Attitude is Everything

Thinking back at the hundreds of marketing professionals I have worked with over the last thirty years, it is interesting that folks can be put in different buckets like we do physicians, based on their behavior patterns.  There are the science nuts, the sales wannabes, the implementers, plodders and several other types.  It is interesting to me that those that seem to enjoy themselves more and get promoted faster are the ones that have a more positive attitude.  They seem to be having the most fun and for them the job just seems a little easier.

I came across a couple “top ten” lists this week that I think might be worth going over during these dog days of summer.  The first is this list of the habits of positive people and it is interesting to see how these things are relevant for those in the pharmaceutical industry.  What trends emerge when you look at the list?  It seems there is a focus on the future rather than the past.  Positive people see all the opportunities and think they are empowered to go for them.  They are not afraid of making mistakes as they know that is part of the job.  Positive people seem to be able to deal with their fears and not let them take over their lives.  They smile a lot!

One of the more interesting traits of positive people is that they are grateful and that leads to a second list about the habits of grateful people.  Note that here there seems to be a trend of concentrating on the things that have worked and letting go of the failures.  Grateful people recognize that both good and bad things happen in life but they tend to always be full of hope and emphasize the good rather than the bad.  They seem to be able to control the lens through which they view the world.

This is not meant to be a psychology 101 lesson but rather a quick check up.  As summer is coming to an end and kids are getting set for school, it is a good idea to see if we are ready for the new season as well.  Our industry is facing some incredible challenges. Generics are taking away the patients we built into our forecasts.  Regulators are continuing to tighten and toughen the marketing environment.  Launches are not working the way they did in the past and it just seems as though everyone is trying to run in quicksand.  On top of all this is the ever looming fear of reorganizations and downsizing due to the patent cliff the industry is facing.  It is during these times that introspection becomes even more important.

If I was to try to put together a quick list on attitude for pharmaceutical marketers it would start with having fun.  Recognize that, although the work is important, it is often not life and death stuff.  Make work a game.  Get things done.  Quit holding grudges and worrying about what other people think so much.  Connect with everyone both in your company and outside.  Trust others.  Focus on strategy, mission and vision.  Thank people all the time.  Complement others, both your peers and even those vendors who work for you.  Form informal support teams.  Be constantly growing.  Laugh at failure and treat it as a learning experience.  Don’t measure your self worth by weekly prescriptions!

The problem with attitude is that most of the time it is like the frog in the frying pan.  Everyone thinks they are positive and that they have a good attitude but when faced with challenge after challenge they tend to become more negative, often without even realizing it.  When these challenges are facing entire departments, organizations or even industries then this creep towards negativity happens to almost everyone.  Negativity becomes the new normal.  This is when those with a positive attitude, those who enjoy what they are doing, dramatically stand out from everyone else.  Our industry needs more of these type people.  Take some time to think about these “softer” aspects of marketing and see if some change would help.  Start having more fun at work.

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