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'Maximizing Employee Engagement and Alignment Through Archetypes'
A recent Gallup poll found that greater than two thirds of employees are not engaged at work. Is it any wonder that sales and marketing employees are not aligned, or that they show little loyalty, leaving one job for another with alarming frequency?
How can we engage, align and retain our life science sales & marketing employees? The answer is clear. In this webinar, David Chapin, CEO of Forma Life Science Marketing will describe how to harness the latest social science research and proven marketing and communication techniques to engage, align and retain your life science sales & marketing employees.
In one example, the percentage of the employee population that was "well aligned" rose from 25% (before implementing this program) to almost 70% (after implementing this program and training their employees).
David is the author of the book Making the Complex Compelling, Creating High-Performance Marketing in the Life Sciences.
See below for transcript
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Harrison Wright: That's great, we'll get started now. Hi, everyone, it's Harrison Wright from Affinity Biotechnology here. Welcome to 1000 Ways Engage, Align and Retain Your Life Science Sales & Marketing Professionals. I'm here today with David Chapin, so, thanks again, all of you for coming, wherever you are in the world. For some of you, it's 7:00 in the morning on the Western United States, so I applaud your dedication to being here; it's pretty impressive. Now, some of you know David, some of you know me, and for some of you, we're both new faces, so I'll give you a brief background for you all on both of us.
David Chapin is CEO of Forma Life Science Marketing, and author of the book Making the Complex Compelling: Creating High-Performance Marketing in the Life Sciences. Me, personally, I help sales and marketing leaders in companies that provide products and services to Life Scientists to build world-class sales and marketing teams. On the flip side, I help world-class sales and marketing professionals into the teams that are most conducive to their growth and their success; to borrow David's terminology, the team that most align with their archetype. Now, I invited David to speak today, because I can immediately see, not only the value in his work, but the uniqueness in his methods, and if you've read any of my work, you'll know that I'm a believer in two things above all: one is challenging group think in a status quo, and the other is achieving consistent outcome through designing and executing superior processes based on first principles. I see this exact same mindset in David's work. Today, for example, David's going to show you how to apply marketing communications principles to solving the epidemic to employee disengagement, which plagues our industry; a very unique approach in my mind, and a very impressive one as well.
Before we get started, I'd also like to say a quick word for our sponsors: The Association of Commercial Professionals - Life Sciences, or ACP-LS. For those of you not familiar with ACP-LS, they're an industry association built from the ground up, specifically for people just like you: professionals who sell a market to Life Scientists. They're a great bunch of people who do this on all-volunteer basis, as well. If you'd like your own space to get together, rather than borrowing the scientist limelight at every conference, check out www.ACP-LS.org. You might subscribe to their newsletter, which is free, and consider attending their annual meeting in October. Now, if you've got any questions during the presentation, don't be shy. Just type in the chat box, and I'll field your questions to David at the end. I can't stress that enough - no such thing as a stupid question. Any and all questions are welcome. So, without further ado, it's my pleasure to introduce David Chapin.
David Chapin: Harrison, thanks so much for that kind introduction. I want to talk about a key challenge: how do we engage, align, and retain employees. Let's begin by looking at the results of some research. Data collected by Gallup shows that more than two-thirds of US employees are either not engaged, or actively disengaged at work, and the figures only get more depressing when we look globally. The number grows from 68 to 87%. That's a lot of disengaged employees, and the UK has some of the worst engagement of all.
Now, when it comes to alignment, a majority of sales and marketing leaders rated the alignment of their operations as poor. And as for retention, in one small sector of the Life Sciences - clinical research - as of a year ago, there were 10,000 open positions for clinical, and the number has only gone up since then. What this means is that organizations are reduced to stealing qualified employees from one another, but we're not giving our current employees any reasons to stay. We've got problems. So, how do we engage, align, and retain our employees? The data clearly show that we can't buy our way out of this problem when you read the experts, such as Dan Pink, it's clear that for non-wrote, non-routine work, carrots, like higher salaries, and sticks, such as penalties for not meeting performance metrics, won't work. Rewards turn interesting tasks into drudgery. To motivate our employees, we must provide autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and Simon Sinek, the famous author, highlights purpose above all. But how do most of organizations communicate purpose to their employees? They use mission, vision, and values.
Join me in this thought experiment. Imagine walking down the hall at your organization and stopping the first ten employees you meet. Ask them what your organization's mission, vision, and values are. Will they be able to repeat them back in any accurate form? The answer is typically no. Well, if your employees don't understand your mission statement and your values well enough to be able to remember and repeat them, is your mission statement, or your statement of values, actually effective in getting your employees engaged or aligned? Do mission, vision, and values work?
Let's look at one example: VW, a very large company with a marked cap of over $58 billion, so they've got enough money to get it right. When you look for their mission statement, they've got one, although they call it their goal: "The group's goal is to offer attractive, safe, and environmentally sound vehicles." And they have published values including a sense of responsibility, and VW was even aware that a lack of engagement and alignment would cause a problem; they tried to mandate good behavior by publishing a statement of responsibilities: "Each of our employees shall make sure that his or her demeanor in public does not damage the reputation of the Volkswagen Group." I'm sure VW carefully selected - and maybe even agonized over - each word in their statements of mission, vision, and values. Did it work? Well, the answer is obvious. What's happened to the VW brand? Some employees inside knew what was going on, and they did nothing, and the price is really high. Now, this is an extreme example, of course, but the truth is, employees can make or break our organizations. Do mission, vision, and values help engage and align them?
