Executive consultants should also have healthcare and/or pharma experience in the area to be evaluated, as well as professional
training or experience as a facilitator, particularly for project-based work. For all consultants, professional and interpersonal,
organizational, and communication skills, as well as a results-oriented approach, are important.
On the JobOnce a company has identified the right consultant, how should it formalize the relationship? First, it should discuss and
agree on expectations, roles, working arrangements, deliverables, compensation, and other relevant issues. Compensation depends
primarily on whether the person will do project- or company-based work. In the project-based model, consultants are usually
paid a flat fee, divided into payments made during and after completion of the project. In company-based work, they are usually
paid at a daily or monthly rate. A common practice is to set up a monthly retainer enabling the pharma company to access the
consultant for a given number of days or hours per month. A signed letter of agreement between both parties will serve as
a binding contract.
Executive consulting is an innovative alternative that can significantly reduce consulting costs while retaining intellectual
capital in house. Pharma companies should consider it for new, complex, cross-functional, or executive agenda-level issues.
It should not be used for projects that require large staffs or standardized, established approaches. However, given the expanding
number of executive agenda issues and greater emphasis on managing costs, it is likely that pharma companies will increasingly
use executive consulting to help their companies manage challenges, knowledge, time, and costs. z