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Creating High Performing Teams in Biopharma

  • 101 Main Street Cambridge, MA, 02142 United States (map)

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Building and growing high performing teams – may be simple on paper, but is indeed not easy in practice. Our next workshop seeks to leverage the experience and wisdom of proven team leaders in biopharma to reduce this art to science as best we can, so that the next team you create exceed organizational expectations.

We all remember working with “the one team” – which worked together really well and overcame difficult challenges to reach its goals, while having fun –  no wonder that experience left an indelible impression on you.

We only realized how good that team was when we were on “that other team”, the one that you preferred to call-in for meetings, often felt uninspired and wondered why you were staying on.

Unsurprisingly, both scenarios are relatively common. Despite Google’s 165 million results on how to “Build and Grow a High Performing team” several team leaders’ understanding of the underlying principles for forging great teams continues to be sketchy at best.

There are some of us who have taken the opportunity to dig deeper, to understand what truly makes one team take-off while the other one stays on the ground.

We invite you to the next session of Biopharma Pro on Thursday, October 18, 2018, to share your experience and join us in developing a practical framework and set of actions to make building and growing high performing teams a little easier, if not simple.

With the help of a case study, we will examine team creation from various angles:

  • How do you know if your team is a high performing team?

  • What are the responsibilities of team members and leaders?

  • Building the team is only a start, how do you continue to grow a team?

  • What are the pillars, and what are the pitfalls of high performing teams?

Joerg Hermans, our session leader for the evening, was tasked by Pfizer and Biogen to create productive and effective teams on multiple occasions during his last two decades in the industry, and as a consequence has observed first-hand what it takes to build, nurture, and lead high performing team. Outside of work, Joerg has also had the opportunity to lead teams for various social causes in his local Lions Club, which further informs his perspective. 

Please RSVP below to join us for this session in Cambridge, MA on Thursday, October 18, 2018, from 5 – 7.30 pm.

We look forward to seeing you there, then!

Biopharma Pro


Recommended Pre-reads:


Session - Case Study:

Compound ABC456 is the hope for the oncology community. Discovered by ONCO, its stellar data in a phase 1 trial turned heads in the cancer as well as the investment communities. ONCO was a company specialized in the ABC technology platform with 3 compounds, two in phase 1, one in pre-clinical development.

ONCO and its 125 employees were now in the spotlight, with the community calling for an accelerated development program. ONCO’s leadership team had always planned to formalize its Program Management function from its current infancy stage – now, the CEO wanted to see a fully staffed, well-functioning team focused on ABC456 within one week; the first deliverable was a faster, fully loaded development plan proposal, due in 6 weeks. The leadership team decided on the functions, colleagues and team lead for the ABC456 program team.

Peter, who joined ONCO two months ago was delighted to be given the responsibility of leading this newly formed team. He understood the initial deliverable, the pressure ONCO was under to deliver and had managed teams before, albeit mostly related to his manufacturing background. Peter had met some of the selected team members, he thought the functions represented were appropriate and following the company wide announcement about the newly formed team, he scheduled his first team meeting. Peter was surprised how well the first meeting went – following introductions, an icebreaker and a discussion on the deliverable, Peter focused the first half of the meeting on the Purpose he developed for the team “Transforming all of our tomorrows”, followed by 90minutes dominated by flip charts and post-its - tasks were identified, responsibilities seemed clear and Peter’s technical knowledge helped him have an answer or thought for every question, taking a very active part in what became a very technical discussion.

Several meetings took place and the team seemed to function – the group was motivated, everybody was an expert in their function and the recommendation started to take shape.

Four weeks into the ABC456 project, ONCO’s 2nd product, ABC123, reported stunning phase 1 interim data and the trial was stopped early. ONCO’s leadership team was delighted and quickly formalized a 2nd Program Team in support of the compound. Peter was very happy having chosen a company with so much success.

Flying high, Peter anticipated his team to be just as excited about ABC123, expecting his ABC456 program team to get another boost approaching the final stage of his first deliverable.

At the next ABC456 team meeting, Peter noticed a mood he hadn’t observed before among his team; some team members were not present, the team was very quiet and the energy seemed to have evaporated; dismissing this as “ a case of the Mondays”, Peter relied on his focus and resilience and, despite the very different dynamics in the room, he managed to meet the goals for the particular meeting.

 The next day, two of the team members told Peter, they had decided to join the ABC123 team, another team member asked whether management had now deprioritized ABC456, given the ABC123 results; that same day, Peter also noticed posters and coffee mugs with the ABC123 team purpose, colleagues chatting about what the purpose meant to them, and how the ABC123 team leader is so well connected to the team despite being new to the company and having very little technical experience.   

Peter was disappointed, felt deceived; how can a 2nd team, half the size of his, gain so much momentum, be so inspired in just a little over one week, seemingly outpacing his work of the past 4 weeks? Why did none of his team members bring this to his attention, how is he going to present himself to his team and his manager?


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