Dear Colleagues!  This is Pharma Veterans Blog Post #341. Pharma Veterans welcomes sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Disclaimer. The discussion and opinions expressed are entirely my own. These are based on my experience, observations and learning over long years. These may not be entirely unique. However, any resemblance is unintended and coincidental. If a material is taken from a particular source, it is properly referred to that source.


Continued from Previous……

We have come to the last part of this topic where we shall see how possibly Holistic Management may be brought in.

Holistic Management is a general term which is used for many different trades. The holisticness parameters vary with the trade. Our discussion shall focus on Pharma business.

Following approaches may be considered as Holistic Management Practices.

Holistic Planning is different from current standard planning practices. Current practices take into account a limited view. For example, it is customary in Pharma to plan for the next 3 – 5 years. It is more like a visualization of future from which specific milestones are derived along the timeline. The entire focus of this activity is ‘business-based’, which goes like this:

  • We shall take our business to xxxxxx level at the end of five years
  • We shall take our rank to xxxxxx number in five years
  • We shall have xxxxxx number of Big Brands in five years
  • We shall open xxxxxx new segments, therapeutic or business
  • We shall increase profitability to xxxxxx level
  • We shall expand manufacturing capacity/ capability to xxxxxx level

What is missing is this.

  • We shall develop xxxxxx number of Managers to take on new positions
  • We shall introduce xxxxxx plans for employee engagement/retention
  • We shall do capacity building of xxxxxx senior executives
  • We shall improve compliance to meet regulatory requirements fully
  • We shall take corrective measures to conform to environmental protection
  • We shall initiate xxxxxx number of real CSR projects

The missing elements should be included in the planning dashboard to make it holistic. It is not for moral reasons to do so; there are serious commercial implications of doing these things. The commitment to growth will set in and results will be guaranteed.

Holistic Goal Setting is mostly a yearly program which is reviewed periodically during the year. These goals are derived from the ‘larger plan’ in the developed corporates. In smaller outfits, nothing is visible other than business. The elements given above should become part of Goal Setting to make it Holistic. I would again say that the reason for making it Holistic is really commercial. Business Success is ensured if employees see a career track, are engaged, get the freedom to experiment and work to their fullest capacity.

Holistic Execution demands that relevant resources are allocated to all, not just some, goals. It is not uncommon that while initially resources are allocated justly but later, all or most funds are diverted to some project while others keep collecting dust; the analogy from public sector may be Metro Bus Project or Orange Train Project or BRT. Funds from all over were allegedly scavenged and utilized for these projects. Granted, that priorities may change due to changes in ground realities, but other priorities may not be completely eliminated.

Holistic People Development is another area of urgent concern. The first barrier here is that the companies are believing less and less in people development. The expense incurred on people development is considered an expense; not an investment. The thinking in this area needs lot of improvement work. The following notions should be seriously contested.

  • Organization is not responsible for developing people. We hire trained people and pay them to work here, not learn here
  • People do not stay, and money is wasted if they leave
  • Training makes people better and they are more likely to leave. It is better to keep average, half-cooked people to ensure long stay.
  • What is development? Is it required by DRAP?
  • I own and run the company. What do ‘people’ do other than following my commands?

This is just a sample; the real list is longer. What is ignored so easily is that the organization is run by people and growth and development all is possible due to people.

Another aspect of People Development is development along some selected lines only; most popular being selling skills or territory management etc. The organization thinks that people should be trained on basic, direct skills only; no more.

Holistic Growth Plan is what we take up last. It is an established practice that Growth Plans do not include support system growth plans. Growth is asked for and projected in sales numbers. What it will take to reach those numbers is deliberately blurred. The scenario goes like this.

  1. Sales projections are done and redone till these are inflated to maximum
  2. Relevant increase in HR and budget is left for a later date
  3. Relevant financial layout for marketing is put to a later date
  4. There is no mention of organization’s already overstretched financial lines
  5. There is no discussion on how the supply chain will manage this growth
  6. There is just the battle cry which later converts into bickering at various levels
  7. The later dates remain later dates. Supply chain fails to deliver on time because their funding fails to arrive on time. The organization overall fails to commit due resources

This series of posts is not intended as a scathing criticism of employers or employees, or organizations and staff; it is intended as a fact sheet of what is happening now, what areas need attention, and how gains can be maximized.

Development is an evolving process which happens to be inexorable without mercy and unstoppable against all resistance. We should spend our energies on benefitting from the evolution process so that we prosper as individuals, as families, and as communities.


Dear Readers! This 7-Part series has been compiled as a .pdf document. Please send email to to get your copy.

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