By Rob Pizzie
In a life and death situation, decision making, although stressful, can be somewhat clear cut: someone – a surgeon in an operating room or a general in a war, for example - is in charge of making the decision and those reporting to them – junior doctors, nurses, officers and foot soldiers – are responsible for following them. In industry, decision making tends to be less black and white. Often, as a group member, your input may be needed by your leaders and you likely have the appropriate expectation that your input should be considered.
As a manager in industry, depending on the situation, you might want to take advantage of the participation of your group members and you may choose to select from 5 decision making approaches:
The greater freedom available to managers in industry can be powerful in that it provides the manager the opportunity to bring the experience of the group to bear on the decision-making process, allowing them to feel empowered and have more ownership in certain decisions. On the other hand, if the manager is not clear on what type of decision making approach is to be taken, it can lead to confusion, inefficiency and, in some cases, frustration within the group.
It is essential, before any discussion occurs, that the manager is clear with the group on what the level of decision making will be applied to each decision the group is addressing. Imagine the impact on a group if they believe that an issue they are discussing is level four (the group will make the decision with input from the manager) when the manager has decided that it is actually level two (the manager will make the decision after taking input from the group).
CruxMove Consulting taught me this approach to decision making many years ago and, although I am a slow learner and it took me a couple of years to see the value of the approach and the risks of not being clear on who “calls the shots” on any given decision, I have used it consistently with my leadership teams since then. Even now, in the democracy that is Brizzey LLC, we still pay attention to this important set of rules.
This article was posted as a guest blog on CruxMove Consulting's webpage on 28th June 2017 and followed two related articles by CruxMove co-owner, Jim Jenson. Click here to view the first of Jim's posts.
Brizzey turned three in February and it’s fair to say that time has flown. Since our last communication, we’ve continued to work hard within our mission and vision, supporting existing and new clients in their important drug development endeavors and we wanted to share some of what we’ve been up to.
If anything here resonates with a problem you’re facing or with an opportunity with which you could use some help, we would be glad to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Process, Systems and Tools
People and Partnership
Strategy & Planning
For more information on any of our services, please drop us a line:
Back in May we told you about our new educational offering: Everything you wanted to know about clinical supplies, but were afraid to ask. We’ve continued to deliver the original course and to develop various new “flavours”, tailored to specific clients or to different contexts and we are delighted with the responses from our clients. Here’s the feedback we received after a recent training session run for the Contracts department of a global clinical supplies organization:
"Rob delivered a high-energy, comprehensive presentation on clinical trials and their strong link with global clinical supply chain management services. He engaged the broad, cross-functional audience throughout the interactive session, asking and answering questions to ensure comprehension by all attendees – from beginners to seasoned professionals. Following the presentation, we immediately began planning future training sessions with Rob!”
If you ask Rob Pizzie why he feels so passionately about our training solutions, here's what he'll tell you:
"To me this is an important part of what Brizzey can offer the industry, because people are the foundation on which success is built. The more people understand the big picture, the better they can bring their talent, skill and experience to bear on the important business of getting new drugs to patients".
Want to hear more?
We can present Everything you wanted to know about clinical supplies, but were afraid to ask as a half-day course or broken into topics or modules to meet your particular learning objectives. If you would like to talk to us about bringing the course to your location or about developing a bespoke program, please get in touch via the link below: we’d love to hear from you.
Brizzey is pleased to introduce our latest educational offering: Everything you wanted to know about clinical supplies, but were afraid to ask. It’s designed as an interactive course, valuable for all those involved in clinical supplies and particularly targeted at those new to the area or working at the interface with clinical supplies (e.g. Clinical Operations, Pharmaceutical Development, Quality Assurance or Regulatory Affairs).
What people are saying about the course?
Rob Pizzie recently delivered the course to the Clinical Supplies group at a major pharmaceutical company. Here is some of their feedback:
What the course is about?
Here are a few of the topics we include:
Want to hear more?
