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Posts Tagged ‘lten’

Stephen Covey was right. When it comes to strategy, sales, life, just about everything – we must define our destination if we intend to get there!

Project Management? Absolutely so. How can you succeed if you don’t have a clearly-defined outcome? One of the very first steps in successful project management is clear definition….what’s the Point B?

PointBPrinciple

In my Best Practices in Project and Vendor Management workshop (geared very specifically toward Life Sciences trainers), this is one of the very first points we emphasize. Project Management is a pro-active process of moving an initiative forward to a clearly-defined goal.

  • You need to be pro-active
  • You need to have a clear goal (business outcome)
  • You need an effective process to get there

This is one of the main differences between successful, and ineffective, project management.

Let’s talk about bringing these best practices to your training department (now available either on-demand/on-line, or as a live facilitated workshop!)

Reach out to Steve Woodruff, President, Impactiviti: AskSteve@impactiviti.com

Also on the Impactiviti blog: 5 Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

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Here in the Life Sciences training arena, we have a steady flow of people moving from the field to the home office, often involving a rotation in Sales Training.

This can be a great thing for professional development.

However, one the areas of need often pinpointed for on-boarding and developmental training is Project/Vendor Management. See the graphic below:

pm-train-2

Why is Project Management competency so important? Here are 5 reasons:

  1. Sales people moving into roles of training/management have been trained in selling skills, but rarely in operational/process skills like Project Management.
  2. Managing projects and vendors is a high-profile activity involving lots of budget dollars. Failed execution can deeply impact the reputation of the trainer and the department.
  3. PM training equips training managers with communication skills, and collaboration strategies, that will carry over into all subsequent leadership roles.
  4. Those new to managing projects and vendors need proven tools, procedures, and frameworks in order to succeed.
  5. PM training provides a standardized set of processes and a common language so that the entire department can reinforce best practices.

Successfully managing projects and vendors is learning, in a collaborative environment, how to move an initiative forward from A to B. This is a much needed corporate skill, and should not be left to chance or good intentions. Focused training is required.

twoformspm

Of course, not all project management training is equal. Impactiviti has devoted years to developing and customizing modules that are precisely aligned to commercial life sciences training professionals. This training can be delivered live (on-site), or virtually (or both).

Contact us to discuss how we can help your department move toward best practices in project and vendor management (AskSteve@Impactiviti.com).

 

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How are they doing?

It’s the question we’re always asking in training. We want to know if development is occurring among our employees – but what about those who have moved up the ladder into sales leadership positions?

Turns out they need that feedback, too. And, at Gilead Sciences, Commercial L&D has implemented what are called RD Development “Touchpoints” to help Regional Directors know how they’re progressing in professional development (note: “Regional Directors” at Gilead are equivalent to “District Managers” at many other companies).

c-padovanoI asked Corey Padovano, Senior Director of Commercial Learning and Development, to outline how the process works.

Corey described the three phases of training for Regional Directors that Gilead has designed; Phase 1 is focused on understanding and leading yourself; Phase 2 on leading teams/direct reports; and Phase 3 on leading across the organization. Each of those phases has appropriate courses such as Emotional Intelligence, Situational Leadership, Influence without Authority, etc.

Typically, these phases of training occur as 3-day live events, with 6-9 month periods between.

So, how to gauge progress along the way? Gilead employs a 360-degree methodology to get unbiased feedback for these “touchpoints,” including:

-3rd party conversational interview with each RD

-3rd party conversational interview with Senior RDs

-Survey to direct reports

-Survey to peers/stakeholders

This information is aggregated, then presented in a constructive way to help RDs identify levels of progress. The touchpoint process refers to specific curriculum topics and asks for ratings on a simple 3-point scale:

  • Understands the material
  • Applies the concepts
  • Demonstrates mastery

A straightforward, 2-page report is generated. The process provides very specific feedback for Senior RDs to coach their charges, and provides the additional benefit of looping back input to the training department on how to optimize the curriculum for actual needs (business acumen and strategic thinking are popping up regularly).

