Over the last few months, while we’ve all been trying to come to terms with the chaos of COVID-19, I’ve managed to get my act together and finally launch my podcast – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
As part of an intense production process to give Molecule to Market a runway of episodes to get it off the ground, I’ve had the fortune of interviewing some of the finest leaders in the global drug development outsourcing space over the last few months. My guests have ranged from CEOs to people that have built and sold their businesses, to those currently running billion-dollar global companies. An incredible array of people who manage top talent and sometimes oversee thousands of employees across the world.
During my conversations with these inspirational pharma folks, I’ve been able to identify some interesting, common leadership insights and trends. So, I thought it would be helpful to share four key leadership tips that almost every interviewee I have spoken to has mentioned during their debut on the Molecule to Market podcast. Here goes…
Without fail, every single guest I’ve spoken with mentioned the importance of being curious. Many also talked about the value of being humble and simply admitting when you don’t know something. Many of us struggle in business situations when put on the spot with a subject we don’t know much about. All guests unanimously said this was absolutely fine and that they were simply unafraid of asking the ‘silly’ questions. Admitting they did not know something was cited as a pathway to triggering curiosity in order to learn something new. So, next time you are in a situation where you are struggling with the topic, be brave, put your hand up and say you don’t get it. Embrace your inner curiosity. Chances are, people will be more than happy to share their expertise.
Another common theme has been the importance of being open-minded. One of the questions I ask my guests is what advice they would give to their younger selves. Many answered in a very similar way and shared the fact that maybe they should have been more open-minded to opportunities instead of thinking they already knew all there was to know during that early phase of their career. Each guest also highlighted the necessity to be bold in relation to meeting new people, embracing new ideas and taking the chance of working in new places as a consequence of embracing opportunity. I bet you there are things you believed five years ago that you do not believe in today. So, keep an open mind. Embrace newness and opportunity. Chances are, you won’t regret it.
Surround yourself with smart people
All of the leaders mentioned that success came from surrounding themselves with smart people. I’ve seen that first hand in the growth of my own pharmaceutical marketing agency over the last few years. You can achieve a lot more as a team than you can as an individual, especially when you have driven, ambitious and skilled people around you. Linked closely to this, many talked about recognising your people as your key assets and deliberately hiring people that are much better than you. And again, that has been my strategy and it has worked pretty well at ramarketing. In addition, having smart folks around you challenges your thinking and nudges you to push on even more. And that’s never a bad thing. So whether you lead a team or work within a team, absorb the good stuff from those around you.
The habit of learning
Continuous learning and development are prevalent as a theme on the podcast time and time again. In fact, almost every senior leader I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last 20 years has some kind of continuous learning methodology. Some read in the morning. Some are podcast addicts. Some do online courses or use video tutorials. Many choose to use mentors. Whichever way you are best able to learn, harness this as a key component to achieving your career and life goals. And as many of you know, I have written excessively on this subject. Learning every day is a daily habit that leads to long-term, sustainable success. Next time you’re mindlessly scrolling through Facebook updates – switch to consuming something that will improve you.
So, there you have it. Four leadership themes from super successful people that really know what they’re talking about. In summary: keep learning, be open-minded, embrace your curiosity and surround yourself with smart people… and watch your career blossom.