What Does It Take to be a Global Leader in Training - Pharmaceutical Executive

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What Does It Take to be a Global Leader in Training


Pharmaceutical Executive


We do all of that on our Wyeth TRAINet technology platform: deliver the training, capture the experiences, certify with tests or quizzes. We track those who may not comply, and we follow up and make sure they do the things we ask them to do.

It's all important. But nothing is more important than what the district managers do with the reps after they leave the classroom. We talk about "leaders leading learning." We want our leaders to be as well equipped with product knowledge and selling skills as our sales representatives. And then we teach our district managers coaching skills.

We have a nice relationship with our management team in that process. We have field activity reports that district managers use when they are working with reps; they are all competency-based so we can identify the competency that a rep may need additional help on so we can address the issue head-on.

Give me an example of commonly targeted competencies. One of the biggest areas is selling skills—engaging the physician, asking the right questions, getting the physician to want to have the discussion, rather than just listening.

You have to understand your environment. You have to make sure you are doing the right thing. There are privacy laws and those kinds of things you have to be careful of. District managers zero in on five or six key areas when they are working with their reps and develop mini-training courses around them. They constantly practice with them to make sure those things are handled correctly.

What about management training?

For the most part, we treat managers the same way. When you become a manager in our organization, we send you a distance-learning kit called "LeadSTART." It is pretty much the same principle as FieldSTART for the sales reps—a training kit of pre-work for the new district manager to go through in order to come to the first training class. Again, we engage the supervisor from day one.

We have a number of different training classes for our district managers—hiring skills, interviewing skills, civil treatment programs, and so forth. We also cover performance management, proper discipline techniques, motivational techniques, how to run district meetings, coaching. We spend a lot of time on how to properly coach your representatives.

Then, over a five-, six-, or seven-year period, we move them through a variety of courses, ranging from Exceptional Management Practices (EMP) to three different leadership courses to a number of courses on retaining talent and managing the careers of their representatives. All of that is done with a supervisor working with the district manager the same way the district manager works with the reps.

We have 360-degree feedback instruments so district managers can understand how they have been coaching their representatives. Reps fill out forms and say, "Here is how my boss coaches me." We compile that into an anonymous report so the district managers can understand what they are doing well and what they need help on.

The district manager is our first line sales manager. But as people move up from there to second-line to third-line field management, they both participate in the training we do for the people they supervise and they go through their own coursework as well. The higher up you go, the more leadership training there is.

Tell me about leadership training. Our basic leadership course is "Leadership I"—a two and a half day course that includes both training and a review of your proficiency. We use a 360-degree instrument, in which district managers are evaluated on a number of different leadership competencies. Based on that, we come up with an individual training program for each district manager. We train Area Business Directors, as well, as they move up in the ranks.

Managers come back for "Leadership II," where we will do some didactic training, as well as a second 360-degree feedback instrument that talks about strengths and improvement areas.


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