|Issue: 1(18), July 13, 2009
Building your young organization up rather than out
Raise money, make some progress, meet milestones,
advance your product and invariably the company grows. That is a
good thing, but growth can do some damage if the company doesn't grow
in the right way.
We often hear the word "expansion" to describe company
growth, which implies a growing out. Growing out puts the burden of
holding everything together on management and we all know management
isn't perfect. And that isn't all. Interaction of key players is lost
as soon as someone is no longer down the hall.
Pharma is struggling with how to reorganize R&D. For
most of the recent past, pharmacuetical R&D growth has been
didn't work well. Now, projects are being pulled in, concentrated
and held together based on objectives in an effort to gain efficiency
and a greater effectiveness.
Although small companies may not think they have similar
problems, growing out can still occur. In can happen in the placement
of offices as your space expands, for example. You can unwittingly
foster reduced interaction by cordoning off sections for these
personnel and those personnel. I once visited some beautiful biotech
offices where the scientists' cubicles were cordoned off from the rest
of the company behind heavy doors. Even the decor was different. The
labs were on a different floor entirely so the scientists could come
and go without ever having to enter the main area. There was no
reason for them to say hello to the receptionist, walk down a hall past
their CSO's office, the alliance management group, or the regulatory
affairs group. Process work was being done in another facility
entirely. Management would now have to work overtime to maintain a
common sense of purpose and a unified effort. The company had expanded
out even before they had produced their first successful product. They
might make it work, but it would now be harder.
Be like pharma on a mini-scale. Keep the whole project
in mind when you decide how to situate your personnel. Don't create
reasons for them not to interact directly if you can avoid it.
TIP: Growing up
requires building up through mutual awareness and the
continual interaction of all the critical players. The more you can
preserve that interaction the better. Get
the PDF of this issue»
Back to top^
a few words can be gold in these tight times
No doubt about it, times are tight,
tough and tenuous for many biotech companies. Budgets have been
squeezed with little left for a pizza party, summer barbecue and the
like – things you may have relied on in the past to foster camaraderie,
company unity and boost morale. You're holed up in your office trying
to figure out how to do much more on less.
Have no fear. The best thing you can do is
actually the cheapest. Offer the team more face time. Get out from
behind your desk, open the office door, go out into the hall, walk down
it and start interacting on your way to get a coffee. Get to know
people, and let them get to know you more. A simple "How's it going
Jane?" will go a long way to make Jane's day. Don't know everyone's
name? Ask your HR team to put together a composite to help you learn,
but don't let that stop you. A friendly nod and smile can go a long way.
The personal touch is one of the things
that goes out the window with growth or
challenging times. Counter the trend with a few kind words, a smile and
a nod of recognition. Your interaction will pay you back a thousand
over. The more people feel like they know you and you know them, the
more they will be willing to go the mile for you and the company. It
will also do you a world of good because they're likely to smile back!
TIP: Tight times?
Increase your face time. The personal touch of a few kind words, a
a nod of recognition will pay you and your company back a thousand
the PDF of this issue»
Back to top^