By Michael Caso, Managing Partner
In my last post, Challenges/Barriers to Stakeholder Integrated Plan Development, the need and execution outline for a cross-functional “Vison Workshop” was introduced. This workshop forms the foundation of short-and long-term stakeholder planning. Once the consensus on cross-functional objectives are identified for the next 1 to 3 years, you are ready to begin tactical planning designed to accomplish your targets.
There is no shortage of companies with electronic tools to facilitate stakeholder planning and tactical execution. Monocol, Pharmaspectra and PulsePoint all have stakeholder tools. Whether you are in the early stages of Stakeholder Engagement and require tactics like identification, profiling and mapping or in more advanced stages of engagement, the tools you utilize to document the tactics developed by the cross-functional team should demonstrate a number of characteristics:
by Michael Caso, Managing Partner
As I stated in my last post, gaining agreement on the need for an integrated Stakeholder Relations plan is easy to accomplish. However, there are significant challenges and barriers to accomplishing a truly integrated plan that satisfies the needs/objectives of all internal partners, as well as the external stakeholders targeted for engagement.
Having sat on “both sides of the desk,” at a Pharma company creating cross-functional planning and engaging stakeholders and, now in an agency supporting the needs of clients in developing integrated plans, I can provide some unique perspectives. There is saying indicating that “your ability to be objective is in direct proportion to your distance from the problem.” Internal stakeholders are “close to the problem,” having a number of individual objectives that may not be compatible with those of their colleagues. Therefore, there are some benefits in employing an independent third party to facilitate the creation and coordination of cross-functional planning meetings.
One way to identify and address barriers/challenges to the development of an integrated Stakeholder Plan is through the creation of a cross-functional planning workshop. These types of programs are called different names in various organizations, but at Omni-HC, we refer to them as Vision Workshops. The word Vision addresses the need for a long-term “view or perspective” on the various internal and external stakeholders regarding mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities.
Key steps in the creation and execution of this Vision Workshop include:
Having completed this Vision exercise, we are now better prepared to develop the Stakeholder Relations Integrated Plan. The tools and techniques for accomplishing this next important task will be the subject of my next blog.
By Michael Caso Managing Partner
My tenure in the healthcare industry spans more years than I care to recall. When working for a pharma company or an agency, a starting point for product business planning -- at any stage of commercialization -- has been the engagement of stakeholders as researchers, consultants or peer-to-peer educators.
The lexicon for this engagement has changed over time from Advocacy Development, to Thought Leader Development, to KOL or Opinion Leader Management to today’s nomenclature of Stakeholder Relations. “Ownership” in an organization for conducting these activities has also changed. Initially seated in Marketing, Stakeholder Engagement, is now Medical Affairs’ responsibility, whether centralized in a Strategic Planning Engagement position or localized in various functional areas such as Medical Science Liaisons and their transactional interactions to gain medical insights.
In addition, the actual Stakeholders have changed. There are internal team stakeholders, the traditional external scientific/medical targets, payers, as well as the emergence of patients and disease advocacy groups as key “movers and shakers.”
All of these changes in Stakeholder Relations terminology and ownership are further complicated by the current global pandemic that imposes access barriers. The pandemic has produced diminished current (and potentially future) opportunities for Stakeholder interactions at annual congresses (with over XXX# cancelled or shifted to virtual programs) and introduced barriers to productive one-on-one transactional engagements in offices or institutions. As a result, respectively top-tier Stakeholder relationships and critical medical insights have been negatively impacted. This scenario creates a greater need for integrated strategic cross-functional Stakeholder Planning in the accomplishment of key corporate, medical and product objectives.
Ok, so who are the team members that require integration and alignment on this internal team? The specific plan development participants will vary depending on the commercialization phase, global or domestic launch plan and size of organization. However, with Medical Affairs acting as the “bridge” or “conduit” between these departments, a potential list of key members includes: R&D, Commercial/Commercial Development, Patient Advocacy, and Market Access.
Of course, each of these team members brings with them a targeted set of objectives that may not necessarily be complimentary with those of other teammates and a supreme headache for the Medical Affairs person responsible for coordinating the plan integration.
More on these challenges in my next blog.
Omni-HC Blogs are written by members of the Omni-HC team.