Pharmaceutical companies have to develop a leadership approach to effectively deal with today’s confusing business climate, while at the same time address and rise above any cultural differences that could limit the value of development.
Nowadays, leadership is the key to maintaining competitive advantage in the market, thus, pharma companies must center on developing leaders to face the coming global challenges.
Even though a group of leaders from different regions may think they have reached an agreement, the cultural differences in language, meaning, and context, may influence everyone’s understanding of the commitment involved in completely different ways. In order to get positive results across different cultural environments and avoid waste, there are 6 crucial principles that every pharma company must enforce:
1. Be clear about why its important to forge leaders
Every leadership effort has to have clarity about its purpose; however, in the global arena, it is vital, in order to protect resources, create rapid change, and ensure perfect focus.
2. Use customer input to guide leadership development
The rule now is to pay attention to what the customer expects and demands in regards to better service and high quality products. There is competition rising from places we never imagined, and the way we communicate is being drastically transformed by technology, thus, leadership development has to offer the skills and capacities to help a company excel in this highly competitive, global market. The easiest way to make this happen is to closely observe the customers from every country a company serves and to include this data in the leadership development program.
3. Involve the line
The leadership development design process must involve the people it is directed towards, in order to encourage ownership of the program and the results. This will also help develop solutions to problems that arise due to differences between several markets. Leadership development design and implementation only succeeds globally when it helps people improve performance in a highly competitive world.
4. Find the way to go global
In order to be global, a program must offer solutions that work across cultural and geographic settings. Global initiatives work best if they represent a ‘neutral’ way, instead of one or the other culture’s way. Just as with the American culture, other cultures may be strongly biased towards their ways, thus, it is necessary to find a consistent way across boundaries while at the same time allowing for local preferences. Also important is to maintain key communication points in mind as markets globalize, organizations grow, and employees move to virtual teams:
– Cultural dynamics. Pay attention to the interaction of different communities in virtual teams and the linguistic value inspired, as well as behavioral problems that may arise.
– Changed working conditions. In order to synchronize global communication, there may have to be some compromise in terms of standard working practices.
– Awareness. Some employees may not realize they are a part of a virtual team, requiring training in new ways to work.
– Project phases. Employees have to be trained in which communication channels work best for different projects and their phases.
– Roles and responsibilities. Team members must recognize the skills, strengths, and weaknesses of everyone in the group.
– Quick fixes. In virtual teams it is easy to intensify minor problems because of the lack of human context, causing blockages in the process, thus, communication breakdowns must be solved fast.
5. Build globally, adapt locally
The global basis must be clearly defined, this is, the fundamental concepts that should have the same meaning no matter where you are, and the use of local examples and methods to help trainees find a way to apply what they learned.
6. Get sponsors that deliver
Sponsors at headquarters and each level of management must be enrolled and committed to the leadership program in order to deal effectively with variables like distance, time, language, and culture, otherwise, the focus and importance of the initiative could be lost across borders.
Pharmaceutical consulting firms are there to help pharma companies understand how leadership development must move to a completely new global perspective in order to keep competitive advantage under the new global equation.
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