Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2007 - (Page 28)

Simulation Training Simulation lets reps experience the consequences of their actions — training they don’t soon forget, explains Kevin Dolgin. ank Butehorn was approaching Nagoya airport in a new Grumman G-5 when he experienced a dual hydraulic failure. The same thing had occurred to another crew, he remembered, and they had not come out of it well. And he had 14 top Pfizer executives in the back of the aeroplane. “We’ll have to blow the gear, use the pneumatics,” he said quickly to the co-pilot. It was going to be a hot landing, too fast and with no brakes and no thrust reversers. He ran through the options in his head — what were the procedures for aerodynamic braking in this airplane? — and tried to ignore the sweat forming in the palms of his hands. Butehorn brought the G-5 down with no damage. He stepped out, got a drink of water from the cooler, then headed back to learn from the instructor what he had done right and what he could have done better. The G-5, the hydraulic failure, and even the runway outside the windshield were all simulated. Butehorn had just sharpened his skills in a realistic flight simulator. Butehorn is a senior pilot for Pfizer and a member of the select club of pilots who have more than 20000 hours of flight time. But experience isn’t enough. Procedures, regulations, team members and technology all change, and the only way to stay on top is to train. Top pharma executives can entrust their lives to pilots like Butehorn because when he is given a new H aircraft to fly or a procedure to learn, he will not only read about and discuss it, he will also practice it in a simulated setting, with feedback from an instructor who can comment on his performance, play back the tapes, give tips, and let him try again. Most of all, the simulator lets the pilot experience the consequences of his actions. That type of training is not easily forgotten. Are simulators worth their time and cost? Probably not for many intellectual pursuits such as history or philosophy. But for pharma sales reps — who must not only be expert communicators but must also know how to operate complex computer systems, analyze results, and work with as many as eight other reps — simulation-based training pays off. This article outlines how and why the simulation approach increases sales force effectiveness and offers strategies for implementing such programmes. Why sales reps? Companies should train their sales forces using the same methodology they count on with their corporate pilots — and for the same reasons. It allows reps to practice what they learn in a controlled environment, experience the consequences of their decisions, and get feedback from instructors and peers. Jean-Pierre Millon, past president of Eli Lilly Japan and director of Caremark RX, says, “When you’re in the APRIL 2007 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 28

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2007

From the Editor
The Cycle of Success
Survival Tactics
Career Connections
Bringing Out the Best
Learning the Fast Way
Business Class
Simulation Training

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2007