POST SUMMARY: “Always hire talent, even if you don’t have the perfect spot for them yet”. That quote is from an article on The Top 5 Hiring Lessons from the Nation’s Best Execs and while a lot of us would like to believe it’s true, we know that it is in fact just the opposite, especially within biopharma.
Once again, I have read that a certain person, well known within pharma circles, has changed jobs. This is the 4th time he has a new position and while he is active in pharma social media circles, he doesn’t have one significant accomplishment helping to launch a pharma product or grow sales of an existing one. However, he always finds a way to present at pharma conferences to an audience that is impressed with great looking slides rather than actual accomplishments. Welcome to the world of pharma insiders.
One of the reasons that pharma marketing has been in a funk is the simple fact that there is a lack of people who are willing to change processes to focus on patients. Instead, most pharma people are too busy attending meaningless meetings from morning till night and trying to “get along” with others rather than rock a boat that very much needs rocking.
My personal belief is that most pharma executives are afraid to hire smarter people than they are. They are afraid that people won’t fit in or that these people could invoke real change. This is very much an industry problem and frankly it hasn’t changed in a long long time. A colleague of mine, who has spent a long time within the industry, recently left after over 10 years with one organization. When I asked him why, he said “I just grew tired of grind of trying to get the organization to acknowledge that patients have more power in choosing health care treatments and that we needed to do more”. He continued “I have seen an influx of people that just don’t have the personal tools needed to be pharma marketers. They were good at politics, but getting along with others is just a small part of succeeding”.
Last week, after working with a potential client to get their business for over a month, I turned down the opportunity to work with them because I could tell no matter what I did their culture was not one which was ready to embrace the kind of change needed to succeed in digital marketing. The Director I was working with said “yes, I know, it’s tough to get things done here” and that in a nutshell describes a lot of organizational issues.
To those organizations that are embracing change and hiring smarter I salute you because you are laying the foundation for a competitive advantage. For those who are not, you don’t realize it, but there is an iceberg dead ahead.
“John: When we join a company, any company or industry, we have the opportunity to both add value and bring change to industries or organizations or we can play it safe and try and fit in. Right now the pharma industry is very much in need of change and change agents or else the industry, risking its very future as a viable business.
May I remind you that your friend has no substantial accomplishments adding value to ANY pharma brands or growing sales of existing products. It’s easy to throw up your hands and say “the hell with this” and become an industry outsider, but in doing so we are giving up on the people we very much need to help. Our job is not to take the easy path, it’s to try and take the road less traveled and implement change. We have to be willing to do what we feel is right rather than just playing it safe. I was able to do this with a community forum in on a launch product as well as develop a pharma website that was number 1 in conversion. I did it via a lot of hard work and hours, but I am proud of what I did and the value I brought.
You miss a lot by never having worked in a pharma organization or as a consultant and while I enjoy your posts you need to see the problems the industry faces within the organizations. If we are hired and we are not willing to try and change people/reams than we are just working to collect a check and what we do is too damn important for that.”