17.11.08

Change Management

Versus Chaos Induction

Sharing the initial letters “CH” does not decrease the alarming gap between change management and chaotic management, which results from the forethought of change management being misapplied or mismanaged. While change management is a quiet trendy word in today’s business enterprises. Nevertheless, being well spoken does not necessarily mean being well understood all the time. In practice, we commonly confuse change management with wasting resources, as well as with reinventing the wheel! Thence, how to manage change with minimal wasting of organizational resources, and how to avoid unnecessary changes as well as setbacks in the change pathway, all shall be our subject over the coming few posts. Wherein, we shall use as usual examples and applications from the world of Animal Health business. Hereunder, we will start with one of the very common causes of waste during change process that is arbitrating with an “Adaptation Phenomenon”

Change and Adaptation Phenomena in Animal Health

Every market, industry, or sector, has its own dynamics and trends. Some of these trends are deeply rooted in the nature of this market, to an extent that makes trials of influencing your market in this area a non feasible process. Accordingly, an organization operating in or serving such a market starts to adapt itself to these dynamics and trends. This is what we called earlier adaptation phenomena. Few life examples from the Egyptian Animal Health market shall be very useful to better understand what we meant by this term

Example 01: Arabic Domination Phenomenon

When I was first exposed to animal health business operation in Egypt few years ago as a marketer, one of the surprising findings was the domination of Arabic language in promotional materials, exhibition stands, educational materials and detailing aid. Compared to ethical pharmaceuticals side of the healthcare market, and considering the fact that vet science schools in Egypt, only like all other life science schools, teach purely in English, the phenomenon seemed to be unjustified at the first look. Nonetheless, on a deeper look, I have attained to some reasons of the phenomenon that are deeply rooted in the market. These are,


1. The role of producer in purchase decision making is estimated as high as 45% in some products categories. Also a non-negligible role for retailers and wholesalers. All these groups are commonly English illiterates or semi-illiterates. Accordingly, the salesperson must adapt to detail in Arabic.
2. When a vet is graduated, and starts practicing in the field, commonly he gives his instructions to an agriculture engineer or skilled labor in the farms. To make sure his instructions are well understood and applied, he should do this not only in Arabic, but also in the day-to-day communication language at the farm level, commonly a slang Arabic! By time, even the vet starts to forget English as a conversation vocabulary. Usually he keeps only the scientific Anglo-Latin terminology


In the light of these facts, Arabic language dominated the industry. And as animal health operations existed to serve this industry, it adapted its practices in different terms to Arabic language, from invoicing to software, and from detailing aids to brand reminders! Efforts to change such a trend is a mere waste of resources in a trend that harms no interest of the firm, and more importantly unchangeable.


Example 02: Native Hens Phenomenon
Animal health practices you can read either in text books or production manuals do not reflect the field realities. Wherein reliance on one’s developed expertise usually outweighs professional advices in terms of production management. Being a practical information other than a referenced information, makes people in touch with it of increasing importance to any animal health operation. Resulting in human resources to be the scarcest resource for animal health companies! To an extent of calling the practically experienced caliber “poultry man” or “calves man” in some occasions! This is not due to limited mentality, or that no one thought to get an outsider and train him, it is due to the wide array of knowledge that can never be administered in a class styled training whatever its duration will be. Therefore, the native hens and heifers phenomena is genuine in this market. While entry level can be always supplied by fresh graduates, and senior positions with minimal need for technical knowledge can be introduced from a neighborhood industry, first line and middle management up to line management should be composed of native hens.


What will happen if a change process broke one or more of the adaptation phenomena?

Like any other case of adaptation, an immediate defect, previously compensated by this adaptation will appear. For example, when you violate the Arabic adaptation in your promotional material development, this will essentially limit the efficiency of your message dissemination among prescribers as well as producers, while you will not have a problem with KOLs who are extensively exposed to English materials. Violating the native hens phenomenon will lead to a more dramatic results, ending with an organization that looks good on charts, while it performs catastrophically in the field! As if a ballerina is competing in a salsa dance contest, over exotic calibers in your teams will end in funny performance incidents in the marketplace
Copyrights© 2008. Eyad Harfoush

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