Establishing a strong company culture and set of values can be beneficial in many ways for your business. It should be more than just a statement published on your website or a tagline beneath your logo. These especially go a long way in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries where patients trust your company with their health and well-being.
Francois Nader, M.D., Chairman, Acceleron Pharma Inc. knows this better than anyone. In an interview with Ashton Tweed, he generously shared his experience rebuilding a corporate culture while CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals. By embracing a culture and laying out a set of values for your business, you set the groundwork for success in the following areas:
Nader offers, “The first piece of advice I would give is to design a culture and come up with values that truly represent you, and what I mean by that is the company culture is a projection of the leader.“ The way you choose to represent your company becomes your reputation amongst your peers and your customers. By creating a culture and sticking to it, you help choose how others view your company and its leaders. This is a powerful tool that should be carefully considered.
Defining who you are as a company and what is most important to your business can help distinguish you from your competitors. This strengthens your brand and helps customers remember who you are. “We defined a new set of values around the idea that everything we did was really focused on the patients exclusively,” says Nader, helping provide a narrow focus to his company and brand.
Decisions & Strategy
By narrowing down your company’s values, you also create a general path to follow when making business decisions or developing strategies. Your values create general guidelines for your business to abide by when executing these changes. Nader says it best: “We adopted a set of six values that were pretty much our compass and our center in everything we did: integrity, respect, personal accountability, excellence, teamwork and fun.”
A company’s culture and values can attract and retain employees who share them. This especially rings true for millennials who are entering the workforce, because they are known for seeking companies that reflect their personal beliefs and motives. According to Nader, “The values we carry permeate everything we do as a leader and everything we do is magnified hundred times by our employees…” Therefore, it’s important to make your culture and values known in order to attract appropriate employees. By keeping these standards strong, you also encourage employee development and engagement down the line.
The guidelines of a company’s culture impacts how you get things done, and ultimately helps you get them done as efficiently as possible. “The underlying common denominator of everything we do in any business environment is the culture of the company. So there are certain behaviors or actions that are encouraged in a given culture and totally frowned upon in another culture…“ says Nader. These behaviors boost productivity by motivating employees and streamlining methods.
Quality is key in the life sciences industry, and your company’s set of values creates a standard of quality expected by your customers. Nader pushes this point further by stating, “…do not suffer any exceptions because the minute you tolerate a behavior that is not acceptable within the culture of the company and goes potentially against one of the values, then you completely lose credibility.” Therefore, it’s important to stick by your established culture and values, because it builds trust in the quality of your products.
As a leader establishing a new company’s culture or revamping an existing company’s culture, these benefits should be top of mind. If executed correctly, these foundations can create a distinct name for your company and help guide it through future obstacles. But don’t forget to have fun with this! It’s not meant to be a restricting or overly serious task. When asked why “fun” was one of Nader’s values, he responded: “I believe very strongly that if someone is not happy doing what they’re doing, they’re probably not doing a good job. In our industry, like in many other industries, you work very, very hard and if people are not having fun doing what they’re doing they probably don’t belong there.”
See Francois Nader’s full interview here: CEO Leadership Series.
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