Building and Sustaining Strategic Relationships – Interview with Samir Shah

Relationships form the basis of any successful partnership. Trust and transparency are but two of the many factors that attribute to a strong and stable relationships. While it is easy to form such relationships, it is an upheaval task that requires consistency, diligence and sheer determination to maintain them.

Sometime back, Samir Shah, Chief Operating Officer, PRA Health Sciences joined us in an offline interview and discussed more about the how-tos on building and sustaining strategic relationships.

Q: What keeps you up at night when you think about Strategic Partnerships and moving from integration to optimization to transformation?
Samir : Asking the right questions to get to the high value area of a relationship keeps me up at night. The right questions include:

  1. How do you truly integrate value and culture from 2 different companies?
  2. Do the day-to-day leaders and operators on both sides (of the different companies) have the ability to think of the innovation needed for tomorrow?
  3. How do you create the right corporate strategy on both sides given the inevitable? Examples include leadership changes resulting in re-educations and resets or multiple organizational competing priorities.
  4. How do you ensure appropriate organization interdependencies for long-term success?
  5. Who champions the continued quest for the “burning platform”?
  6. Senior management is heavily involved at the onset of the partnerships; however, after the “forming/norming” phase, how do you keep them involved at the issue escalation stages?
  7. How do you keep management engaged throughout the partnership and endorsing value beyond today?

Q: What are the 3 main factors of behavior modification needed on both sides when creating an effective partnership?
Samir : The 3 main factors are change management, bridging the gap, and modern optimization. Briefly, I will attempt to describe each:

Change management: Cultural shifts must occur within companies (C suite, R&D, procurement, SRM) in order to achieve endorsements to more readily cut through company policies in order to begin a transitional model framework – a critical enabler for business success.

Bridging the culture gap: Today, significant conversational gaps exist within functional groups and become amplified when cross groups and cultures mix in. Joining forces as one voice for the greater good of the business paves the way for greater efficiencies. Talking first minimizes potential barriers later on.

Modernizing optimization: Joining together to discuss the business-to-business partnership beyond the science; linking budgets and contracts with strategic intent, operational goals, and blueprinting a new approach for working together; bringing a joint, balanced scorecard from concept to implementation via technology for monitoring the contributions and the new novel way of which all are working.

Q: How does one truly integrate the values and cultures from 2 different companies?
Samir : Business-to-business partnership requires first and foremost the following:

  1. Investment and time
  2. Trust
  3. A collaborative mind-set
  4. The ability to manage the numerous interactions between all parties
  5. Working together through all lifecycle changes (i.e., people come and go, strategy changes, organization dynamics change)

Strong leadership is needed when joining together to discuss the business-to-business partnership beyond the science, such as linking budgets and contracts with strategic intent, operational goals, and blueprinting a new approach for working together. Bringing a joint, balanced scorecard from concept to implementation via technology for monitoring the contributions is crucial.

Q: What are the basic, key requirements before you can enable innovation?
Samir : While there are many elements that enable innovation, the essential, key elements include:

[column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   1.   Defining a clear strategy. [/column]

[column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   2.   Aligning on partnership roles. [/column] [column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   3.   Creating and agreeing to guiding principles by involving all key stakeholders early on decision making and creating the joint mission statement. [/column]

[column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   4.   Defining clear and accountable metrics.

  • Balanced scorecard
  • Clear process for data gathering and display
  • Leading indicators for early intervention
  • Feedback mechanism for progress to initial and end-state goal
[/column] [column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   5.   Understanding the end or common goal (reduce cost/patient). [/column] [column type=”whole, one-half, one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, three-fourths, one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths, four-fifths, one-sixth, five-sixths” last=”true” fade=”true” fade_animation=”in, in-from-top, in-from-left, in-from-right, in-from-bottom” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]   6.    Pivoting as you move from integration to optimization to transformation.

  • Well-designed plans that lead to coordinated and collaborative action
  • Adjustment of relationship where needed
[/column]

 

How do you maintain your strategic relationships? Leave us a comment and join us in our discussion on TotalBioPharma

If you are keen to form your own strategic relationships with partners in Asia’s biopharma space, log on to BioPharma Asia Convention 2015’s website and find out how you can be part of Asia’s most important biopharma industry gathering.

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