By David Carder, managing director, and Pat Cormier, managing director, Kotter International
Over the past year, the pace of change in the life sciences industry has accelerated more than ever before, and 2017 shows no sign of slowing. From the shift to outcomes-based care and the rapid influx of new health technologies to growing pressure on cost controls and the ever-changing world of healthcare regulations, this year will bring even more change and uncertainty.
For life science leaders, uncertainty is not often a comfortable state, even as it increasingly becomes a familiar one. Next, we offer guidance from our experience working with leaders across the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors to help you set an example, push projects forward, and find success — even when answers are unclear.
SPEAK LESS, QUESTION MORE
Leaders are often expected to confidently set direction and move the team forward. Yet amid the industry’s uncertainty, leaders must be comfortable with not having all the answers. Leaders can’t just lead through ambiguity, they must embrace it. A key way to build nimbleness and better identify the organization’s needs and opportunities is to be become an inquisitive leader who queries and listens more, and dictates less.
REIMAGINE WHAT’S POSSIBLE
Incremental improvements are no longer enough to succeed. Success will depend upon seeking new ways to capitalize on internal resources — technology, people, or a combination of both — to create new paths forward.
DELIBERATELY AND CREATIVELY ASSEMBLE TEAMS TO GUIDE CHANGE
Building top-performing teams that push the envelope of innovation is less about getting subject matter experts together in one room and more about mixing up the roster. Build diverse teams of individuals spanning the organization and across silos who share the energy, mindset, and desire to overcome key challenges. Tapping into these multifaceted groups can reveal unique perspectives that look beyond “the way things are done” to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
CHALLENGE TEAMS TO SET AGGRESSIVE GOALS
Diverse teams of problem solvers must collectively set and build their own path to achieve critical goals. But, as a leader, you can play an influential role in encouraging them to reach for the stretch goals they’ve set. When teams set audacious goals pegged to big opportunities for the business to thrive, they can help overcome inertia and complacency, and push the organization to achieve results they didn’t think were possible.
EMPOWER TEAMS TO TEST NEW WAYS OF WORKING — AND MAKE IT OK TO FAIL
Fear of failure is often the biggest hurdle to overcome in tackling change. While there is no guarantee that reimagined ways of working will find success, leaders must give employees the freedom to test new ideas and processes, making clear that efforts to upend the status quo are valued in their own right for the lessons they provide to the organization—regardless of the outcome.