needed to fill business critical roles now and in the future. • Business leaders and managers own talent development. • Talent management provides to business leaders consistent, easy-to-use talent management processes and tools and a customized approach to development. • Talent management supports and monitors progress against customized individual development plans for all members of the talent pool. Executive Leadership Criteria Spencer Stuart recently conducted a survey of more than 100 life-sciences CEOs and human resources executives to gauge their views on a number of topics, including what competencies and experiences they believe senior life-sciences executives must possess as well as their companies’ talent development and succession planning initiatives. The study revealed some interesting findings. First, the profile of the life- sciences leader is shifting as a result of several developments: the industry has become more complex; the product development cycle has become longer and more expensive; and corporate governance practices are facing intense scrutiny by investors and regulators. People development skills, operational expertise, and the ability to drive results, and personal ethics and a commitment to social responsibility are critical for today’s life-sciences leaders, according to the executives who participated in the survey. Secondly, while the value of talent development and succession planning programs was widely recognized by the executives in the survey, those programs remain a work in progress at most life-sciences companies. More than one-quarter of the CEOs and human resources executives who were surveyed characterized their succession planning and talent development efforts as below average. Only 10% of CEOs said their programs were best in class. CEOs’ List of the Most Important Experiences for Life-Sciences Leaders Today 1. People development 2. P&L responsibility 3. Business development 4. Strategic marketing 5. Alliance and partner management 6. Commercial development 7. R&D leadership 8. Fundraising 9. Experience working with investors 10. International experience 5 Years Ago 1. P&L responsibility 2. People development 3. Business development 4. Strategic marketing 5. Alliance and partner management 6. R&D leadership 7. Commercial development 8. Experience working with investors 9. Scientific or medical background 10. Sales CEOs’ List of the Most Important Competencies for Life-Sciences Leaders Today 1. Results orientation 2. Unimpeachable professional and personal ethics 3. Strong communication and interpersonal skills 4. Team-leading skills 5. Strategic orientation 6. Mentoring and coaching skills 7. High energy 8. Financial acumen 9. Commercial acumen 10. Vision 5 Years Ago 1. Results orientation 2. Strong communication and interpersonal skills 3. Financial acumen 4. Team-leading skills 5. Strategic orientation 6. Entrepreneurial orientation 7. Commercial acumen 8. High energy 9. Vision 10. Unimpeachable professional and personal ethics Dr. Jonathan Lim Halozyme Best Practices • As Jim Collins says in his book “Good to Great,” make sure you get the right people onto the bus. This means being proactive and judicious in your selection of talent. I personally interview every promising candidate before making a job offer to ensure that there is a strong fit with our company’s culture. • Let people do what they do best. Empower them to be leaders, make decisions, and take the initiative. My leadership philosophy is to make sure my direct reports are either much smarter than I am, more experienced than I am, or ideally, all of the above. This means I can focus on adding value in areas where I’m strongest, and I can count on others to take care of areas where I’m weakest. Having complementary skill sets, which can, at times, lead to synergistic or breakthrough results, is one of the keys to building an outstanding team and company. • Communicate regularly, frequently, and honestly to provide people with the company vision and context for the work they are doing. Keeping people passionate and committed to the company’s mission, values, and objectives are top priorities. • Abide by the Golden Rule — make sure you treat everyone with the utmost courtesy and respect at all times. There is honor in every activity at the company, regardless of whether it is performing cutting-edge science in the labs, putting checks into envelopes, or washing the dishes. • Invest in training and development. We have an informal program in place that addresses training requests as they arise, but I would like to seek to formalize some of our training and development initiatives to ensure they are a regular part of every employee’s professional development. Teresa Waldron Saint Joseph’s Best Practices • Strategically identify the needs of your organization now and into the future. • From an academic perspective, look for academic programs that complement your company’s needs and are possible to complete. Most executive MBA and industry-specific executive MBA programs are designed to match the work-life balance of associates. • Partner with accredited academic institutions that will supplement your internal training functions and bring high-potential candidates to the next level. • Benchmark the existing competencies of associates: measure integration of new learning, advanced thinking, and contribution. Gauge their preparedness to take on new assignments. • Invest in a broader range of employees for development; craft a reimbursement plan and payback protocol that allows everyone to succeed. Terri Angotto Heritage Partners Best Practices • There has to be a cross-functional understanding. • There needs to be the ability to collaborate cross functionally. • Leaders have to have strong communications skills. • Leaders need to understand how to build competitive advantages. • Leaders need to know the customers’ channels as they change in the pharmaceutical industry. Opening the Door to Future Leaders When I first became a manager many years ago and was given the opportunity to create a department, the leadership of large pharmaceutical companies seemed to operate behind closed doors. In fact, it was at a time when most senior managers were behind so many layers of closed doors that nobody could tell if they even really existed in the flesh. Over the years, leadership requirements have shifted from the single commander-and-chief to one of teamwork and transparency requiring changes in some of the skills for today’s leaders and those of the future. The amount of information and outlets for communication seem to expand exponentially increasing the challenges of response and prioritization. Managers need to recognize diversity on many levels, including the ever-changing, often-multicultural, corporate environment. One evolving area that I’ve worked in for more than 15 years is the changing role of the medical science liaisons (MSL) and medical affairs. When MSLs first started in the industry at Upjohn (which as a solo company doesn’t exist any more) they grew out of the ranks of the salesforce. Most early MSLs did not have advanced scientific degrees (the majority do today). The thrust of information and communication has shifted from one primarily assisting healthcare providers with practice management to a relationship that focuses on the peer-to-peer, cutting-edge scientific exchange of fair balanced, data-based information. The skill sets of today’s MSLs and tomorrow’s managers have also shifted to one that is driven by science, but with a growing expectation of basic business acumen. As with the leaders of the top companies, large or small, traditional pharmaceutical, biotech or device, the expectation of the senior management is to not only lead, but to also network and work as a visible part of the operating team. Professional healthcare personnel, as well as the public today, demand knowledge and greater access to information and decision makers. The days of making decisions in a vacuum and building silos with walls so high that the secrecy can never be breached are ending. Working in a global and diverse environment is becoming the norm. The leaders of the future are going to need to be armed with not only the traditional core competencies such as strategy, management, communication, and motivational skills, but also with the ability to bond on a different level and multitask as never before. The expectation for them to have the ability to coach and mentor is becoming a requirement, not simply an asset. It is no surprise that in a highly competitive and dynamic environment, such as the healthcare industry, tomorrow’s leaders will have to work in an increasingly challenging global marketplace and make their companies stand out to attract and retain the best and brightest candidates. The leaders themselves will be different from the past. They will be prepared for change and working through mergers and transitions. They will exhibit the skills that enable them to take advantage of available resources to drive their company and their team toward their mutually defined goals. Dr. Robin Winter-Sperry Scientific Advantage