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Pharma Team Gets to the Root Cause of Inefficiency

Productivity and engagement now top the agenda. But, in addressing these issues one Leadership Team had a startling realization: There is ‘the work’ and then there is the ‘work about the work’.

The team discovered that ‘Work about the work’ accounted for more than 50% of its working week. That includes internal meetings, procedures, reporting and so on. It was a major source of inefficiency that was previously hidden.

What is the problem/opportunity?

The data (generated by Pitstop AnalyticsTM) revealed a major drain on productivity, as well as talent and resources.

The busy leadership team was spending one third of its time (approx. 1.5 days per executive per week) on internal collaboration that adds little or no value.

Thus, while the team has 10 members, its ‘functional size’ – that is the number that are doing effective work – is just 7 people.

It is not that there are 3 disengaged or ineffective team members, but that across the team so much time was being spent on non-value adding work (primarily generated from internal sources).

What are the implications?

Caught up in the busyness of the day to day, there is little time for these leaders to attend to key strategic priorities and initiatives or to stand back and plan or think strategically.

Despite the volume of collaboration, there are still many silos.  Indeed, the general ineffectiveness of internal collaboration causes people to want to collaborate less.

To find time for the work that matters, team members are working long days without taking breaks, as well as over weekends and holidays. This is a risk to the sustainability of performance, with levels of motivation and wellbeing suffering as a result.

What is the goal?

This leadership team set a goal to improve the effectiveness of internal collaboration (from 47% to 60%) and thereby win back up to 2 hours per week per executive. 

What is the solution?

To realize the goal set, the set of actions included:

  • Clarifying priorities and results for the team and its members
  • Focusing on ‘the right work’ – delegating, automating, scrapping or delaying low-value work
  • Using the 7Rs framework to improve the effectiveness of all internal collaboration (tracking progress over time)
  • Setting aside blocks of uninterrupted time for leaders to plan and organize their most important work
  • Individual members of the leadership team committed to improving levels of collaboration within their own teams – including fewer but better organized / effective team meetings.

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