Making Great Leaders

The One Thing That All Good Leaders Do

This week my colleague Angela and I are at Kellogg School of Management in Chicago meeting faculty members for our recently launched ELIACR program.  Being back here reminds me of Harry Kraemer’s (former Chair and CEO of Baxter) session on leadership. Harry posed the question: are leaders  born or developed?  He talked about observing small children and how some of them naturally take the initiative to lead games without being instructed to LEAD. Furthermore, during his time at Baxter he observed there were often new people that weren’t in leadership positions that stood out because they took the initiative to drive change for the good of the organization, ask questions, challenge the status quo and TAKE THE LEAD.  Equally he had observed people in positions of power that were not willing to stand out and make a difference.

Thinking of leadership within our industry, what does this mean for us? As people join and progress through clinical research organizations they are required to mitigate risk and follow procedures in order to protect patient safety and data integrity. How then can we identity leaders that are willing to make autonomous decisions, take calculated risks and think creatively? Furthermore, how can we successfully transition them into commercial leadership roles and develop these skills so that they maximize opportunities and ensure that our organizations are future-ready?

Whilst the clinical research sector often reports itself to be fast-moving, in terms of decision making and TAKING THE LEAD we are often slow compared to other industries. Moving forward, as we look at the current political and economic landscape and the future challenges to our industry we need to have a shift in mind-set. Tomorrow’s leaders will be those that are prepared to stand out and take calculated risks in order to seize opportunities and take their organizations safely and successfully into the future.

To meet this challenge, we need to ensure that we can adeptly identify future leaders and ensure they are developed with the professional competencies to give them the confidence to lead agile organizations that maximize their value.

So, going back to the title of this blog and whether leaders are born or developed, the one thing all good leaders do is LEAD. So how are you leading your organization and developing your future leaders?

For further information about the Clinical Research Executive Development Program contact Angela O’Connell.

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