Can Pharma Marketers Glean Insight From 10 Successful Entrepreneurs?

In a recent article by Inc., a group of visionaries share their reflections on the rise to prominence of entrepreneurship, and how their lives and perspectives have changed over the course of the past 30 years. What insights surrounding innovation and leadership can Pharma Marketers glean today?

1.  Donny Deutsch: There are No Geniuses 

This frees you up to think “I can do that”  ( …We desperately need this kind of thinking in business right now…)

2.  Scott Cook: Why Culture Matters 

“People who suggest the end of the workplace totally misunderstand the social nature of work.  There is a social fabric to work.”  His greatest entrepreneurial legacy has been fostering an environment of open-mindedness and a culture where great ideas are nurtured  (Sound familiar in Pharma’s highly political environment? I don’t think so…)

3.  Roxanne Quimby (co-founder of Burt’s Bees):  The Other Side of Failure

“…I really believe that success is just getting up one more time than you fall.”  (How many companies enable failure?)

4.  Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert cartoon): On the limits of Technology

Commenting on the initial impact of technology in the early ‘90’s, Adams said in 1994, “The biggest impact of technology has been to allow us to do more unproductive things at a far more impressive rate.” (…technology is an enabler, but often not a strategy  unto itself…)

5.  Michael Bloomberg:  Go Out on the Top  

Clearly a skilled businessman, he maintained that progress only happens when organizations are purposely thrown off course… (Often innovation comes from dealing with constraints and challenges…But never be content with status quo)

6.  Pat  McGovern: The World is Yours

Founder of International Data Group (IDG) in 1964, McGovern spent a majority of his career abroad, forging ahead in new global markets and practically writing the rulebook for doing business in foreign countries.  Reflecting on building a global company:  “Even after 40 years, my adrenaline starts pumping every time my plane touches down in a new country. Every trip is a story waiting to happen.”  (…it’s essential to keep ourselves open to learning and new ideas–creating new stories)

7.  Harvey Mackay: The Importance of Connections

Author of How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, Mackay’s guiding principle in business is to build strong relationships with customers and employees, and practice the lifelong art of networking.  True to his philosophy, he told Inc. in 1990, “If the house is on fire, forget the china, silver, and wedding album-grab the Rolodex.” (Today, it would be to grab your iPhone or your Blackberry …. but networking is especially critical- now more than ever…)

8.  Ted Turner: The Upshot of losing $8 Billion

When Time Warner subsequently merged with AOL in 2001, Turner’s stock in the company collapsed and so did his position as an executive at the company. Undefeated, he returned to his entrepreneurial roots and started Ted’s Montana Grill, now a nationwide chain of 55 restaurants…(once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur…)

9.  Ken Hendricks:  In Praise of Modesty

His Building Supplies Company, ABC Supply was a No. 1 Inc. 500 Company and hit $3 billion in sales in 2007.  Despite his huge financial success, Hendricks always kept the business small at heart and spoke often about frugality in business (an approach Pharma would have been wise to consider during the past decade and moving forward…)

10.  Peter Drucker:  The Right Kind of Leader

Frequently referred to as the ‘father of modern management’…Drucker observed a great deal about the leaders that emerged in the entrepreneurial community and found that not all managers are cut out for the world of big business…In 1985 he said, “There are people who don’t belong in large organizations.” (Ain’t that the truth! Enough said…)

Now, more than ever, innovation and leadership is needed in Pharma… and business today–We can learn something from these successful stories!  Which entrepreneur(s) do you think Pharma can learn most from?