Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Photo With over a foot of snow overnight, Pharmaland is likely to be having another snow day in the New Jersey metro area.  

That's a good thing because not only will people be safe and sound off the roads in the manic rush hour, but they will also be more productive.


Because meetings are cancelled and they'll get more done on important things or teleconferences without being driven by other people's agendas. And there will be fewer interruptions by colleagues practising management by walking around.

The bureaucracy in Pharma has always been bad, but lately I've noticed a lot more people complaining about it and things don't get done because there are so many processes and procedures to overcome.

During mergers, everyone turns inwards and started dealing with the consequences and implications of new colleagues, new teams, new processes or even debating this company's process over that one. Sometimes the end result is that not much gets done, or at least at a much slower pace, and people get frustrated.  


One of my most hated words in the dictionary.  It gets in the way of getting things done, of making magical things happen.

At one of my clients a new colleague joined one of the teams I'm working with.  On a teleconference the other week, they asked the team, "what's the process for doing this?"

Someone, who had been in the company a longish time, piped up; "I don't know, we just do it around here!"  Everyone laughed and the conversation moved on.  A very true and apt statement that summed them up as a group.  They make great things move and working with them is a delight.

Many people, though, hide behind rules and process, obfuscating those who are focused on getting things done. Sometimes experience teaches you that common sense is often the best approach:

"What's the right thing to do for our customers/people/patients/team?"

Give me a sensible, hard working practical team focused on people than individuals bogged down in process any day. It's all about making a difference and making things happen, not hiding behind rules about why you can't do something.

As the snow continues to waft down, the shackles of the office are removed and things are getting done in Pharmaland.

We need more snow days :>}

3 Responses to “Making things happen in Pharma land”

  1. Jim H

    Even more frustrating is this environoment: no process + no leadership = ZERO accountability
    People are getting “stuff” done purely for the purpose of moving the “stuff” from their domain to others. And the “stuff” gets stuffier every time it moves along this ill defined path with no focus on the customer or the patient (in this case, premature babies with respiratory infections).
    Sorry, but I am a process guy. Must have a process to get things done efficiently, measure your productivity and eliminate waste (like meetings).

  2. MaverickNY

    That’s a fair comment, Jim, I’m not advocating for no process at all, but rather a balance between too much and too little. Both extremes result in frustration.
    I’m all for fewer meetings too, which is why more gets done on snow days 🙂

  3. Chris Iafolla

    I’m with you Sally on finding a fair balance between too much and too little. My problem with process is that it often stifles creative thinking. People tend to fall neatly into the defined way of solving problems and are unwilling to look outside the proverbial box. Management pundits would call it isomorphism–after awhile, everything looks the same. Processes can be effective in eliminating waste as Jim mentioned, but the trick is to do so without eliminating creative thinking.

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