“Change is definitely needed in our industry,” Steve Greer, External Engagement Leader at Procter & Gamble and leadership coach, announced at the start of the June 23 Govzilla webinar, “Champion of Change – 3Cs to Success.” 

His presentation outlined how pharma leaders can embrace change, particularly as the novel Coronavirus pandemic has required the industry to be increasingly flexible. The primary focus of his talk was his 3C model for becoming a Champion of Change—the three Cs being Courage, Coaching, and Clarity.

Greer cited the state of pharmaceutical quality as a reason to embrace change. 

“I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to look over the recently issued FDA report on the state of pharmaceutical quality, but the results aren’t exactly what we would hope for,” he said. “In fact, when you look at the warning letters that have been issued over the past five years, you see over the past two years, the number of warning letters is basically five times what they were just five years ago.”

[Note: To access the webinar, click here.]

Further, when it comes to drug shortages, “when a product goes on to shortage, that means patients are not served, and that could be huge in terms of their health.”

Naturally, quality metrics will play a key role in preventing drug shortages and shoring up pharmaceutical quality. But this requires increasing quality maturity within the industry. 

“If we’re going to increase our quality maturity, it is going to require change,” Greer stressed. “It is going to require culture change. I don’t know about you, but when you’re trying to change a culture, it is huge and it is not simple. It requires a champion of change.” 

Greer then detailed his 3C model for becoming a “champion of change.” It is something he developed as an executive leadership coach.

To Be Courageous, Unlearn Fear

The first of the three Cs is “Courage.”

“If we are going to be a champion of change, we have to unlearn our fears and those limiting beliefs that hold us back,” he said. 

By unlearning, Greer means that sometimes our past experiences result in fear. Years ago, Greer talked about his dream to one day coach executives and other leaders to improve their leadership skills to a senior leader at his company. This senior leader expressed doubt that Greer could achieve this goal as he was not an executive. In order to achieve his dream, he had to unlearn from his experience with this senior leader. “Even as I share that story, it brings up pain,” he said. “I’m sure you have had similar conversations where your desires, your aspirations, your hopes maybe feel squashed or rained upon. And it takes unlearning those beliefs about ourselves, about our organization, about what’s possible, to really lead and become the change leader that we need to be.”

To embrace courage, Greer suggests slowly exposing yourself to things that you fear in order to build tolerance to whatever is holding you back. 

He also recommends that leaders adopt the habit of “pruning.” Just like how a skilled gardener removes blooms from a rose bush in order to grow a beautiful plant, there are times when leaders have to stop using those resources that may be good but not the best at achieving meaningful change. These could be strategies, brands, even staff, who are not good fits for a particular organization. 

 “We need to take courage to prune and to make room for those things that are truly going to bring the kind of change we’re trying to create in our organization,” Greer said.

A Great Coach=A Great Team

The second C refers to “Coaching.” A critical component of coaching is cultivating a “learning growth mindset.”

A learning growth mindset differs from a “fixed mindset” (Figure 1).

He also recommends that leaders adopt the habit of “pruning”

“It’s very easy to view the world around us or ourselves in a more limiting way. And that creates a fixed mindset,” he explained. “When we’re thinking from a fixed mindset, we’re trying to prove ourselves. When we shift to a growth mindset, we’re trying to improve ourselves.”

Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset

Figure 1 Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset

One way to move from a fixed mindset to a learning growth mindset is to use the word “yet,” as in “I’m not a great keynote speaker yet.” This becomes a much more hopeful view than “I’m not a great keynote speaker,” which is more limiting. 

Greer also discussed a tool he uses in coaching called the “RightPath tool.”

“One of the aspects of this tool is that it helps us think about the fact that we tend to respond differently to change based on how we’re hard-wired,” he said. “Depending on where you’re wired, if you’re more of a dominant person or more of a compliant person, then you’re more likely to view change in a different way.”

Greer used himself again as an example, stating he is someone who is wired for change and prefers to actively be a part of change.

 “A coach approach to leadership really reflects on how are we personally wired, eliminating as much as we can, blind spots in how we come across, reflecting on how others may view change differently from us,” he said. 

This may mean working with some folks on the team who need more buy-in in order to warm up to change. 

 “Thinking through how we’re wired, as well as how our team is wired, will give us some real keys to rolling out change as a champion,” Greer emphasized.

One way to move from a fixed mindset to a learning growth mindset is to use the word “yet”

Life on a 3×5 Card

The third C in the 3C model is “Clarity.” 

Greer referenced Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business. Here, Lencioni outlines a four-quadrant model of how winning organizations succeed: a highly effective leadership team, clarity, creating clarity, reinforcing clarity, and reinforcing clarity again. 

“Clarity is so critical when we are trying to drive change,” he said.

He then pointed to the NeuroLeadership Institute, which found that creating the clarity needed for effective change requires priorities, habits, and systems, or PHS. 

“Now, most of us get the first one pretty well,” Greer said “When we roll out change, we make it a priority. We might put up posters. We may have town halls and talk about it. Our CEO broadcasts how quality is our new competitive advantage, and we’ve got it resonating throughout the organization.”

But just as important are habits and systems. To build good habits, he referred to an approach a friend of his developed called “Life on a 3×5” (Figure 2).

List of Goals on an Index Card

Figure 2 “Life on a 3×5” Example

Here, you take a 3×5 card and write out five things: your purpose, three core values you wish to focus on, three goals for the year, three key activities you can do each day to accomplish these goals, and three things you are thankful for. 

“I would encourage you, if nothing else, to try this out, life on a 3X5. It will help you drive greater clarity in your own life. And then, in turn, help you bring clarity to your organization,” Greer said. “We have to identify and implement habits that support the change we’re trying to make, and then put systems in place to support those habits.” 

Greer acknowledged that embracing change is challenging, and even scary, yet it is a necessity in today’s world. 

“We’re going where we’ve never gone before, into an area of trying to change our cultures and our organizations at a pace that we’ve never perhaps tried before. And that can be scary,” he said. “In fact, failure lurks at every turn. But my hope is that through sharing the 3C model, you can come away with some ideas that will help you not only be successful but be a champion.” 

[Note: To access the webinar, click here.]

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