Archive for July, 2007

Some Friday Diversions

Perhaps you saw some months back, on YouTube, the awesome performance of a young Asian guitarist playing Pachelbel’s Canon on electric guitar. Here is something even cooler – an amalgam video of a bunch of talented people playing the Canon, all stitched together (it really picks up after the first 30 seconds).

For any Chicken Littles out there, a Doomsday scenario that seems to repeat itself with frightening regularity (from The Onion).

Two lessons in one – how to write an article that is “sticky”, and, just how good is the whole bottled water thing??

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Two weeks worth of news articles linked here:

Medical News

Actos: safer than Avandia?

Cialis going toward a once-daily version (but shouldn’t it be once every day-and-a-half??)

Novartis gets some approvals in Europe, including new diabetes treatment Galvus

Wyeth’s Pristiq gets stalled by FDA (Pristiq is a cousin of Effexor)

GPC setback on cancer treatment

Promising HIV treatments: competitive upcoming products from Pfizer and Schering

Corporate News

Medpointe being bought by a Swedish firm

AZ slashing jobs (mostly overseas)

Some earnings reports: BMS, Celgene, Mylan, Shire

Pfizer entering the patent black hole: Losing Lipitor

Schering’s reliance on cholesterol pills

Motley Fool asks – Amylin: Two hit wonder?

Next up on the Whistleblower Express: Novartis

Purdue hammered again with fines for Oxycontin marketing


And, a long-ish article in Pharmaceutical Executive magazine entitled Fixing the Sales Model.

Plus: Medical Marketing and Media’s annual lollapalooza of Agencies and Brands. Some good info and downloads here.

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Very interesting article about 68-year old Peter Pappas, a rep who has seen it all, and isn’t pleased with how the selling process has changed.

Hat tip: Pharmalot, who spotted it on Kevin MD (both excellent blogs, by the way)

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Hear, hear!

How does this story fit on the Impactiviti blog?

Well, it’s medical technology. And it’s neat.

And it’s another example of how lives can be changed.

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rfp-1.jpgWho in the world likes creating a Request for Proposal (RFP)? It’s painful! It’s a lot of detail! And when were you ever trained on how to do it right anyway?

You have to be kinda sick to groove on RFP design and development.

OK. I’m sick.

The fact is, I suffered on the vendor side for years, creating proposals, sorting through the good, the bad, and the ugly of RFPs. I know how vital a good RFP is – a huge factor in the success of any training development project is a comprehensive, strategically-focused, well-designed and clearly written RFP. With a good RFP, a client can intelligently compare “apples for apples” proposals. With a good RFP, a client and a vendor/partner can actually communicate on how the project will unfold. Without it, misunderstandings and project creep are almost inevitable.

I’m just finishing up a project with a client designing an RFP template, and writing some RFPs for learning systems. I like it, because it gets down to articulating strategy, injecting creativity, and making a workable blueprint. In a sense, it’s architectural design, using ideas and words. Love it. A bit sick, I know. But as my client said on the phone this afternoon, “You’re really good at this!”

The fact is, vendors really prefer to know what you want, in the most complete terms possible. I’ve been in those shoes for years, so I know what vendor/partners are looking for, and how to spell it out in a document that communicates clearly.

So, if you’re dreading that RFP, or perhaps want to build a more comprehensive RFP process, give us a call here at Impactiviti (973.947.7429). And, if you’d like to talk about a workshop for your training managers on Vendor/Project management (which includes RFP development), let us know.

(Image credit)

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Recommended this week…

It’s been a busy week with recommendations! Here’s a sampling of what your colleagues were asking about:

    – DM training for training Generation “Y” (or X, or Z – man, it’s hard to keep track!)
    – Skills training programs/suppliers for field reps
    – Strategic design of Advanced training curriculum
    – Workshop for trainers on Vendor/Project Management
    – Request for Proposal (RFP) consulting
    – Foundational Body Systems/A&P program for new hires

If you see something you need in this list, or in this list from a couple weeks back – or, in fact, whatever list of needs you may have – let us know and we’ll help you find the optimal supplier(s)!


