Leadership Lessons is a monthly column from executives and thought leaders regarding best practices they use at their organizations to develop managers and leaders at all levels of the organization.
After being expelled from Harvard for a computer hack that altered his transcript, Ajay Thomas changed his name, scored a Wall Street job, and then insider-traded shares of two public life science companies to the tune of $275 million. Typical interview questions about ethics won’t weed out these types of low character individuals.
Recently I did a study of more than 10,000 high-potential employees at leading companies around the world. The people I interviewed were the best of the best, the sort of employees that any organization would love to have on their team. I call this type of person a “voluntary employee,” because they are so good at what they do that if they quit their job at 9 in the morning they would have a job at the competition by noon. Which means they work at a certain company because they want to, not because they have to.
Because drug R&D is likely to remain difficult even as technology advances, the challenge for you, as a leader, is this: How do you maintain the motivation of talented researchers, young and old, when progress is slow?
There are those who would have you believe that leadership is a set of skills, a specific recipe that one can follow and apply to inspire others to achieve greatness. Yet this magic formula that is considered the holy grail of productivity, management, and motivation seems consistently elusive. Yet multiple statistics indicate that training and human capital development does considerably and positively affect an organization’s bottom line.
When many highly educated people work together in a culture heavily focused on logic and science, the relationship realm, with its underbelly of subtle emotions, is often brushed aside. This can lead to systemic difficulties that derail productivity and limit success.
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.
All of us want to perform at a higher level than we are currently at. However, we let daily distractions, fear of trying something new, the fear of making a mistake, and unsolicited feedback from others get in the way of our efforts to “get great.” We put ourselves in a “stuck-in-the-mud” position and lose sight of what we should do first.
It’s no secret that all good performance starts with clear goals — and the beginning of the year is a great time to set those goals. But how many of you take the time to create clear, motivating goals with your staff?
Machiavelli is known as the high priest of sleaze. His big idea was supposedly that the ends justify the means — and any means are OK. But ask yourself a question. Would we even know Machiavelli’s name today if all he said was you can get ahead by being sleazy?
Finally we have realized you can’t manage people, you can only manage things. Behaviors are manageable, and people certainly are not, so we need to stop trying to manage people. We must start to learn skills to coach people to success.