Was there resistance? Some, at first – until the methodology was understood and the results generated. Now it is a much-appreciated part of the professional development process at Gilead.

With this approach now in place for RDs, future potential applications may include first-line and second-line leadership in HQ positions.

How is your company monitoring and encouraging the development of its field leadership? I’d love to hear your comments and input!

More in the Impactiviti Interview series:

Training Journey – From Major Pharma to Startup

Training for the New World of Specialty Pharma

Becoming a Consultant – Should You?

Two Keys to Successful Product Launches

Clinical Training Innovation at Depomed

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jsjovallI recently sat down with John Sjovall (past-President of LTEN) to interview him about his transition from heading up T&D at Daiichi-Sankyo, to working with a small startup (Collegium Pharmaceuticals). If you’ve ever been curious about what such a move might be like….well, read on!

Profile of Collegium Pharmaceuticals:

Collegium as a commercial organization is a little over one year old, with approximately 230 total employees. The sales force is about 160 sales reps and managers, broken out into three different teams: Therapeutic, Institutional, and LTC.

Collegium is focused on developing and launching products that use a proprietary DETERx manufacturing process. DETERx takes a drug API and makes it extended release (Q12 dosing), and manipulation resistant. In late June of 2016 the company launched its first product: Xtampza ER is an oxycodone opioid indicated for the treatment of chronic pain requiring around the clock treatment.

What has been Collegium’s biggest challenge launching this new drug for pain? 

Launching a new product and new commercial entity at the same time, particularly with a product in the opioid pain space, has been a very interesting and challenging opportunity. Besides healthcare organizations that are stricter than ever in controlling their formularies, we have found that access to the prescriptions in pharmacies is a real challenge due to the nature of the product. Pharmacy chains are now less inclined to auto-ship new products at launch, especially for opioids. In addition CII opioids require vault space (which is limited) at local pharmacies, and they have monthly opioid quotas for CII’s as well; it is a very intensive “hands-on process” where sales representatives must walk HCP offices and local pharmacies through the steps to make sure that prescriptions are available when they are written. An account management approach to sales is a mandatory mindset for the sales representative in an opioid market.

Lots of people who have been in larger pharmaceutical companies dream of moving over to a startup. The perception is lots of freedom and excitement. What’s the reality?

Joining a start-up has been very exciting, enjoyable…and a challenge as well. I describe it as building a rocket ship after it has already taken off from the launch pad. You are building internal processes and systems at the same time you are fielding sales forces and launching products. The pace is fast, hours are long, and the whole adventure is very fulfilling. One caution I would append is to go into it with your eyes wide open; things are lean, budgets and personnel are tight!

For example, when I was at my last company I had a training team of 30+; teams were focused on new hire training, training development and training technologies. At a startup it was initially a team of three (me, myself and I). Yes, I was doing everything – strategizing, designing and editing training materials and content, while at the same time finding and launching an LMS and other training technologies. I was able to add a second position last spring four months before launch. If you are not willing to work in an environment where you need to roll up your sleeves and be a doer and planner, then a start-up may not be for you.

You joined Collegium Pharmaceuticals as they were preparing for their first launch. What was most surprising to you about the experience?

The biggest surprise was the need to be flexible and build the process when it is needed, because it doesn’t exist. At an established organization, processes and procedures are embedded and are already part of the organizational culture. In a start-up, you have small teams with everybody engaged in building their own rocket ship. For instance, Medical-Legal review may be a brand-new process, so you have to make sure you understand what someone is intending, because they may not be available later when you may need additional clarification.

Of course, there are differences between very small start-ups and more mature companies, but what are the issues that are pretty much the same? 

Interestingly enough, there are many aspects that are quite similar. The same set of priorities drive large and small companies in our industry. Despite the size difference, a SmartCar and a stretch limousine fundamentally work the same way.