We can present Everything you wanted to know about clinical supplies, but were afraid to ask as a half day course or broken into topics or modules to meet your particular learning objectives. If you would like to talk to us about bringing the course to your location or about developing a bespoke program, please get in touch via the link below: we’d love to hear from you.
One year ago we incorporated Brizzey and we’ve never looked back! It’s been a great year, learning the ins and outs of launching our own company, building the business and supporting several key industry groups and we wanted to share a few of our highlights:
In our first year, we’ve had the pleasure of engaging with some wonderful clients on some interesting and varied projects:
One of our principles is to collaborate with a network of selected Partner Organizations to provide drug development services that our clients need, but that fall outside the scope of our internal expertise. We’re privileged to have established strategic alliances with three outstanding partners: Synergy Partners R&D Solutions, CruxMove Consulting and Garden State Pharmatech.
In keeping with our strong belief in the power of people and strong partnerships, we’ve also been working actively with various industry groups to help foster relationships, share knowledge and continuing to build a strong network of individuals dedicated to the mission of delivering new medications. During the past year, we’ve supported the following meetings:
So we’ve had a busy first year at Brizzey! Time flies when you’re having fun doing something you enjoy and we’re looking forward to an equally fulfilling second year of Brizzey!
Pizzie Case Study #1: Do Leadership Skills Honed in Pharmaceutical R&D Transfer to being Clan Leader in Clash of Clans?
Whether you are leading 400 highly skilled professionals or 50 school kid/granddads from a dozen different countries, the principles of leadership are universal: People want to know where they are going and why. They want the rules to be clear and enforced. They want to know how to progress. And, most of all, they want to be supported and feel like they are part of something special.
Want to know the whole story? Then read on...
In December of 2013 I “retired” from the leadership of the clinical supply function of a very large pharmaceutical company to start Brizzey LLC, a consulting company, with a couple of very talented partners.
All of a sudden I was no longer the leader of an organization of approximately 400 professionals!
I have been in the industry for 30 years and for 27 of them I have had a managerial role of some description. For most of those years I have also tried to be a leader. Not an easy thing. Sometimes (I think) I have done well and at other times (I know) I have not done so well. During this time though, I have had the good fortune to be led by, and to observe, some pretty wonderful leaders and I have developed my thoughts on what it takes to be a good leader.
But now, I lead no one. It’s just me, my computer and my two partners.
So, did I say that I have always been interested in games and military history? Well it should come as no surprise then, that in this age of iPad’s and smart phones, I am a big fan of the game “Clash of Clans” from SUPERCELL. If you have never played it, or if you have never heard of it, the concept is simple; you build a village, build defences, make an army and attack other players to gain resources (to build ever bigger and better defences and armies). The clever part is that you can join a clan with up to 49 other players and support each other by donating troops and sharing advice through a very basic messaging system. It is truly a blast! I have been playing for two years and have been a member of a clan with about ten members called TOON Army for most of that time.
Well at the end of 2013 three things happened. Not only did I leave big pharma, but SUPERCELL launched Clan Wars which allowed Clans to go head to head in wars for glory (and loot!) AND the Clan Leader of TOON Army left and put me in charge! The launch of Clan Wars spiked interest in the game and before we knew it we had 50 members in our clan ranging in age from 8 to 56 who lived in Europe, the USA, Asia and South America. Needless to say things did not go well and we lost three wars on the trot! The Clan members were not communicating, they were not aligned and they were not happy…and…it suddenly occurred to me…I was not leading!
I decided to try to apply everything that I had learned about leadership to my responsibility as Clan Leader. After all, I had the time!
I got to know the Clan (at least those who would chat with me). I tried to find out who was mature, shared my views in where the clan should be going and was interested in leading. I described a vision: “this clan is about supporting each other, helping the weaker players grow, so that the clan grows stronger and wins more wars”. I described a code of conduct: “no profanity and no abuse of any other player”. I promoted several of the older players to be “elders” with the express job of coaching the younger players. I described a “career path” with measurable criteria for how players could get to be elders and even co-leader. I reviewed clan member performance and praised them for their successes and their failures (with some free coaching added in on how to succeed next time). I “booted” several players who did not act in accordance with the vision or code of conduct. Most of all I was “present” as much as I could be and made sure that I delivered on anything I said I would do. I led by example by donating three times as many troops as I received. Did it work? We have won fourteen wars out of eighteen and eight on the trot! Clan members are texting each other through the game all the time and not just about Clash of Clans! A community has developed within the Clan! Just this weekend a seventeen year old clan member based in the US messaged that it “Was the best Clan he had been in”!
