If I here someone say the real change agents in an organization are those who tell the truth again I’m going to have a fit. While it’s true that pharma needs change agents the very nature of the pharma organization often prohibits people from becoming change agents and telling the truth because “they might step on someones toes”. With 360 reviews and jobs in short supply it takes both a lot of courage and stamina to be a patient advocate.
I still remember a meeting I had this summer with a biopharma client who was looking for “the best solution to keep everyone happy”. The problem, was that “everyone” did not include patients or customers. I believe the truth shakes out when ideas and perspectives are banged against each other and that we act as though there are patients in the room with us but all too often they are left out of the equation. Seth Godin recently said in his BLOG “every company at a certain stage ends up with two sorts of employees… some that work hard to improve the experience and value for the original customers, and some that tear down that experience and value in order to please shareholders in the short run. It’s not surprising, but it’s sad.”. How true.
There is more pressure on DTC marketers now than ever to show results for their marketing efforts but too many times that is push marketing in an era where consumers distrust advertisers. Change agents are needed but too many in pharma are afraid to hire change agents or they hire cronies who go from one pharma company to another bringing with them tons of baggage. I once recommended that my brand team not pursue a DTP eDetailing because it didn’t align with brand objectives only to be told later that I had stepped on someone’s toes. In this case it was the right thing to do for our brand and customers but the wrong thing to do politically. I did what I thought was right and wound up winning an award for my contribution to the team.
The truth is as long as pharma keeps laying off people like used gum wrappers and jobs are in short supply very few will have the courage to say they are change agents because people, and the pharma organization are afraid of change.