PHARMACY

Connecting to the emotional core of your ‘why’

BY DSN STAFF

George Coleman, VP health care at CVS

Making emotional connections with one’s team — connecting with the head and leading with the heart — is a key element in nurturing future leaders.

(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)

That was the perspective shared by George Coleman, VP health care at CVS, in addressing attendees of Drug Store News Future Leaders Summit in May.

“If you don’t understand some-one’s personal story — where they have been and who has influenced them — how can you lead them?” noted event co-host and moderator Dan Mack, managing director at Mack Elevation Forum, in his introduction of Coleman. “Leaders must also be free enough to share their own story. That’s how trusting teams are built.”

But before you can share your story you have to own your story.

For Coleman, it took a two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in the small West African nation of Guinea Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, to help him draw his own conclusion.

“People asked me why I wanted to go into the Peace Corps, and I told them it was about challenging myself, to see what I was made of,” Coleman explained. “Could I go out on my own into a strange place, learn the local language and make my own way? ‘Doing good’ was also part of it, but it was a side benefit.”

Once in Guinea Bissau, Coleman was assigned to serve as an agricultural extensionist in a small village where he was the only Westerner within a 50-mile radius. His job was to take knowledge gleaned from schools of agronomy and the like and, as he described it, “transfer it to the village — for example, teaching better planting techniques.”

The mission was simple enough to help the village of largely subsistence farmers grow more rice and shorten — or even eliminate — the so-called “hungry season,” the inevitable period they encountered more or less every year, between planting seasons in the dry months, when their food stores would run out. Yet, after one year in the country, Coleman felt as though he still wasn’t quite connecting with the villagers.

Admittedly bothered by it, Coleman tried hard to understand why that disconnect existed. Certainly, his young age was one factor; respect was something that was really reserved for village elders.

It was during a rather ordinary greeting between two of the villagers that it began to make some sense to him. During such a typical encounter, it was customary for the villagers to ask each other a series of questions — how are you, how is your family, how are your crops, how are your cows. “It was clear that they were doing more than just checking up on each other,” he explained. “They were trying to create a context for the people in their lives by understanding their connections to their world. And me? I just dropped in to their lives without any context. ‘Why would you leave your family? Why would you leave America? America is a land of milk and honey — why would you come here to this poor village of ours?’”

According to Coleman, his typically “Western” reasoning, ideas like “wanting to help out” and trying “to find oneself,” just didn’t resonate in their culture. “They understood that I wanted to help them grow more rice; they understood that I wanted to shorten the hungry season, but they didn’t understand why,” he said.

That began to change shortly after a visit to Guinea Bissau from his parents. During their stay, Coleman’s mother was visited by one of the female elders of the village, and he began to notice something odd — the two women “were connecting on a fundamentally emotional level” without the need of translation, he explained, recalling the conversation between the two. “‘You traveled all this way,’” the older woman told Coleman’s mother. “‘You brought up this young person; here he is in our village. We’ve been taking care of him.’ It was really beautiful.”

It was around then that Coleman first began to understand what it means to lead with one’s heart. “It was about connecting to the emotional core of why you do these things,” he explained.

“You can be rational all day, and deal with everyday things, like looking at numbers,” Coleman concluded. “But if you don’t find your emotional core and connect with your team, it’s going to be an upward slog.”

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PHARMACY

Inside the transformational mindset

BY DSN STAFF

That health care is undergoing a period of transformation is by now well-known fact among industry professionals. It is especially well known by Startup Health, whose director of strategic partnerships Katya Hancock shared with attendees of the Drug Store News/Mack Elevation Future Leaders Summit the mindset innovative companies seeking to transform health care all share in common.

(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)

Startup Health, launched five years ago, partners with health technology startups, offering coaching, community, promotion and access to a global network of investors and customers. Now is a uniquely fruitful time for organizations looking to innovate in the healthcare space, Hancock explained.

To better illustrate the moment in which health care finds itself, Hancock discussed economist Joseph Schumpeter’s idea of creative destruction, which outlines the cycle of innovation and growth of business. A new industry emerges and witnesses some type of innovation, which sparks growth. Once growth plateaus, the business moves from “status” to “depleted industry.” This last state is where Hancock says health care finds itself right now.

“That moment of creative destruction where new industries are born — that’s where what we call ‘healthcare transformers’ are coming into health care,” Hancock said. “They’re coming in with new companies [and] new business models and disrupting the entire industry. And it’s a moment of opportunity for folks in the incumbent industry to partner with those organizations.”