What did I learn from this experience? First, if your text messaging is limited to 125 characters your vision statement and code of conduct has to be succinct! But most importantly, whether you are leading 400 highly skilled professionals or 50 school kid/granddads from a dozen different countries, the principles of leadership are universal: People want to know where they are going and why. They want the rules to be clear and enforced. They want to know how to progress. And, most of all, they want to be supported and feel like they are part of something special.
I hope you enjoyed my “case study” and observations. If you have a few minutes, try Clash of Clans, you might enjoy it!
Rob Pizzie - June 2014
We, the three partners in Brizzey, came together largely due to a shared conviction that People, Partnership & Process are the essence of success in every part of a business and that when we keep all 3 elements at the forefront of our strategic approach, real magic can happen. People, Partnership, Process forms the foundation of our philosophy, our principles and our methodologies. We'll talk more about these elements of our philosophy in future posts, but we wanted to start with a brief overview of why we believe so firmly in each of these principles.
Obviously people are a fundamental part of any business. People are also inherently complex creatures, endowed with a complicated mixture of emotions and beliefs, which in turn drive behaviours, attitudes and approaches. Yet, it's surprisingly easy to overlook the impact of those complexities when we're focused on the goals, plans and activities our businesses demand.
The good news is that the emotional and behavioural path people take in times of major change is rather predictable, whether the change is perceived as positive or negative: denial, resistance, exploration, acceptance (the change curve). To acknowledge these emotions and behaviors, to accept them as normal and invest in supporting people through the change curve requires patience and courage and may appear to be time-consuming.
Yet investing in the people factor of change will, in fact, not only accelerate the change, but also ensure its sustainability and therefore return on investment, while preserving the energy and morale of our most important asset: our people.
Silos have taken a lot of stick over recent years, being blamed for inefficiency and dysfunctional behaviours; the call often being to break them down. While silos are important structures in an organisation - they allow specific skills and expertise to focus on what they're good at and they assign clear accountabilities to groups set up to deliver on them – if we build them with such dense walls that messages can't penetrate, then people don't share information across silos and we impede the communication and collaboration essential to meeting the broader goals of the business.
By forging strong cross-functional partnerships, we can ensure that leaders develop a more holistic approach, set realistic objectives and align on appropriate risk taking. By ensuring that cross-functional project teams collaborate from the project's inception, we are most likely to meet our customers' needs and expend our energy on innovation and creativity rather than on recovery and rework.
If we invest in looking beyond our silos, to understand the inter-dependencies between objectives and processes, we improve our chances of getting things right first time, in less time and with less frustration.
As our elder partner Rob is known to say, if each of us were to get up each day and cut a new path to the watering hole, when the watering hole didn't move overnight, we'd be using a lot of energy that we could be using in more productive pursuits. If only we'd agree on a single path to that watering hole…
We're all in the business of producing deliverables or providing services (the proverbial water hole) and to be as efficient and reliable as possible, we need to find the fastest, safest, most reliable path to that water hole, mark it with signs, pave it and make sure our teams all know about it, so that we can preserve their creative energy for the steps that genuinely do require some alternative navigation.
In the case of a major change, it's essential to define and clearly articulate the new process and understand just how it differs from the old process. But more than that, the process for process development can be a powerful change management tool itself, creating a pragmatic framework for potentially difficult discussions within and across silos, engaging the people who do the work to define the new way of working and providing a roadmap to help the unknown rapidly become the known.
If you have any comments on our post or would like to talk to us about how we might be able to help your organisation, we'd love to hear from you.