I’ve been deeply involved in the Life Sciences Commercial Learning and Development space for over 23 years. And I think we’ve got a tremendous opportunity just waiting at our doorstep.
How many times have you heard the desire expressed that Sales Training/Commercial L&D should have a seat at the (strategic) table? That our organization should be more than just a tactical “get-it-done” department?
That should be our future. And it can happen right now, in the present.
We need, in the immortal words of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, to make it so. We don’t wait for the table invitation. We can start, now, adding fresh layers of value and growing our impact on the entire organization with clarity.
How? By effectively addressing a small (but vital) set of unmet needs in the organization.
Commercial training departments tend to focus most of their attention on very specific deliverables, such as curriculum design/delivery, workshops, meetings, launches, and a whole host of other tactical demands. And there are lots of vendors and “best practices” around those needs.
But every single life sciences organization I’ve been involved in – in fact, every kind of business of any size – has an embedded set of very human “issues” that will either spur, or prevent, effectiveness and growth. Much of this boils down to a need for clarity – clear purpose, clear communications, aligned collaboration by getting stakeholders all on the same page.
Not bigger budget. Not more headcount. Not more turf. Learning and Development can’t wave those magic wands. But we can – strategically – make corporate effectiveness much, much better at multiple levels with clarity.
You’ve heard it as many times as I have:
- We need to practice better communication
- We are suffering from weak collaboration skills (in the department and across functions)
- Our people are not clear on their “why” and are losing engagement
- We’re struggling to reach alignment with our partner departments
- Our department doesn’t have a clear value proposition
Learning and Development can spearhead the transformation of the organization by equipping people to work with greater purpose and clarity. This begins in the L&D department, and then spreads to adjacent silos (Marketing, Sales, Operations) as communication and collaboration skills grow.
By embedding clarity perspectives and practices, we have the privilege of creating effective leaders. Not just employees putting out tactical fires.
This is a crucial area of internal development because, by design, most Life Sciences L&D positions are rotational – we have to equip people coming in from the field with the skills to operate effectively in the larger organization. What an opportunity to have a growing impact on the company at large, both in the field and in headquarters!
One department I know has clearly articulated its brand value and, for several years, has expanded its influence in the broader organization by communicating its focus and key contributions (which also helps in recruiting new trainers to the department).
Another company I work with is offering workshops on effective communication and collaboration, not only to trainers, but to all stakeholders in the organization. Because these skills are a huge factor in every level of success in the corporation, from the C-Suite to the field.
We can’t always control the budget. We can’t always get headcount. But can we do more, and work more effectively, with the people we have? Absolutely.
That’s the transformative work I want to be part of, as our industry’s only clarity consultant. Contact me (AskSteve@impactiviti.com) if that’s the direction you want to take as well.