Leaders in Biopharma are looking at some daunting trends in the coming years. Profits are on a general decline and costs are up. When it comes to big pharmaceutical companies, the greatest costs now come from sales and administrative expenses. Moreover, external factors, namely inflation and supply chain disruptions are adding to cost and uncertainty. More than being innovative about products, pharma leaders should be focusing on solving operational challenges in the coming year. A key obstacle in innovation for pharmaceutical companies has been natural conservatism.
Natural conservatism is a rational hesitance to take risks among many individuals, leaders, and organizations. This tendency can manifest itself in various ways in the pharmaceutical industry, such as a reluctance to embrace new technologies or change legacy processes that have existed for decades. However, in order to build successful pharmaceutical operations, overcoming this natural conservatism and embracing change is essential to stay competitive.
How do leaders in big pharma overcome natural conservatism to solve these operational challenges? First is a recognition that, generally speaking, pharma operations are conservative and risk averse. Regulatory inspections, which primarily drive risk aversity, can be scary and leaders hedging against them is a perfectly rational response. However, that rationality often results in overly complicated and naturally conservative processes. Breaking through that natural conservatism will require a transformation to build an operationally effective organization. To gain momentum and sustain an operational transformation, pharma leaders should focus on two key mindset shifts for operational effectiveness
1. Think boldly about the future
Successful transformations capture 1.5x the value that was expected. If leaders can succeed in operational transformation, it makes sense to think boldly about a vision for the future. Bold thinking will make it less likely that leaders leave any value gains on the table.
As the pharmaceutical industry continues to evolve and face new challenges, operational efficiency will be essential in controlling sales and administrative costs while minimizing the effect of external pressures, such as inflation and supply chain disruptions. By focusing on operational efficiency, phama leaders can help their organizations not only remain competitive, but also improve patient outcomes and drive innovation.
Pharma leaders should think boldly about operational efficiency in the face of the increasing pressure to reduce costs and increase profitability. The pharmaceutical industry is a highly regulated and expensive field, and it is important for organizations to find ways to streamline their operations and reduce waste. By thinking boldly about operational efficiency, leaders can identify opportunities for cost savings and improve the bottom line.
In the end, operational efficiency is the foundation for improving patient outcomes. By improving operational efficiency, leaders can ensure that patients have access to the medications and treatments that are affordable for patients. As operational effectiveness improves, leaders will most likely see an improvement in overall quality of care.
Additionally, thinking boldly about operational efficiency can help pharma leaders stay ahead of the curve and anticipate future challenges. The pharmaceutical industry is constantly changing, and by being proactive and innovative in their approach, leaders can position their organizations for success in the long term.
2. Be intentional about resisting natural conservatism as a mindset in your organization
Intentionality starts with inclusion. Leaders must be intentional about resisting natural conservatism when creating efficiencies. The mindset shift must be broad to be effective, meaning, it must be adopted beyond just those responsible for owning the change. The alternative is that leaders will create an echo chamber that will struggle to create longevity in change. In short, leaders should drive adoption by including a large group in the transformation. Small groups or pilots will struggle to get traction and focus from key stakeholders.
Resisting natural conservatism in your organization and being intentional about promoting progress and innovation can be extremely challenging. Many organizations tend to be risk-averse and resistant to change. However, a culture of experimentation will foster a mindset that values learning from failures and using them as opportunities for growth and improvement. Leaders can measure how the culture is evolving by, among other metrics, the change in the number of requests for people and resources to drive change.
As transformational leaders start to see momentum, they should encourage their teams to stay informed about the latest developments and trends in the biopharma space. Moreover, encourage those in your organization to join cross-industry collaboration efforts, such as Transcelerate. Furthermore, you can drive a mindset shift through encouraging your team members attend conferences, workshops, and networking events with other industry leaders and consultants. The connection with the industry will allow your organization to identify and innovate on new opportunities for growth and innovation, keeping you ahead of the curve.
As a transformational pharma leader, seek out diverse voices and opinions when making decisions that may seem risky. Although natural conservatism should be challenged, hasty decisions could make for bad outcomes. Overall, being intentional about resisting natural conservatism in your organization as a leader in biopharma requires a commitment to experimentation, staying informed, and being open to new ideas. By doing so, they can help their organizations thrive in today’s dynamic and competitive industry.