Magazine Article | October 29, 2014

Ask The Board

Source: Life Science Leader

What Is The Best Leadership Advice You Ever Received?

(A) “You behave the same way whether you are the center of attention or when no one is looking, so you have character — and character counts.” This thought was communicated to me in a letter from a former boss, Robert Capizzi, who was CMO and head of R&D at US Bioscience when I worked there in the early ‘90s. He spontaneously sent me this note about five years after I left the company. Although not directly intended to be leadership advice, it had a profound impact because it made me realize how important authenticity is in a leader and that character is also reputation. As a result, I continuously assess my behavior for consistency and objectivity, and I look for these traits in my colleagues.

As a former VP of clinical operations, Keller has proven success in planning, management, and delivery of global phase 1 to 4 clinical trials for drug, biologic, and diagnostic products.

(A) One of the most useful was “… to develop a leadership model that reflects my values, my leadership philosophy, and my style and then use that model to become a more effective leader.” My first clinical development manager said such an approach would serve me throughout my career. It took a while to develop that model, and while I continue to tweak it, he was correct. My philosophy is servitude, the leader as a servant. My style is situational, adapting my approach to best affect my team and what it is we are trying to accomplish. As my philosophy and style developed, so did my model of leadership. As my boss and mentor predicted, when my leadership is not having the desired impact, I revisit my model, analyze my actions, and if necessary, adjust.

Krupa is president of TSK Clinical Development, a consulting firm providing leadership and solutions in clinical planning, project management, clinical operations, and outsourcing. He began his career with Eli Lilly, and he most recently served as executive director, project management with Quintiles.

(A) I received it from Karl Bracht, former divisional president at Sartorius. His advice was “Treat every person in an organization as important and respectful as any other, no matter what title or status.” I believe this not only applies to the business side of life, but also to the personal. An organization is like a clock, every wheel and every part counts, no matter how small or large. If one part does not function, the clock does not work. It is often forgotten that the most valuable asset in a company are the people, all of them, and especially when they work as a team. They must respect, value, and support each other. Only a happy and content organization will supply the best product and services to its customers, and only such a team will go the extra mile for the customer.

Jornitz is COO of G-CON Manufacturing and founder of BioProcess Resources. He has more than 25 years of experience and supports the biopharm industry on a global basis, focusing on validation, optimization, and training in aseptic processing.