During a discussion with a Global Head of Training, he said: "We are fully convinced that this training program will solve serious problems affecting our field force.
But our Medical Reps will not be attending the training program because they will miss their KPI called "number of calls".
An HBR article asks an important question "Does Your Company's Incentives Reward Bad Behavior?"The article discusses a car manufacturer's conficting KPIs about cost and safety, having contributed to fatal car accidents. Once the cost-KPI prevails, KPIs around safety degenerate to becoming mere lip-service.
There are many parallels in pharma - companies talk about "patient-centricity". If your KPI is "sales", patientcen centricity will not be of any signifcance in practice.
Sometime strategists invent a novel approach to the market in an attempt to change for the better. But their attempts to change anything or becoming better is destroyed by KPIs existing in silos. Examples are many - a sales director was asked if he would do something to improve "patient-compliance". His answer was - "this will not work, as we lack data and we cannot pay bonus or incentivize such approaches."Traditional KPIs suppress novel approaches in pharma business.
There is ample scientifc evidence, that the attempt to deliver extrinsic motivation by paying bonus on KPIs regularly backfires. The idea of man as an intelligent human being running after a carrot, has been proven wrong time and again.
William Hewlett, the founder of HP, said, "You only can manage what you measure and what you measure gets done!"
KPIs drive the efforts of people toward the measured direction. You can easily test this yourself: Change the dis- play of your car's computer from indicating "average km/ hour" to "l hour/100km". It changes your driving habits!
When you talk about team-playing but measure individual performance, you initiate a huge problem. It is not only showing managerial inconsistency but people will get lost and decide for themselves. This will drive many different mind-sets. The organizational region being hit most powerfully by losing out on guidance and replacing it with their own ideas is the field force.
Never forget: the field-force is the largest part of any pharmaceutical organization with all doing the same job. It is also the part of a pharmaceutical company where almost all are working alone and individually by them- selves. You cannot check or even police what they do in the field.
Once metrics and KPIs are established professionally, reflecting vision, mission and company objectives, only by this exercise you may experience a powerful change and alignment of mind-set and subsequently aligned efforts of all involved, from assistants in the office to managers.
Developing KPIs is a vitally important and rewarding project, if you can make sure that all people pull the same rope at the same end into the same direction
Thanks for reading!