China and the Emerging Markets Challenge - Pharmaceutical Executive


China and the Emerging Markets Challenge

Pharmaceutical Executive

Action steps for a winning strategy

For pharmaceutical companies committed to winning in China, not to mention other emerging markets, there are five key steps they can take to begin the process of crafting the right strategy.

Map the critical sources of uncertainty and change. This should include examining factors that will drive change in your environment as well as the implications of those changes, both favorable and unfavorable. Leaders must ask themselves where they see gaps in their knowledge about potential changes and areas where they feel less prepared to understand the repercussions of those changes.

Understand your capability gaps. Leaders must assess their capabilities along the dimensions of adaptiveness and ability to shape, and then understand where they lack the necessary skills.

Create plans for closing those gaps. The blueprint for addressing these shortcomings should be detailed, including a timeline for delivering the change and clear roles for those responsible for leading the charge.

Build your shaping strategy. The plan for helping to shape your external environment should be clear and achievable. Leaders must understand what issues are critical for success in impacting the development of the market and which individuals will drive the strategy. And they should be clear on what tools or levers will be necessary to execute the strategy.

Build the right mindset and culture. It is critical to build an organization that is properly focused on the external environment and which is proactive in shaping it. As part of this, leaders must create the organizational environment which promotes external focus and experimentation by shaping the culture through incentives and by practical example.

Such steps will start companies on a path to developing the strategies and capabilities necessary to compete successfully in emerging markets. Those who fail to adapt may grow in the short term but will forfeit market share to rivals in the long term and potentially lose their option to lead in the most promising markets in the world.

Martin Reeves leads The Boston Consulting Group's Strategy Institute and is a Senior Partner and Managing Director in New York. He can be reached at
. Rachel Lee is a Partner in the firm's Shanghai office. She can be reached at


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