A two part series – part 1 – the first three ways
If you are an Outsourcing Manager, or a Project manager, you’d be unusual if you have never griped on occasion about poor delivery from CROs. Unfortunately there’s something built in to the way deals are done that makes this more likely.
CROs have to compete hard to win projects. They will frequently take contracts at lower prices than they would like. Business development guys may see this as a challenge, the cut and thrust of deals. But CRO project team members may only see higher than practical workloads and intense pressure. Not a good atmosphere for getting things done quickly.
It’s not the purpose of this article to put this world to rights. Everyone has to deal with heavy workloads at some point. And there’s a particular mindset we like to see in times of stress – people willing to step up to and make extra effort. To help their teams and companies meet goals. To ‘go the extra mile’ some say. This is sometimes known as ‘engagement’. If you see it, great. But if you don’t, can you do anything to enhance it?
If you’re a sponsor manager, here are some tips to help. If you’re in a CRO, you might influence your sponsor to do some of these! This is a two-part article. In this one are the first three of six useful tips . Look out for Part 2 coming soon!
1. Tell them Why
People will be more engaged if they share your long term goals. But if you never really explain them properly, you've missed an opportunity. There is a model making waves on the internet at the moment and it’s called the ‘Golden Circle’. It reminds us that we often fail to explain the one thing that really motivates people – the ‘why’.
We can translate this into something very practical: Take some time to explain your disease research, your product development strategy, the drivers in the market, to the extended internal-CRO team. Lots of things that in principle they 'don't need to know'. If possible wheel in a senior scientist to provide some background. This will really be appreciated, and furthermore the deeper understanding may lead to less uninformed mistakes, down the line.
2. Get to know them
It’s well known that people who trust you will work harder for you. There’s a lot to building trust, but trusting relationships usually start the same way – with people getting to know each other better.
As part of your kick off, take some time for everyone to share some personal information. There are a whole load of ways to do this. I have facilitated this many times and it always helps.
3. Share risk assessments
Managers often shrink from asking people what things might go wrong. There are several reasons for this. It’s ‘already done’ – a risk assessment has been done at top level; it’s ‘asking for trouble’ – people will waste time identifying silly suggestions; it generates ‘wish lists’ – people will just keep on about insufficient resource for contingency plans.
Managers ignore this at their peril. Team members have a great grasp of what might go wrong as they are at the front line.
Share your own assessments with them. Do more with the extended team. Take time to listen, map them. You may well start to realise something you’d omitted. And people will be more motivated.