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3 qualities to look for in a change agent

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Change is the one constant in the pharmaceutical industry.

Technological advancements, complex regulations, new competitors entering the market all create a rapidly evolving industry.

There is a lot of stake. Without the ability to navigate and respond to change, companies will become stuck – and ultimately, get left behind.

That is why pharmaceutical organizations need change agents in their leadership positions, to initiate, drive and inspire change. Change agents are people who see beyond the accepted way of doing things and guide an organization through the process of improvement. They are brave, strategic and open-minded leaders.

Here are three key characteristics to look for when hiring a change-agent:

1. Problem solving skills

Leaders who excel at problem solving can revolutionize a company. Navigating change can be a minefield, so you need candidates with the ability to troubleshoot issues as they arise and adapt quickly. They will foresee potential risks or obstacles and proactively guide a team to deal with them.

How to spot a problem solver:

  • Critical thinking – the candidate will understand there is more than one way to do something and that the accepted way is not always best
  • Collaborative – they listen and ask for feedback to see a problem and opportunity from all angles
  • Observant – their keen eye for detail allows them to discover issues quickly and not wait for problems to be presented.

2. Persistent

Change within an organization takes time and a good leader will have the perseverance needed to successfully follow through on change from idea to implementation. Many times, change will be met with opposition, from both internal and external forces. So change agents are people who are resilient in pushing back from setbacks – they don’t give up.

How to identify persistence in a person:

  • Not afraid to fail – they keep trying and adapting even if previous approaches didn’t work out
  • Focused – they don’t lose sight of the big picture and continue striving for the goal
  • Not swayed by criticism – they listen and take on feedback, but they aren’t people pleasers and persist even in the face of opposition

3. Communication skills

Change agents are effective communicators. This goes beyond good English skills, although that is a must. Good verbal and written communication allows leaders to share their vision for the future and inspire others to join them in achieving it. These skills help build relationships with key stakeholders, clearly articulate their ideas, and gain people’s trust in the process. Keeping everyone informed and involved will be the difference between success and failure in change management.

How to look beyond just good English skills:

  • Empathetic – the candidate will have high emotional intelligence, handle conflict well, and be open to other people’s opinions and ideas.
  • Listen – communication must be open and collaborative, listening to different perspectives and addressing concerns to build trust and a shared understanding of success
  • Inspire – they will set the tone for how the change will happen and paint a picture of success that motivates the team to take action and support the process

The next time you are on the hunt for a visionary leader, look for a person who fits these characteristics. Finding the right person to navigate change in your organization is a high stakes endeavor.

Morunda can help. Book a discovery call and we will help you find top talent to lead your organization towards whatever is ahead.

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