The time and cost to build a workshop or a product learning module is the same whether you are building it for 10 or 10,0000. The assumption that we are small and nimble may allow decisions to be made quickly; but the execution/process time is still the same. And effective communication is just as critical; the fact that you are small doesn’t mean teammates will absorb information or know what you are doing. You still need to keep stakeholders informed and check in that your activities are tracking with the organization’s priorities and initiatives.

What have you learned about yourself as a professional through this new role?

The first thing I learned was that I could be more flexible; those who know me understand that I like to follow the process and have a plan in place! In the past I liked to start planning the training for a product launch 18 to 24 months ahead of time; in this new role, I did it in less than 11 months, including the onboarding and training of 142 new sales hires! “You can teach an old dog new tricks!” I have had fun this year dusting off old unused skills and knowledge, and creatively applying all those years of experience into a new and dynamic setting.

More in this series:

Training for the New World of Specialty Pharma

Becoming a Consultant – Should You?

Two Keys to Successful Product Launches

Clinical Training Innovation at Depomed

Impactiviti is devoted to improving the craft of life sciences training, through strategic consulting, vendor recommendations, and network-building.

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What is the Impactiviti network? It is where Steve Woodruff helps life sciences training professionals get clear on their outsource needs, and get connected to optimal vendor-partners.

This unique “matchmaking” network works so well because Steve also helps training vendors get clear on their message, and get connected to new training clients.

Steve is the eHarmony of the Life Sciences Training community, saving everyone from wasted time and effort.

Working on new training initiatives? Whatever you need, ask Steve!

Our training consultations are free – just ask Steve at steve@stevewoodruff.com.

 

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Last night over a glass of wine on our back patio, I gave my wife a glowing report about the LTEN conference (from which I had just returned). And it struck me afresh how upbeat this year’s event truly was.

I mean, it was in Scottsdale, Arizona – so how could things NOT be bright and sunny?

LTEN Scottsdale

I know that the LTEN staff (always great to see Dawn, Christine, Miki, Gregg, Nanette, and Tim!), who worked so hard on the event, were thrilled with the attendance numbers, including a growing number of folks from medical device and other related companies.

LTEN crowd

Board Members and Advisors were actively engaged throughout the week, constantly visible in sessions and on the exhibit floor.

LTEN Board

John Constantine, Corey Padovano, Jim Page

This was John Sjovall’s last conference serving as President, although his imitation of Elton John (LTEN John – get it?) did not put him on a yellow brick road to Vegas for nightclub bookings, we all appreciated his steady leadership over the past two years.

LTEN John Sjovall

This year, I didn’t attend a lot of workshops, instead focusing on networking with individuals on both the client and vendor/partner sides. And that was wonderful. In fact, the main keynote was by Keith Ferrazzi, on the building of community through networking. Keith’s material was solid and very practical – I’m always going to applaud encouragements to build professional networks.

The most creative and interesting workshop that I did attend was put on by the folks at Campbell Alliance Learning Solutions (John Bye and Celeste Mosby) – a very cool board game to teach market access fluency. Some of the talks I attended were too didactic, but this one was full of energy as the various teams worked together to try to figure out where the decision-making power resided in a simulated managed markets setting.

And then there was the conference app – a quantum leap above any other mobile application we’ve had in the past. This one, created by DoubleDutch, encouraged direct person-to-person interaction and easy posting of updates/photos. For years, getting social media integrated into the LTEN conference has been a slow ride, but I think we finally crossed the river this year. Utilization of the app was off the charts!

LTEN SW Jim

The evening social events (Monday and Wednesday nights) were very pleasant and relaxed networking times. Monday was a bit weak on the food side of the spectrum, but Wednesday certainly was not! The Learning Labs (mini sessions in the exhibit hall during lunch hours) seemed to be received quite well; and, for the first time, there were LTEN Excellence Awards, including posters of entries. Nice touch.