Hancock outlined 10 traits that transformation-minded companies have in common:

  1. Transformation is a CEO priority: Transformation begins at the top, and the head of the company needs to be committed to the task of transformation.
  2. Long-term commitment: Companies with transformational mindsets must be committed for the long haul.
  3. Self-awareness: Leaders at transformational companies are coachable and comfortable listening rather than talking.
  4. Open collaboration: “If you have the stagnation mindset, you think you’re going to build everything internally,” Hancock said. “The transformational mindset realizes it’s a big world out there, and others might have a better idea than [you].”
  5. Eliminate friction: Companies that work to constantly remove internal barriers to progress are better equipped to figure out new solutions — sometimes that means failing fast.
  6. Defining team and process: Rather than simply appointing a person to head up innovation, it must be incorporated into the larger business plan.
  7. Sense of urgency: “Sales cycles can be 12 to 18 months, but innovation is happening faster than that,” Hancock said.
  8. Lead versus follow: Transformational companies are not content to wait for someone else to develop a solution.
  9. Active with startups: Is your company simply dabbling in transformation or has it established relationships with startups trying to transform the industry?
  10. “Batteries included:” People leading transformation-minded companies provide energy to their team, rather than draining it. “Don’t just say no, tell them why not. Give them feedback,” she said.

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Leadership through the eyes of the millennial

BY DSN STAFF

The Emerson Group’s Matt Poli spoke with a panel of millennials, rising stars in their respective fields, to explore what makes millennials tick.

Much has been written about millennials. But what’s really on their minds? How can marketers and retailers appeal to their preferences? To help get a better look, The Emerson Group’s VP marketing, Matt Poli, gathered a panel of rising young stars in their respective fields to explore what makes millennials tick.

(Click here to view the complete Future Leaders Summit report.)

“There are many perceptions,” Poli said. “Our objective is to look through the lens of millennials.”

The panel — which included Bethany Edwards, the co-founder and CEO of LIA Diagnostics; Jason Loomis, director of paid media at VaynerMedia; Stephanie Ramirez, senior manager of social media for FLAMA, a division of Univision that targets Hispanic millennials; and Anne Cashman, a brand manager at Johnson & Johnson/McNeil Consumer Healthcare — explored how millennials are setting themselves apart from previous generations, and what motivates them.

“We haven’t seen as dynamic an environment as we see today,” Poli said, noting that there are no longer characteristics specific to a drug store or a discount store. Prescriptions can be procured at a discount store and a sandwich at a drug store. “And you can use your phone to dial up whatever you want from Amazon and have it waiting before you get home. We are competing for the consumer’s attention,” he said.

That’s why understanding the consumer is more important than ever. Looking across multiple generations and ethnic groups, it is important to take note of the briskly growing Hispanic population, which is pegged to hit 58 million in the next five to 10 years.

But millennials have become the largest demographic in the United States, some 77 million strong. These new shoppers are directing how products go to market today. “Thirty-second TV spots on primetime are no longer the norm,” Poli said. “You have to capture their attention.”

Working for a larger company, J&J’s Cashman said her firm must strike the proper balance to manage its multi-generational workforce. “The opportunity came up to better connect the generations, and we piloted a program of mentors and mentees,” she said. The goal was to uncover better ways to communicate across the organization. “What I got out of it was that my organization is listening, and we rolled out a program to reach all levels so everyone’s voice can be heard.”

Speaking for the media side, Loomis pulled back the curtain on reasons why VaynerMedia is one of the fastest-growing marketing firms in the business. CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, Loomis explained, considers himself the head human resources employee. “He hires people on talent and culture, and if you have both, he is going to find a role where you will over-index,” Loomis said. Investment in talent comes right from the top, and employees are treated as partners who share the vision. “He meets with every new hire that comes through the door to make sure they are connected and invested,” Loomis said.

A strong example of the “cause-driven” purpose that fuels many millennial professionals, Edward’s company, LIA Diagnostics, is working to bring an eco-friendly, flushable pregnancy test to market. “This is something my team and I are creating because it must exist in this world,” she said.

Zeroing in on Hispanic millennials, Ramirez talked about what Univision is doing to reach a younger audience. “We know the younger audience isn’t speaking Spanish,” she said. While they may at home, at school and in other settings, they don’t in school or in social life, and that differs from the Univision model.

“We are a startup at Univision — a small team within a big organization. We are creating content for millennials by millennials. We are [like] a rebellious child. We don’t listen to the rules,” she said. Univision has allowed the FLAMA team to forge its own path and, based on the results, the strategy appears to be working.

The importance of taking a chance was once again underscored when J&J’s Cashman talked about a risky move of her own, when she jumped from the company’s steady skin care business to the McNeil Consumer Healthcare divison, at a time when the company was facing some serious challenges when several of its leading brands, including Tylenol and others, were forced to temporarily exit the market. Among the key reasons she decided to take the dive was the respect she had for those who were working to help McNeil rebuild. “I felt I had a greater purpose and the challenge to be part of a bigger cause,” she said. “It helped me become who I want to be as a leader.

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