Since I no longer work at a big pharmaceutical company I am able to objectively look at cafepharma.com to see what is on the minds of the representatives that everyone thinks are the backbone of the industry. The site is obviously slanted to and for those who want to complain about what is going on with their bosses and companies. Competitors and outsiders can definitely get a good feel for which products the salesforce likes and where the issues are even though the issues are overinflated on the site.
Seth Godin had another interesting blog on Tuesday where he talks about teachers complaining about their students in the teacher’s lounge. The real concern is that the teachers only vent and don’t actually put forward legitimate ideas for improving things. What a wasted opportunity. Wouldn’t the teacher’s lounge be the ideal place to brainstorm and kick around ideas to improve the system and perhaps even try to make the school lives of their students richer? As always, Seth challenges us to do better.
Perhaps we could view cafepharma the same way as the teacher’s lounge. Right now it is a forum for complainers but wouldn’t it be interesting if it became a brainstorming site to help find ways to make the industry stronger? It could become a place where those with the closest contact to our customers really illuminate what is changing in the healthcare environment. It could be a place where ideas are incubated and fresh thinking is shared by the thousands of professionals who work so hard to execute marketing plans. The overall image of the profession could be elevated rather than laughed at by outsiders. Maybe an alternate site is needed that concentrates on the positive and cafepharma could just remain as the place for complainers.
The one thing that is for sure is there is nothing more important or more powerful than attitude. When a sales team is “fired up” and driven to work towards a shared dream nothing can stop them. When morale is down and rumbling is negative nothing can be done to help the group succeed. Winners tend to avoid these negative sites, just like Seth’s friend avoided the teacher’s lounge. This results in a site that gets more and more negative. Yes, it becomes a site for whiners rather than winners. Winners look for places and others to help fuel their enthusiasm and further build their confidence. They concentrate on the positives and buy in to the vision. They recognize how important they are to the company and just how pivotal the role they play is to the overall success.
The message in all of this is not to judge the teachers or the representatives but to look at our own lives and sources of motivation. Do we get together with others to grumble or to pump each other up? Do we get more energy from brainstorming or complaining? Do we feel excited when we are all winning or do we just feel better when we are better off than somebody else? Are we working to move things forward even through difficult times or are we buying into hopelessness? This is an active rather than a passive process.
Attitude is huge and perhaps the biggest predictor of success or failure. It is so easily seen by outsiders. It is infectious. Years after working with someone you will remember their attitude even if you forget what they did or didn’t accomplish. Nobody wants to be remembered as a whiner, but few actually work to block negativity out of their daily lives. Perhaps this is a challenge for our industry that needs to jump-start itself once again. Let’s become winners again rather than merely whiners.