Saturday, September 18, 2010

Transformational leadership

Above image from here. Winston Churchill was an inspiring leader. He galvanized people BY showing a vision. Churchill transformed attitudes of people, creating a following.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference - Winston Churchill

There are said to be two types of leaderships:

a) transactional leadership
b) transformational leadership

Transactional leaders are the typical good managers, who with integrity ensure that transactions are perfect, they ensure order in business transactions, and often leave things slightly improved or as they were.

Thus, in a pharmaceutical company, if the typical attitude is to check the ORG (or IMS) market figures, try to find out the best selling branded generics, then the transactional leader puts the typical new product (ie., new brand of a generic) launch process in motion. The transactional leader ensures launch of a 'new product' (ie., new brand of a generic):

- in glitzy packing
- with minimum 50% bonus offer to chemist retailers
- provides sales pack as samples to MRs for ensuring availability of product at retailers
- regular physician's samples with an attractive cache (or catch) cover
- a visual aid with big brand name some supporting lines, UV spot lamination for the pack shot, and a flap or some other attention getter on the visual aid
- literatures
- launch gifts
- special gifts linked to no. of prescriptions generated or order purchase (by dispensing doctors)
- launch incentive scheme to MRs and field staff

The transactional leader does this by rote. And ensures incremental increase in business. If board members are happy with the ROI (return on investment) it is business as usual, all are very happy, the picture is hunky dory!

But in today's pharma scenario is this approach enough? It is after all safe., time tested ... BUT ... BE WARNED ... this transactional leadership based business model will have limitations and will cause strain on pharma enterprises. This is not a doomsday prediction! It is reality. It is being pragmatic.


The electronic industry is always in a tizzy. There are tech innovations firing up new product launches. There is no scope for cocooning in transactional leadership. People are always trying to look at

- creating CHANGE (rather than getting run down by change in the industry)
- being INNOVATIVE (doing something new, adding value and improving the competitive offering)
- encouraging ENTREPRENEURIAL attitude (calculated risk taking, not pulling down people with ideas)

Knowledge, renewal and vision

When organizational knowledge is encouraged and strengthened, when robust intra-enterprise systems share knowledge with employees and stakeholders, when there are animated discussions, ideas are thrown around, the churning creates vitality, renews the organization, and the automatic result is ... visions of, what to go for.

The above scenario is distinctly different from a transactional environment. There is questioning, a process of inquiry, deep thinking, knowledge and idea sharing, questioning established paradigms ... this is the very different environment of transformation.

Microcosm and the macrocosm

The microcosm and the macrocosm are inter-connected. A business enterprise is a part of the societal framework. A firm cannot function inured from changes sweeping society. If there are a lot of transformations going on in society in general, they will impinge on the enterprise too. The microcosm is after all a reflection of the macrocosm.

There are sweeping changes in marketing communication, customer connect, messaging, and customer aspirations in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. So will a transactional environment of a business enterprise suit the transforming marketplace?

It is time to wake up to a new order of transformational leadership in pharmaceutical organizations. The well established SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) will not suffice!

Thnks for reading this blog ... scroll down for more no. of motivating blog posts ... spread the word that this blog is a worthy read! BONJOUR!!

No comments: