Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2011 - (Page 27)
Executive Training & Development
What Makes a Pharmaceutical Industry Leader?
Personality assessments identify the traits that enable some pharma researchers to ascend to leadership roles in industry
By Adam Millinger, LCSW and Gilbert Carrara Jr., MD, Amrop Battalia Winston; and Harry Kerr and Thomas Schoenfelder, PhD, Caliper Corporation 4. Recognizing problems, issues and opportunities 5. Thinking strategically to promote growth, process improvement or in the attempt of gaining competitive advantage 6. Implementing problem-solving strategies 7. Taking action that challenges status quo 8. Willing to make tough decisions 9. Being persistent.
The pharmaceutical industry routinely recruits medical doctors (MDs) and researchers from academia, which serves as something of a farm system for the industry. Most of these scientists Adam Millenger move into research or medical affairs roles when they join industry. Some of them remain researchers primarily, but some become research directors and team leaders. Some move into commercial-side management, and a precious few ascend into the upper-management ranks of pharma companies. What distinguishes the leadership potential of these researchers and scientists? Answering this question provides insights into who can transition successfully from academia to industry, and which individuals companies should nurture as the source of future industry leaders. Individuals themselves can look in a mirror and decide if they have the skills and outlook necessary for successfully moving up the ranks. Not surprisingly, human development research shows that there is a relationship between personality and effective leadership in organizations. [1-4]. In recent years, Caliper has conducted a number of studies that investigated the relationship between effective leadership and personality traits, across many industries. [5-6]. In conjunction with Caliper, Amrop Battalia Winston has conducted a study to understand the leadership profile of top physicians in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. The purpose of this research is to identify if there are particular personality traits in these physicians that lead to behaviors that are consistent across the industry that demonstrate success. These personality traits can also potentially link into competencies already developed by individual organizations regarding their unique leadership definitions. Use of the Caliper Assessment The Caliper Profile is a robust assessment tool that measures 23 different personality traits and motivational factors that have been found to be highly predictive of job performance. In working with over 30,000 companies over the past 40 years, Caliper has consistently found that the employees who perform at high levels are those who are in work environments and positions that are congruent with their personality and motivational strengths. One’s personality and set of motivational dynamics provides the psychological mechanism that gives rise to the observable behav-
iors that will lead to success in a job. In short, Caliper assesses the congruence between an individual’s personality and the tasks, work environment, management style, culture, and expected outcomes the individual will experience on the job. The more congruency observed, the more likely the individual will prove to be a success. Analysis of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Top Leadership Composite A group of individuals, deemed by their respective companies or Amrop Battalia Winston as being successful or high-potential physician leaders, were identified as potential participants of this study. To help guide the identification and selection of potential study participants, we have defined high performance as a leader within the context of the following job-related behaviors listed by Caliper and Amrop Battalia Winston:
1. Confidently expressing ideas and opinions 2. Motivating others to perform at their best 3. Building alignment and influencing others from various functional areas
The study participants come from a number of organizations within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The positions held by these individuals represent functional areas where physicians typically are employed, (i.e. Clinical Research, Medical Affairs, etc.) in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, and included such titles as:
■ Senior Director ■ Executive Director ■ Assistant/Associate Vice President ■ Vice President ■ Therapeutic Head ■ Chief Medical Officer
graphs (see Figure) represent a half standard deviation from the mean of the group on each trait. Given that the 50% mark (50th percentile) is the average of the general population for each attribute, the mean scores that fell well above, or below, 50% are attributes that warrant consideration. Moreover, in looking at all the bars on the graph, wider bars indicate a greater degree of variance between the scores of the members of the group, whereas narrower bars indicate a lesser degree of variance between the individual scores. Therefore, Caliper scales with the narrowest bars are those for which the members of the group are similar. Traits with a relatively large amount of variance within the same group (indicated by wider bars) may not be as critical. As can be seen in the graphs, industry respondents scored above average in:
• Assertiveness • Aggressiveness • Ego Drive • Risk Taking • Urgency • Abstract Reasoning • Idea Orientation (i.e., creativity)
This group scored below average in:
• Cautiousness • Accommodation • Skepticism • Thoroughness • Self-Structure (i.e., an individual’s ability to determine and direct his/her own priorities) • External Structure (i.e., the degree to which a person is sensitive to the environment and the structure that exists).
Results Caliper has defined a set of personality traits, which are measured by answers to a variety of questions in an online questionnaire: the Caliper Profile. The bars on the
Summary of Personality Dynamics The dynamics exhibited by this group of successful physician leaders suggest that they are comfortable and effective in situations that call for a straightforward communication style. They are apt to be highly assertive in communicating their ideas and in championing their opinions. They will tend to defend their decisions and opinions in circumstances when faced with resistance from staff, colleagues, etc. They should be effective in clearly conveying performance expectations to others and will generally be comfortable taking a leadership role in situations in which they need to be direct in addressing performance issues. While not welcoming of conflict, they will nevertheless be willing to engage in difficult or uncomfortable conversations. They exhibit a moderate level of backup Aggressiveness, which suggests that they will usually be willing to bring a constructive emotional element to the interaction/discussion when faced with pushback or resistance. These dynamics also suggest that they are highly motivated to win buy-in from others. Members of this group, therefore, should be highly effective in communicating the company’s vision, direction, and goals clearly. Their higher levels of Risk-Taking and Urgency suggest that they will be biased more
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Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2011
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Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2011