Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #762 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 on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Continued from Previous……

We continue our discussion on tired organizations, which are those who have been left behind in the process of progress.

Time Sensitivity

The importance of time changed in so many ways in the world. There was a time when things happened in millions of years as science tells us, then it started happening in millennials, then in centuries, then years, then months, and now we count time in days, hours, and minutes. All international sports competitions use a timer of 1/100 of seconds, and the irony is that we buy time from mobile carriers by minutes (just see all the packages that are announced frequently).

For a long time, time was not even considered a resource. Standard resources were land, equipment, money; even labor was added later.

Time has assumed the position of the most precious and critical resource. Whatever we do is plotted against time, or probably we are always running against time to complete jobs. Time is the limiting factor in so many things because we still may have more energy and capability to achieve more. We keep learning over long years, and when we attain some wisdom finally, it is to time to leave the world. That is why there is no tomorrow, only today and now. What I just said is neither new nor unique, it is just a fact of life stated by unnumerable people, written in books, and exhorted in speeches. Despite all the emphasis, our view of time remains extremely variable.

Tired organizations are universally insensitive to time. This is evident in five major areas.

Routine work is not bound by time. Mostly, there may be too little work to do, and people are forced to look busy without accomplishing anything. Due to highly centralized way of working, every step must be approved by the chief who cannot be pushed to expedite. The chief is also not much motivated to work because it gives him limited money and satisfaction. He would either not come to office regularly or come a sit all day without doing any work. The idea of sitting all day is to keep the staff in line.  The overall environment is slow, lethargic, and unproductive. People aspiring to perform may be enticed to join but do not stay for long.

The projects do not carry a timeline. Their progress may be tied to chief’s decision making whenever he chooses, or to availability of money whenever it is made available, or to any other factor which may or may not be relevant. If an upgrade is dictated by the regulatory body, there will be an all-out effort to thwart it. If a change or upgrade is somehow decided inhouse, its execution will keep lingering on. ‘We have plenty of time, we shall do, or we do not have time to do it now, shall do later’ is the usual talk. Pharmaceutical industry has seen its regulator -DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan) – clamp many new requirements in the last few years. If we do a survey of the old plants, we shall find that the implementation is highly variable, with more plants not doing it.

Business growth is not on the active agenda as it will require thinking, effort, and resources. New product launches will be few and far between. The salespeople shall be asked to first sell the existing products optimally and then ask for new ones. Supply chain, which is time-bound shall be in disarray. There will be frequent shortages which shall be due to poor planning, not money. Pakistan Pharma market has crossed the mark of 700 billion rupees annually. It is a very lucrative market but the plan to take larger share of market will keep lying on the table of the chief. Would you imagine that the CEO would take a nap for couple of hours in the office? I have seen it and I do not find any excuse for it. Either we follow China, and everyone takes a short nap after lunch, or no one takes a nap. It is not about privileges; it is about office decorum.

Technology aversion shall be deep and strong. The need for using computers, installing an enterprise level software, and adopting technology in production, shall be severely resisted, and discouraged. The argument of saving time shall get the least attention, and probably rightly so. Because the organization is apparently not short on time, there is no need to do work more quickly. Presence of computers is almost universal in businesses now, but the quality of hardware/software, and what is done on these, is anyone’s guess. Office equipment and production machines are always bought second-hand. It does not matter if these are slow because time is of least concern.

Finally, decision making shall have no timeframe, disregarding the urgency or the importance of the matter. An hour may become a day, and a day may become a week, but no one is bothered. Meetings are either not done, but when these are done, these do not follow time discipline. The chief obviously chairs the meeting, and it is up to his mood to stretch it or stop it. The discussion is a mix of productive and non-productive talks. It does not matter if not taking decision on time results in opportunity lost.

The five areas identified above are related to insensitivity about time, and these cover the organizational working almost entirely. The organizations who understood and realized the importance of time early, have gone far ahead of others. I can say with authenticity that growth is more about doing things timely, and less about pumping in resources.

The tiredness and lethargy of organization seriously affects the employees. They are almost always underpaid; even when overworked. Their morale is low, they are actively disengaged, and they survive barely. Poor financial health leads to poor mental and physical health. Tiredness of the organization seeps into its employees, it erodes their confidence, and they cannot even think of changing job. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs of the organizations, Pharma and else, and it is quite common.

To be Concluded……Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.

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