Sunday, May 30, 2010


I got the above image from here.

A disturbing sms is doing the rounds:

Zydus Cadila area manager of Pune murdered by his own 4 medical reps by drill machine yesterday (ie., 28.5.2010)

This brings in to spotlight the importance of dyads and HRD in pharma companies.

The reality

In most pharma companies, the HRD dept. is only a paper tiger. They are a routing dept., for various personnel related matters. In top pharma companies, mainly the MNCs, the HRD dept. is a very crucial dept., involved in all matters of recruitment, development, promotion, and retirement or resignations of personnel, organizational culture, empowerment, HRD systems like career system, core values, socialization, organizational behavior modification, improving productive work behaviors, coaching, counseling, training, communication and organizational development.

However, the usual picture in pharma is that the various departmental heads look in to the HRD aspects in their sphere of control. This sort of an atmosphere prevails in most big Indian pharma companies too. Nevertheless, in a handful of companies like Ranbaxy (as per heresay) even the Marketing Director cannot 'sack' a medical representative unless HRD investigates, gives its report and consent!

Why is the present reality so?

HRD is a poorly appreciated subject in pharma India, including by top management personnel. Sales is the magnificent obsession of pharma management. Hence, principles of HRD and things like 360 degree assessment are given a routine treatment, if at all applied. In fact, 360 degree feedback is not adopted by most pharma companies. The norm in the Indian pharma market is that pharma companies operate with a feudal or semi-feudal mindset. Hence, there is a lack of appreciation of the finer aspects in HRD functioning and its ability to contribute to organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

As a seasoned HRD person once said about HRD in pharma: HRD is about salary, wages, the annual picnic or annual day and keeping the union at bay!!!

The winds of change are blowing

India is now a maturing market. Production or product or sales mindset in running pharma companies will have its limitations. A customer-centric mindset will be required. This includes internal and external customer management. Marketing with a customer-centric mindset is the need of the hour.

India is also coming of age with respect to improved level of educational attainments & expectations, employment options, and employee expectations.

The earlier norm of a manager was a tall man with a gruff & loud voice who seldom smiles! It was OK in the past perhaps until the late 1990s, but now? The era of hypercompetition has arrived in the Indian pharmaceutical market. More and more companies are interested in pharma marketing. Franchisee marketing/PCD marketing is a force to reckon with in pharma marketing. Hence, merely putting pressure on MRs, asking them to work harder, make more calls, get more POB etc will not give the desired sales outcomes. Marketing strategies, product selection, process management, customer-centric organizational working and the quality of HRD including organizational culture are mattering more than ever for sales results. The manager is a key, but the managerial competence is mattering more now, than the gruff voice!

A must read: GO KISS THE WORLD

Subroto Bagchi, the maverick co-founder and prime mover behind Mindtree (a prominent software company of India) has written beautifully about work philosophy and life in his book GO KISS THE WORLD. In this book Subroto Bagchi describes in detail how they went about founding and setting up Mindtree. What is striking to a reader about Subroto Bagchi's account of founding Mindtree is that it is not about creating some new fangled technology for Mindtree's success ... it is simply about creating the right organizational cultural DNA. It is in fact, HRD in action at Mindtree!!

In this book, Subroto keenly describes how he even takes help of external management consultants to help create a positive atmosphere in his company when things were looking gloomy (including businesswise) after the 9/11 Twin Tower fall due to terrorist attack.

Subroto describes the intense activity to develop intangibles like the logo of Mindtree (through specially challenged children), values, vision, and mission of Mindtree. In fact, this book is about how to generate values, vision, and a mission. Subroto gives the keen understanding that values are the glue in organizations, they provide unity of action, and ensure productive work behaviors.

The traditional corporate mindset in India, is that people need jobs, hence, salaries and some comfort level - this will ensure employees will work as per directives to ensure organizational objectives are met. However, the new trend of HRD, and humanism is that people are very vital assets and they need to be treated differently from material resources. The HRD assets require development - time and resources need to be invested for the same. HRD and people resources provide the sustainable competitive edge.

So what pharma India needs to do now is to take inspiration from GO KISS THE WORLD to avoid negative corporate episodes like the one at Pune (involving Zydus Cadila).


Dyad refers to the smallest social unit of two people. In pharma marketing companies an example of a very important dyad is the first-line manager and his MR. The strength of pharma companies comes from this dyad. When the first-line manager is very committed and competent, the MR team itself will be high performance oriented. If the first-line manager lacks character or competence or commitment, the MR team will be a demotivated one. Hence, pharma companies that develop the dyad through empowering programs stand to gain a lot.

Various unsavory events in pharma marketing (or for that matter in any department of a pharma company) occur due a weak dyad.

HENCE, A DYAD MANAGEMENT strategy at the company level will prove very useful.

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1 comment:

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