The Best Way to Predict Your Future is To Create It

Meg Heim, Vice President, Head of North America Diabetes & Cardiovascular Scientific Communications, Sanofi

Meg Heim discusses the rationale for bringing the MAPS partnership to her leadership colleagues and for supporting MAPS membership for 100 of their diabetes and cardiovascular field and home office medical teams and why Medical Affairs needs to take control and shape its future

 

Predicting the future is fraught with error and in the face of the unknown, the only approach according to Meg Heim, Vice President, Head of North America Diabetes & Cardiovascular Scientific Communications, Sanofi is to take control and be an active participant. That was her rationale when she partnered with her leadership colleagues and spearheaded signing up 100 of their field and medical team mates to be members of MAPS following the MAPS Miami Annual Meeting which took place in March earlier this year. “By bringing the best of Medical together into one group, instead of forecasting the future, you’re recasting it. You get to build and shape what Medical should be in the future instead of having to react to it”.

 


“By bringing the best of Medical together into one group, instead of forecasting the future, you’re recasting it. You get to build and shape what Medical should be in the future instead of having to react to it”.


Different perspectives come together to form better ideas

With representation from 130 companies, MAPS offers a re-source to Medical Affairs professionals looking for best practice guidance and standards. “Developing best practices in unison as a function has tremendous value as everyone brings something special to the table. We’re often so internally focused and instead of having say, 12 years experience, you’re getting the combined experience of everyone in the room, across all levels”.

Future-proofing Medical capabilities

How can Medical Affairs help build leaders capable of meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s healthcare industry? According to Heim, the education and training program developed by MAPS helped them identify a key valued capability, – business acumen. “At Sanofi, we wanted to redevelop our Individual Development Plans for our Medical teams. I went through the training module that MAPS had and we ended up redefining our IDPs, not only to address present needs but looking further out at what Medical teams will look like in 5 years’ time and how do we prepare those individuals for what’s coming. We built a customized education and training program utilizing the MAPS program to complement what our CMO office and company already had in place.”

Business acumen, or financial acumen/literacy, is defined as an intuitive and applicable understanding of how a company creates value and is critical to effective strategy execution. “We’re a company with a presence in 110 countries and with 130,000 employees with access to a lot of learning platforms, but we thought there was a piece that could be done differently with accelerated learning – business acumen. But you don’t want to bring business acumen into Medical in a point in time; you want to bring it in layers for people where they are in their career and educational journey and that’s what we were able to accomplish”.

In today’s hypercompetitive environment, life science organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on collaboration to compete successfully – creating new value networks, tapping into new sources of innovation, and driving growth through strategic partnerships. As Medical increasingly collaborates with technology companies and other business partners, business acumen will allow Medical to interface with different kinds of people in different industries using a common language. “Organizations need to ensure they can deliver on their strategic objectives by leveraging high performing collaborative partnerships and alliances. The skills required to manage these complex collaborative relationships have now become critical value-creating competencies. This financial literacy and capability development within business strategy will elevate Medical in the evolving healthcare ecosystem and will make our teams so much more relevant because it lifts the conversation towards healthcare strategy, driving competitive advantage and improved outcomes,” says Heim.

 


“This financial literacy and capability development within business strategy will elevate Medical in the evolving healthcare ecosystem and will make our teams so much more relevant because it lifts the conversation towards healthcare strategy, driving competitive advantage and improved outcomes”.


 

Capability development is also a huge part of enhancing employee engagement and productivity. “I personally believe that it will drive personal satisfaction in the role. We want the best Medical teams so we need to prepare them so they can have confidence in their functional excellence and they can see purpose within the overall organizational strategy and their role in impacting on overall performance and patient outcomes. We need people who can look at digital information and bring it in, translate the information and data and get it out as quickly and appropriately as possible, to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. Research will be done differently with the help of large data sets, AI and Real World Evidence. Medical’s partner in the future may not be another scientist but a programmer or an analyst.

I believe to engage and  retain your people you need to develop them and elevating the role of Medical will be instrumental in retaining talent in the future”. Our opportunity is to build a culture that we all want to work in!”

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