After having written just under 200 blogs I am getting a pretty good idea of which ones will be liked, which will just challenge and which will generate the most feedback. I obviously love to push the edge on the changes coming in healthcare and how our industry needs to adjust if we are to continue to prosper in the years to come. I also love pointing out specific areas where our sales and marketing teams could get better. By far the blogs that get the most reaction and generate the most feedback have to do with personal development. Development of people is critical.
For the last year or so I have been getting a monthly newsletter put out by Pat Iannuzzi. Pat worked with me at Warner Lambert for a number of years and was a critical part of the major launches we had during the late 1990’s. He has since founded his own company based on his expert skills around training and developing people. Take a look at his February newsletter or perhaps it should be viewed as a tutorial. Every month I am impressed with the piece and I usually end up reading it two or three times. Take a look and see if you don’t agree. If you like it, sign up as it is free and only comes once a month so it is not as invasive as my blogs!
I think the bigger issue that the newsletter raises for me each month is how much or how little time and attention we put into our own development or the development of the people who work for us. We spend hours and hours developing materials that could help our brands grow, but spend nowhere near that time on the development of people. Sure we do the once a year development discussion and may even have mid-year discussions, but do we give it the same energy as we do the rest of our work. When we propose spending money on a seminar or take time to attend a meeting that will help improve our skills it is somehow viewed as time away from the job. Somehow it is viewed as not really helping the corporation.
This thinking really needs to change. Companies are made up of both products and people and quite frankly I think there may be more leverage possibilities around the people. The products are what the products are, even though we work like crazy branding and communicating their benefits, the features of the products really don’t get any better. People on the other hand can, through proper training and development, become incredibly more valuable to the enterprise. Think about it. Would you rather spend $100,000 designing a new sales piece or the same amount of money making your reps more skilled at using the older piece. Since the piece seldom sees the customer anyway, I would put my money on the development of my people any day. By the way, the same can be said for developing marketing talent or talent in any other part of the company.
This is a huge issue as healthcare is changing dramatically in our country. If we are to gain competitive advantage during these times of change it must come from the people in the company. It clearly begins with you. If you are not prepared and ready to compete in the new environment then consider yourself vulnerable. How much time have you spent on the ACA, ACO’s, HIE’s and changes in reimbursement schemes driven by CMS. How much time have you spent making sure key players in your organization have done the same. This is much more than just knowing what is happening. It involves going so deep that you know how to control the change and develop business opportunities based on the change. Personal development is “Job #1″, as Ford would say. It is not just the right thing to do but it is also good for the company. In many ways this will determine how sustainable the company or even your career will be in the near future.