I was in the UK all last week, but I met with friends and colleagues all the way from China to California…and many place in between. We had West Coast visitors, Mid-West visitors, East Coast visitors and European visitors. I don’t believe we had any visitors from Asia on site but I spoke with my friends in China on two or three occasions.
The very first time I heard about the possibility of being considered for my current role, I remember thinking how a company like the one I now work for would provide me with opportunity to interact with, learn from and offer help to people and projects from all sorts of companies across the pharmaceutical industry. Little did I know!
I didn’t really appreciate the breadth of companies we have chance to partner with. Big and small. Old and new. Far and wide. But all with passion. All with desire. All with an idea. All with a problem they want us to help solve…or an opportunity they want us to help seize.
And every project that a partner – or possible partner – comes to us with has potential to be a break through…a ‘game-changer. The data and interpretation we will produce and help assess could make the difference between the projects succeeding or failing…advancing or stalling.
It’s not surprising then that the relationships we have with our partners are so pivotal. To everything. Words like trust and confidence are so easy to say. But that’s what it is. We have to earn and deserve the trust and confidence of our partners. Trust that we will take great care of their project. That we will treat it as if it were our own and do the work exquisitely well. Confidence that we have the skills and experience – the science and the understanding – to produce an outcome that our partners know is right. Whether the outcome is as wanted or unexpected.
And in that sense I was partly right – back when I first heard about this role. We do interact with many partners, and those interactions are very important. My own network of friends, contacts and partners has grown considerably. My learning, understanding and appreciation have grown exponentially.
But what I didn’t appreciate was how exciting and engaging these partnerships would be. How much I enjoy working and talking and interacting with my (new) friends and colleagues at our partner companies. And my best relationships are with the partners who we work with frequently. Which of course makes sense – any good relationship involves significant and continual investment of time and energy. Trust and confidence has to build – on both sides. The more we meet and talk, call and listen, the more the friendship and partnership develops.
I also didn’t appreciate how I would learn – about people, about companies about science, about our industry. I knew I would learn…but I guess I didn’t really appreciate just how much I didn’t know.
So last week was a great week. I interacted in person and remotely. I interacted in one-to-one sessions, and as part of a team of 200 listening and learning from one. I laughed and I worried. I heard feedback and I heard praise.
Nobody gives us opportunity to work with them – or on their projects – purely based on our friendships, relationships or partnerships. But the strength of our friendships, relationships or partnerships is a direct indicator of investments we have each made to build mutual trust and confidence.
And we do – most definitely – give and get opportunity to work together based on trust and confidence in what is important to us.