The Cortex

Building the House from the Top Down

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From the intricacies of global markets to the formidable competitive landscape to the integration of new technology, our industry is facing rapid and expansive change. The challenges our leaders are facing can be daunting and even insurmountable unless they have the tools necessary to lead effectively in this complex world. And the fact is, a company is only as strong as its leaders.

That is why it is critical to teach our leaders survival skills to handle VUCA. What is VUCA, you ask? Well let’s begin with a history lesson: When the Cold War ended, the newly formed multilateral world presented challenges in all aspects of life that had never before been experienced. After the events in 2011, the acronym VUCA took hold and in 2012 Kinsinger & Walch characterized this new normal as having four primary dimensions: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.

By framing challenges using these four characteristics, leaders would be better prepared to handle them. Though the original premise was used to define global systems, the VUCA concept has been adopted by strategic business leaders to describe the chaotic, turbulent, and rapidly changing business environment leaders face and the factors that every leader must conquer to achieve business success.

However, if VUCA describes the challenges in the business world, how can leaders adjust their lens to become more astute and become better prepared to move forward and think differently? The answer: VUCA 2.0. This may provide leaders a clearer line of sight to handle the challenges they face every day.

So, how do we train our leaders to address the ever-changing environment through this new VUCA 2.0 lens? The goal is to transform each challenge into an opportunity as shown below:

  • Volatility becomes . . . . . VISION

  • Uncertainty becomes . . . UNDERSTANDING

  • Complexity becomes . . . COURAGE

  • Ambiguity becomes . . . . ADAPTABILITY

As you consider leadership and development training, recognize that one model or approach cannot fit all situations, but to teach leaders a new way of flexible thinking is to give them the most usable technique for meeting each unique challenge.

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Interested in Leadership Development approaches that align with the REAL challenges our leaders face?

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The Easiest Question You Will Get Today

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If I say “Nike,” what is the first thing you think? 

Did you say, “Just do it?”  How is it that this empowering tagline has become so embedded in our culture that we see it not only as synonymous with the brand, but a mantra we have completely integrated into our lives?  What Nike accomplished was not just an unforgettable slogan, but a powerful theme that unites, guides, and motivates all of us. So what can we learn from Nike when designing the perfect pharmaceutical sales meeting?  It’s all in the theme.

Theme is about creating a movement. It is about aligning the participant’s own concerns, passions, values and interests with a central cause, goal, or quest.  Themes are a creative communication platform – a common lexicon, a sustainable set of experiences that galvanize the senses and define a shared call-to-action.  Sales meetings become powerful tools when the participants feel a vested interest in that theme -- when their view of the world changes, when they can feel passionate and motivated, and when they can transform from passive spectator to active participant.   

And how is that accomplished?  Themes are not just a catchy opening or tagline.  Successful themes create an ongoing, engaging, visceral, inspired response – a rallying cry that becomes the backbone of a much larger and long-term communication platform. But what is the secret sauce for creating the perfect theme?  At MC3, we believe theme development requires three fundamental components:

  • A consultative and collaborative client relationship

  • A comprehensive understanding of the market environment, therapeutic area, impact on patients, and competitive climate

  • The creativity to design unique thematic experiences and memorable communication platforms that engage and energize the participants

The power of the theme is in its repetition, seamless integration with the product it represents, and the ability to engage and motivate the participants.  Whether you are conducting a PoA, NSM, or Launch Meeting, always remember that a well-crafted theme will help you create a community of engaged participants who share a common goal and reinforce each participant’s connection to that vision. But only if the developer of that theme truly understands you, the participants, the product, the environment, and above all, the patients.

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Magnify the Impact with Micro-Learning

Training has evolved significantly in the past decade.  The growing number of millennials in the work force, the need to do more with less, and the 24 hour always-connected work cycle, have all contributed to an environment where traditional training methods need to accommodate the new norm. In pharma this is especially true. Add the complexity of clinical information and the need to know the intricacies of Market Access, and you find yourself pushing the limits of retention for any learner. 

Your Meeting Opus

Meetings are music – a theatrical score crafted to thrill, captivate, and most of all, bring the audience along a wonderful journey of exploration and inspiration.  So how do we create a meeting exemplified by harmony, one that creates the “tunes” your audience will sing long after they leave, one that maintains their attention from curtain up to the final bow? It's all about engagement. 

Whether you are designing a PoA or launch meeting, it is important to think of the meeting as a musical narrative with a story arc that

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Aligning the right training format to the intended learning objective is as critical as the content itself. The way information is delivered and received has been proven to be linked to knowledge retention and the ability to apply new skills.  Sales forces and marketing teams will encounter numerous challenges that require reinforcement or just-in-time training.  Using the right method will ensure that each challenge is addressed rapidly and most effectively.

Here is a quick guide to matching the appropriate approach to some of the most common learning objectives:

Your Defining Moment

ANXIETY /aNG’zi’e’dee/ noun  

  • Definition #1:  a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with uncertain outcome. 

  • Pharma Definition #2: the uncomfortable feeling that your high-visibility PoA or launch will fall short of expectations, that you made budget cuts in the wrong places, and that you put your faith in the wrong meeting production company.

So how do you reduce meeting-planning anxiety?  How do you plan for the unexpected?  How do you choose the right partner?  

As you know, there is a very short window of opportunity for your product to make a splash in the market. You have the clinical data and marketing story ready to go.  Your product has the makings of a surefire success, but only if you can galvanize the sales force and give them the training they need to deliver a powerful, consistent message. 

The Long Arc of Training

You’ve made a significant investment in sales training, pulled the entire sales team out of the field, and it’s now all hands on deck for the marketing, market access, regulatory, and medical affairs teams.
 
Why?  Because you know there is only one chance to make an impact in the market.  You know the next six months will likely predict the trajectory of the product in the market.  Your product has the clinical data to tell a compelling story, but only if those messages can be delivered consistently, effectively, and responsively.
 
One 3-day PoA is great for introducing messages and building excitement, but more often than not, disappointing results in the field may be due to a lack of ongoing pull-through training AFTER the fanfare has dissipated.  So how do you ensure that your initial training reaches its potential?