Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #622 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi onWordPress, the top blog site. Please email to email@example.com for publishing your contributions here.
February 2022 marked my completing 47 years of working in Pharma Industry. Allah be praised. I am still working. My journey of near half century is also the journey of Pharma Industry in Pakistan. Great changes have occurred in this time and a lot could be written about it. In my blogs, which were started about four and a half years ago, I have covered several topics related to Pakistan Pharma Industry. This multi-part series shall do and review the SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – of the Pharma Industry.
It is now time to strategize, as this was the purpose of this long exercise.
Strategies are made on these parameters:
- Strategies based on Strengths
- Strategies to mitigate Weaknesses
- Strategies to exploit Opportunities
- Strategies to avert Threats
We shall follow the same line of thinking. We have completed Strategy Recommendations based on Strengths.
Strategies to Mitigate Weaknesses
- Plan for Longer Term – The mother of all weaknesses is short-term thinking and planning. As a community, we have become more and more myopic and short-sighted which is leading to many issues. For businesses, only short-term thinking is causing several problems. Longer term planning shall reduce problems and bring benefits.
- Longer term thinking shall shift the focus from tomorrow to day-after-tomorrow and beyond. The actions thus taken shall be meant for long-term change, benefits, and the ‘business’ will start converting into an ‘organization’. A business has a short life; an organization has a very long life; it could even be timeless if it choose to be.
- Our businessmen’s thinking starts from their own self and goes up to next two generations. The common adage is very noble-looking: ‘I cannot take responsibility for the next seven generation; I am doing it for my children and probably their children, the rest is for Allah’. It is a very deceiving statement, deception to self and others. There is nothing wrong with taking care of next seven or even more generations. The problem is in the way it is done. If the business is evolved into organization where the functions are run by competent people who are hired on merit, the corporate shall keep surviving and growing. After all, some of the major worldwide companies have been operating for well over hundred years. In fact, those who kept pace with time are still living and thriving, those who stood their ground and did not adapt to changing times did not survive. Blackberry and Nokia and Kodak and Agfa and Fuji and so many others are very recent examples of giants vanishing.
- Short-term thinking translates into short-cuts, which lead to creating disregard for rules, and/ or bending rules for short-term gains. Stephen Covey emphasized on ‘Beginning with the end in mind’, and it is so true. We do not follow this golden principle and keep doing things hoping that the end would be different than the outcome of our doing. Alas! It cannot be so. Whatever we sow, so shall we reap. Longer term thinking can save us from this situation. When things are designed for long-term survival, the working changes.
- Most businesses start as family-owned or single-person-owned enterprises, all credit to those who dare to get into the world of business and give their best to establish a viable enterprise from scratch. Even the business schools do not adequately prepare for entrepreneurship, it is somehow innate quality. The number of entrepreneurs is always small, but they create employment opportunities for a large number and co-business opportunities for yet many others. People who are not cut out for entrepreneurship and force themselves to do it, either fail or remain mediocre. A lot of retired people open small shops which either close with loss or remain small. It is not due to their age; it is due entirely to their outlook. Similarly, many senior managers have tried their hands on business thinking that if they could run a large business for the. Corporate, why couldn’t they do it for themselves. The failure rate is extremely high, and the reason is not lack of management skills, it is lack of entrepreneurial outlook. In the beginning, the entrepreneur must manage everything by himself, but when the enterprise expands, the time comes to delegate responsibilities strategically. This is where most entrepreneurs falter; they try to keep holding everything close to their chest and finally become the biggest obstacle to the growth of their business. Longer term thinking ordains delegation with the passage of time, as the need arises. The enterprise shall remain healthy and robust and growing.
- Timely decisions are crucial for the survival and growth of any business. A single mind, no matter how brilliant it may be, may not be able to always make great decisions. This is another crucial area where business owners get stuck. Participative decision making is better than solo decisions. Participative decision making does not impose any decision, it only helps to look at more angles, offers more options and facilitates informed decision making. The final decision is taken by the chief honcho in any case, so it does not rob him/her of their authority. It is a mindset which dictates that the owner shall not mix up with the owned, as the employees are considered. Great organizations who are ruling the world got past these things a very long time ago and are much ahead in new management techniques and philosophies.
- Finally, we act what we think. When we think small, we end up small. This is the basic difference between short-term and long-term thinking. Short term thinking may still grow to become big but longer-term thinking stands a better chance of growing big.
To be Continued……
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