There is no doubt that the future for Life Science sales forces will look very different from the past.
Delivering continuous innovation to meet this highly challenging environment is now recognized as a strategic imperative. Innovation is no longer solely an R&D function or reserved for those with ‘change’ or ‘innovation’ in their role title. It is now the responsibility of all colleagues – and none more so than the medical sales team where new approaches and behaviors are critical. Among other things, success will be dependent on having the right culture in place. Those that get it right will outperform their competitors dramatically.
‘Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast’ (Peter Drucker)
An innovative culture is a living, breathing thing that must be actively managed
The case for managing culture has long been clear; Harvard Professor James L. Heskett’s research shows that an effective corporate culture can account for 20 – 30% differential in performance when compared against competitors with ‘unremarkable’ cultures. Multiple studies have found that successful high-performance cultures share some common attributes. Such attributes include:
- a sense of greater purpose
- a focus on utilizing existing strengths and exploring new ideas for the future
- a strategy focused on long-term gains as well as immediate results
- employees who derive meaning from their work
- a culture in which employees feel connected to an authentic company ethos.
Innovation and continuous improvement is the natural by-product of such cultures.
In a study of 2,200 organizations, 84% believed culture was critical to success; 60% thought it more important than business strategy, and 45% disagreed or strongly disagreed that their organizational culture was effective. (Source: Culture & Change Management Survey Booz & Co 2013)
UCLA research provides empirical evidence that just six elements of culture have a differential impact on financial performance. What are these six elements critical to an innovative, engaged, and growth-oriented corporate culture?
- Customer focus
- Corporate citizenship
- Performance standards
- Identification with the company
- Human resource practices
- Organizational communication
(Source: Flamholtz and Kannan-Narasimhan)
While this is interesting information, you may be thinking that strategies and plans can be more easily managed, but “corporate culture” is much harder to develop and maintain. The good news is that there are technologies that can assist in delivering and maintaining excellence in the six areas notes above to drive an innovative, growth-oriented culture.
Cloud-based Field Force Coaching applications are one way to help ensure a long-term culture strategy. These applications are designed to promote the following:
- The values of the Organization and the specific behaviors needed to demonstrate customer focus and communication can be described for sales leaders, sales managers and sales reps alike
- Sales coaching and development is focused on these known and promoted organizational values.
- Business strategy and plans/outcomes can be quickly cascaded, shared and assigned to give teams and individuals ownership of challenging performance expectations to drive innovation and change.
- Assessments can be gathered, measured and integrated across the sales population.
- Results of assessments enable leadership to recognize and reward the right behaviors and achievements and to drive continuous learning, development, and improvement.
- The HR systems and processes can be designed to drive the culture and coaching model required, rather than be an irrelevance or at worst to damage its delivery.
- Training can be focused in specific areas of need or weakness in a timely fashion, improving employee engagement and retention.
There are, of course, many factors that go into creating a company culture. But the six critical elements outlined in this article are areas of focus not to be overlooked.
If you are seeking ways to leverage a technology platform to track, manage, and report on all coaching activity in one application online, we encourage you to learn more about Atomus’ acoach app. Use by top global life science companies, this technology will move you one step closer to creating a sustainable world-class corporate culture.
To learn more or to schedule a 30-minute acoach demo, please contact us today at 888-887-0556.