Magazine Article | July 9, 2013

Ask The Board July 2013

Source: Life Science Leader

Q: What is the biggest mistake you have seen a c-level leader make?

One thing I see occur with some regularity is the lack of collaboration in the c-suite. I hold the CEO accountable. The CEO may ask the executive team to work together but does not hold them accountable when they do not. Therefore they drift into their own silos and act more territorially than cross-functionally.

It’s the CEO who must insist that senior executives meet formally and informally to share insights and expertise with one another. Naturally there is a hesitation to meddle, but diversity of thought emerges from diversity of discipline. The CEO must follow through and ask the team how they are collaborating and what they have to show from the collaboration. Such a discussion elevates the issue and makes it actionable.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership development consultant, executive coach, author, and speaker. John teaches men and women to achieve positive results by focusing on communication, influence, motivation, and supervision.

Q: What specifically should pharma do to repair its broken image?

First, use scientists and patients to teach the value pharma brings to healthcare. The R&D of new medicines is a difficult process. No one can teach this better than the scientists who work on these programs. Second, make clinical trial results available in a timely fashion. Industry critics are eroding public trust by complaining that pharma has been slow to make trial results available. The public is becoming convinced the industry is hiding negative data. Greater transparency will show this to be false.

Third, stop the illegal detailing of drugs. There is nothing more demoralizing than to hear that a company has been fined billions of dollars for breaking the law, which further convinces the public that pharma is run by shady operators. Finally, drop the TV ads. Though informative, the problem is most are distasteful with many of the ads discussing side effects.

John LaMattina, Ph.D. is the former senior VP at Pfizer Inc. and the president of Pfizer Global Research and Development. In this role, he oversaw the drug discovery and development efforts of more than 12,000 colleagues.

Q: Beyond the typical benefits of centralized data storage and scalability, do cloud-based tools offer any other practical applications for the pharma industry?
Cloud-based tools play a key role as pharma looks to virtual patient communities and the data these communities generate for indicators of patient outcomes in clinical trials. Eventually, the data generated by advanced sensor/actuator technology in the smartphones and other devices used by patients will find its way to the cloud for analysis and mining, perhaps by pharmas again in the context of a trial or related investigation. Finally, the scientific advances in genetics and simulation will be much more powerful when made searchable/analyzable in a cloud-based environment, and we’ll see the impact of that in the next couple of years across the broader community.    

Angela Yochem previously was the CTO at AstraZeneca, where she formed strategic partnerships to drive innovation and business advantage through technology. She also has held senior roles at Dell, Bank of America, SunTrust, UPS, and IBM.

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