Posts Tagged ‘Pharmaceutical industry’

Quick – what’s a workshop? What words would you use to express your meaning?

If I ask 5 of you that question, I’ll end up with five different answers. Why?


Because we all have varied definitions, experiences, and expectations built up around the common words we use.

“Workshop” can mean one thing to you, and something quite different to me. And unless we define what we actually mean, what we’ll have is a “failure to communicate.”


Technically, this is what I call the “mental metadata” problem. Metadata can be defined as “information about information” – the words and imagery we attach, to give meaning.

The easiest way to think about metadata is how we use hashtags on-line. If I take a picture of a beautiful waterfall in Tennessee and hashtag it #FallCreekFalls – I’m attaching information (in this case, name/location).

We attach labels in order to define and explain things – it’s human nature. But here’s something else about human nature – we assume that others are thinking the way we are!

The danger is when we assume that when multiple people use the same terms, we actually mean the same thing. Many a “workshop” project has started without a clear definition of what was actually expected – in clarifying detail. This is what leads to misunderstanding and scope creep.

Lack of definition dooms many a project (and leads to serious loss of $$). Your department has experienced this, right? It’s a common pitfall when new trainers are drawn from the field sales force, and they have no on-boarding training in how to manage projects and vendors.

Project definition is one of the key issues we address in the Project/Vendor Management workshop that I provide to my Life Sciences Commercial Training clients. There are 6 vital elements to project definition that will determine whether a project stays on track – or goes off the rails.


One way to help ensure project success is to be sure that your sales managers understand all that goes into project definition, and that they are pro-actively equipped to map out ahead of time exactly what is being developed. That is one of the main emphases of the workshop.

Contact us here at Impactiviti to discuss how we can help your department move toward best practices in project and vendor management (AskSteve@Impactiviti.com; 973-947-7429).

See also: 5 Compelling Reasons to provide Project Management Training


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Do gifts from pharmaceutical companies influence how physicians prescribe? This blog post gives a quick overview of the general angst over this much-flogged question. Let’s forget about the particulars of tchotchkes, samples, dinners, and cheerleaders-as-sales-reps for a moment. Think about the bigger issue – why is there some overhang of “WRONG” constantly overhanging this question of influence and sales? Consider this quote from the post:

“Until these issues are addressed, the drug industry will maintain significant influence over physicians’ prescribing patterns.”

Duh. Who else is supposed to have influence – journalists, politicians, and garbage collectors? Of course drug companies will influence the use of drugs – just as EVERY company in EVERY industry seeks to influence users to use their products. Let’s just change the quote a little bit:

“Until these issues of advertising, speech-making, earmarking, and over-promising are addressed, politicians will maintain significant influence over citizens’ voting patterns.”

“Until these issues of politically-correct agendas, union power, anti-school choice, and undeserved tenure are addressed, teachers will maintain significant influence over students’ learning patterns.”

Some people have very selective views of free markets, free speech, and influence. Just saying…

Medtronic and physician payments. Check out the numbers here. There is a difference between staying (technically) within legal lines, and something that really has an appearance of impropriety. In light of my rant above, I’d like to see a lot healthier dose of good judgment (rather than ten more rounds of regulation). Exposure, in this case, is good for the whole system.

Of course, sometimes things both look bad AND are outside the lines of legality. Allegedly, here may be one of those cases. But this sort of stuff happens everywhere, not just with drug companies. Lest people forget that the problem is corrupt PEOPLE, not simply a single industry.

Bit of a ranting mood this morning. Hopefully by tomorrow there will be some bigger news items to report!


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Impactiviti is a pharma consultancy focused on helping pharma/biotech/medical devices companies identify optimal vendors for training/marketing needs.

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