Since my Impactiviti business is about matchmaking life sciences companies with optimal vendor/partners, I tend to spend a lot of time on the exhibit floor, interacting with my many vendor friends. Having been on the provider side for many years, I’m acutely sensitive to the mood of our vendor colleagues, and often there have been complaints about how little traffic there is in the exhibit hall. But this year, we seemed to hit an inflection point. The mood among vendors was very upbeat, all week – lots of solid interaction happening. I think the combination of better scheduling (more free time in the hall); a simple and intuitive layout of the facility (exhibit hall centrally positioned and all meeting rooms extremely close); and the lack of “outside” distractions at this particular resort made for a much better community experience. Also, it was a privilege to be able to connect many vendors and clients “live” at the conference, which is always a highlight of my year.

Next year’s event will be held June 13-16 at the Gaylord National D.C. Resort; for our friends in Medical Device and Diagnostics companies, there is a gathering in Chicago this year on October 6-7.

Do you want to stay updated throughout the year on the latest life sciences training news and resources? Subscribe right here to the twice-monthly Impactiviti e-newsletter and get better connected to your community! And call on me at any time for advice on your training needs: asksteve@impactiviti.com

-Steve Woodruff, President, Impactiviti – the eHarmony of Life Sciences Training

Are we connected yet on LinkedIn?

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(there is now an addendum at the end of this post – a single question to help you network more effectively with your peers; PLUS a single question for vendors to ask potential clients as they meet/talk with them)

It can be an overwhelming experience to walk into a trade show exhibit hall – so many booths! Wall-to-wall companies! And they all seem to do the same thing!!

Sound familiar?

Some people* even shy away from vendor interaction because the exhibit hall experience can be so overwhelming, and there’s always a sense that you’re a target being sold to.

*(hello, fellow introverts!)

Well, I want to give you one simple tool to cut through the bull and help you find out if a vendor is potentially a right match for you. It’s a straightforward question demanding a straightforward answer. Here it is:

sweetspot
Here’s the thing to understand – vendors are in a dilemma. They’d really prefer to get only the business that’s an optimal “fit” for them, but they feel the pressure to cast a wide net and portray themselves as providers of “this, and that, and the other thing, too.”

Don’t let them. Go directly for the bulls-eye. Gently force each vendor to define their sweet spot with precision. Have them describe the kind of project where their blood pumps fastest. This is also, by the way, where they’ll have the best case studies (follow up by asking for a case study of how/when they did this for another client).

That’s it! With that one question, you can move past the fluff and get to the heart of the matter. And if a vendor insists that they can do 10 things well and they’re the ideal one-stop shop, just smile and move on.

ADDENDUM

>>So, you’re a vendor and you want to go beyond the usual canned question(s) when a potential client walks up (so, what are you looking for? Have you seen our such-and-such?) Here’s what I suggest: break the selling mode by introducing yourself, and then asking, with a sincere heart: “What are your goals for attending this conference, and how can I help you?” Then, be helpful – share your knowledge and advice and contacts. Focus your attention on that person, not on your pitch.

>>As an attendee, sometimes it can be awkward to strike up conversations with your peers. We know the standard questions (so, what do you do? How do you like working at ___company___?) Here’s a different question that I find leads immediately to a deeper level of conversation: “I see that you’re working for ___company___ – can you tell me your 2-minute story? How did you your journey bring you to this position?” Then shut up and listen. Give others a chance to tell their story – it’s always more fascinating than a bare exchange of facts. And it will usually open up a much-longer-than-2-minute discussion!

For my biopharma training clients, I hope to see you at the annual LTEN Conference next week in Phoenix. Want to meet up for coffee or breakfast to brainstorm your vendor needs? Just ping me at stevew@impactiviti.com and we’ll set up a time to meet with you and/or your team!

Additional reading: Conference Effectiveness Training: Don’t Leave Home Without It by Mark Goulston (and including some perspectives from Keith Ferrazzi who will be keynoting at the LTEN conference next week).

——-

Impactiviti provides vendor-client “matchmaking” services in the life sciences training area. Our business model is built on a unique trusted referral network model.

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