Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bayer's change management

I have to say, one of the most influential phrases ever uttered to me was "it's all about the process." From a grad-school instructor who was often talking about change management, organizational development and business management. At the time I thought he was full of it, but in the past few years since I heard it, I've realized he's absolutely correct and right-on. Thanks, Richard.

There was an interesting article it the Financial Times about Bayer's CEO and their past years of change management. I have a strange interest in pharma after working on a group project that featured Pfizer, Roche, Schering, and others. (One of my teammates worked for Roche at the time.)

Here are some of the segments I found most interesting:

"Communicating the board's thinking and winning over the workforce was a longer process, in spite of his reputation as a down-to-earth character." {Key here is that clear, consistent, and meaningful communication is the difference between something being successfully understood and being just more words in the corporate sphere.}

"A new, compact, four-floor organizational 'nerve center' has meant most people who are needed for big decisions are within shouting distance." {I liked this name instead of war room since I think the military culture in the US is too entrenched (see? see?) in US business and business thinking.}

"'I think we were driving at the limit over the past few years. A lot of things had to be shouldered by the same people,' says Mr Wenning. 'But we never gave up anything we wanted to do.'" {I thought this was a nice point about how if you are in a significant role within a company and you care about what happens you are in the position to deal with more than most and if you are smart about it and the conditions are right, it can work out for the best. You just may be more worn than others. It's the passion, hopefully, that gets you through.}

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