Everyone likes compliments, and being recommended by others. I admit it…I do too. Here are several unsolicited comments that came my way via e-mail in the last couple of weeks…

    “You’re a gold mine!”  (from a Marketing/Training Director, after a recommendation on 5 potential suppliers for a selling skills program)
    “I love the way you think: ‘unreliability is the engine of innovation.’ You are right, and I’ve never looked at it that way.”  (from a fellow blogger, regarding a comment I made on his blog about systems that fail)
    “You are a master.”  (from a Training Director, regarding an editing/wordsmithing task)

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Impactiviti recently interviewed Jennifer Zinn, Director, Worldwide Marketing, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. Before taking on this role, Jennifer was Group Director, Worldwide Training (Sales and Marketing) for the OCD commercial organization. Prior roles in Sales, Sales Management, and Training were held by Jennifer at McNeil Specialty Pharma, and Dupont Pharma. Jennifer has a particular interest in building and maintaining productive partnerships with vendor/suppliers, and that is the topic of this Interview.

Q1: From a broad perspective, how do you view building relationships with vendors?

First of all, I banish the use of the “v” word (“vendor”)! It is my philosophy to view suppliers of products and services, not as mere commercial storefronts, but as business partners – people who will work with me to create long-term, win-win solutions to business challenges.

Q2: What qualities do you look for in a vendor/partner?

First and foremost, I am looking for quality of work. Our partners are outstanding at what they do, and often have very unique offerings or skills that rise above the others in the marketplace. I also value a collaborative attitude, which shows itself in a productive approach to issue resolution. There will always be problems that surface in a business relationship or in a specific project; our partners understand that flexibility and reasonableness solve issues far more readily than hard-nosed tactics or avoidance of responsibility.

Obviously, I look for reliability over time – true partnerships are built over the long haul and our best partners come through with consistency. And, I seek to have partners that are willing to both give and receive candid feedback – pats on the back are great when warranted, but we aren’t looking for “sweet talk” when things begin to go south!

Q3: How do you work with your partners – either new or existing – when things don’t go well on a project?

First, you need to set clear expectations up front, and set up an on-going communication system. This will help you avoid 90% of the issues that may arise. When there IS a problem , I just state the issue and the expected solution. You have to trust that the intent of your partner is to deliver a high quality product. If you start from that premise, only good will follow.

Q4: Do you see any dangers in developing long-term partnerships with suppliers?

I have many long-term partners, and I find these relationships to be very valuable. The only “danger” that I see is complacency. It is easy for a supplier to become complacent – to assume that the business belongs to them no matter how they perform – but it is also easy for the client to slip into a type of complacency, valuing the warmth and good will of the partner relationship to the point of turning a blind eye to faults that surface. Both most be avoided.

Q5: How much emphasis do you place on recommendations and referrals in your decision-making process for new suppliers?

I place a tremendous amount of emphasis on referrals – how else would you know that the quality you expect is what you are going to receive? I also practice giving referrals to others who want to know about quality suppliers, which is another benefit to the in-depth knowledge that comes from long-term partnerships.

Browse through some prior Impact Interviews:

Small Company Training

Launch Training

Measuring Training

Enterprise Training

Global Training

Training in Pharma, Biotech, and Devices

Vendor Management

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1 year.jpgThis week was a real milestone for the Impactiviti blog.

Today marks 1 year (plus one day) from the very first posting – the launch of Impactiviti occurred in mid-July of 2006.

Since that time, 215 posts – including this one – have appeared on this blog. I guess I always was a frustrated writer!!

Just as important, your comments have been a big part of this venture – both on the blog, and more regularly, via e-mail and voice conversation. Many of you have freely given me your opinions, your recommendations, and your input, which has not only been to my benefit, but has also benefited other colleagues who were seeking information.

Thank you for reading, and for contributing. To my growing group of clients, thank you for the opportunity to work with you. To my fellow bloggers, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for sharpening mine.

I look forward to many more years of learning together.

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Sun, Surf…and Storm


A day at Long Beach Island, NJ (July 19th, 2007)

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This OB/GYN doctor published, on his (I am assuming gender here; it is not actually given) blog, some great tips for making an engaging lecture/presentation. Although he is talking about medical lectures, and uses clinical topics, the points he makes are excellent for any teachers/trainers who try to make their points “stick” with their audience:

Teaching Medicine to Residents and Students 

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