Let's look at examples in the Life Sciences. Here are some of the mission statements of a few Life Science organizations: "deliver life-changing therapies," or placing the safety and care of patients at the center of our core values." These are all very noble goals, but ask yourself, would these mission statements guide your behavior if you were an employee? If you were facing these kind of challenges, would you turn to any of these mission statements for guidance in how to behave? The answer is no, and the reason was pointed out by John Kay, the author of a marvelous book: Obliquity. He discusses the disconnect between actions and purpose. To examine this issue, let's imagine that this person is a clinical monitor visiting the doctor's office, ensuring that a clinical trial is being performed correctly. We ask him a simple question: "What are you doing?" And he can give three possible answers. He could say, "I'm making sure the right dose of the right drug gets to the right patient at the right time," describing his basic action, or he could say, "I'm completing a clinical trial on time," describing his goal, or he could say, "I'm improving human health," describing his objective. The truth is, there's a disconnect between objectives and actions. Can a mission statement like, "I'm improving human health," give an employee the tools they need to deal with the kind of issues they face every day, like these issues? No. Mission, vision, and values are too high a level to offer useful guidance, and we all know that we can't rely on brand police to enforce the proper behavior. We can't buy proper actions from employees with higher salaries or other perks. We can't mandate and police correct behavior from above. Deputize every employee.
So, how do we engage, align, and retain? How do we deputize our employees? I want to talk today about a tool that will help with this: archetypes. Now, this is a big topic, and I can only provide a cursory introduction in the 30 minutes or so that we have together. If you want additional information, there are some white papers on our website that can help, but I'll give you an overview here. Let's dive in.
What is an archetype? Archetypes are common character types that we recognize from stories and everyday life. We recognize examples of these archetypes. Einstein is an example of a scientist, Odysseus, the hero, and when we come across a new story or a new character, we can recognize the role the character plays in that story. How? We recognize the patterns of attributes that this character exhibits. Scientists tend to be logical, curious, seekers of truth, among many other attributes. Each archetype has its own combination of attributes, and these combinations are patterns; patterns that we all recognize. Archetypes are universal: all cultures have stories of heroes, of sovereigns, of jesters. For example, if I described a character that exhibited strength, and courage, and faith, you would expect to see stamina, and I'm showing you stamina. Ballerinas are some of the fittest people on the planet, but armed warriors don't wear tutus. Now, some of you may be chuckling, and the fact that you are indicates that you expected the pattern to complete in a particular way: one that displayed a distinct combination of traits consistent with the particular archetype of the hero. Based upon the incomplete information that I gave you, you completed the pattern, and when audiences take incomplete information and expand upon it, and derive meaning from it, just as you've done while reading these incomplete letter forms, they're filling in the meaning. They're actually doing some of our marketing work for us. This makes archetypes an incredibly powerful marketing tool. People are pattern-matching animals. In fact, there's a name for the condition when people see meaning and patterns when none exist. We all, to some extent, have apophenia.
Now, we have to be careful, because all archetypical patterns contain negative components: heroes can be arrogant, and, in fact, some might argue that heroes have to be arrogant to stand at the mouth of the dragon's cave and believe that they are the one that can slay the monster, even though they're surrounded by the bones of their predecessors. But this arrogance, and other negative attributes of the hero, they can destroy our brand. There are negative attributes embedded in every archetype, so we have to be careful.
When we look at an overview of archetypes, we can classify them into 12 families, and we recognize examples of these patterns, whether we're talking about famous movie stars, or well-known women, or characters from stories and myths. Archetypes also show up in marketing. "Find your greatness." This is a call, as Shakespeare said, to screw your courage to the sticking point. To conquer your fear, to conquer your enemies, this is a call to be a hero, and that's very different than the call that REI is making. They're calling you to go find paradise, to explore nature with your puppy. Coke is an innocent brand: it's always the baby polar bear that slips down the slope and knocks over the adults. No one's hurt, and they all end up in a heap at the bottom where, "Ahhh," they enjoy a refreshingly cold bottle of Coke. In contrast, Pepsi is inviting you to become part of the in-crowd: a group that enjoys life and shares the joke, a joke in which we make fun of market leading Coke. Pepsi is a jester.
Archetypes are starting to show up in B2B life science marketing, though, in most cases, not very strongly. Covance's CRO claims, "Together, we'll drive real solutions." This is language that a companion would use, part of the lover family, and GE has long been the innovator, part of the magician family. There are thousands of archetypes we can use to engage, align and retain employees. 60 are shown here, but there are thousands, including many we'd never want to use in marketing: the sloth, the thief, the fraud, the con man, we'd never want to use these. There are thousands of archetypes - thousands of ways to engage, .
I want to show you some data from a life science organization that has been using archetypes. This data comes from a $500 million B2B services organization in the life sciences. We surveyed a large group of employees, and this data represents 260 responses. The size of the circles correlates to the number of responses, and this is presented using polar coordinates, so the farther from the center you are, the stronger the expression of a particular archetype. Except, we're not showing any data in the center, because it would overwhelm the presentation of any other response. Collectively, what does this data tell us? It tells us there is no consistent understanding of what this organization stands for. Here's the same data, and we look at the situation through many lenses. We ask what their products and services say about them and we ask what their culture says about them. In all cases, the answers are the same: we don’t know what we stand for. Then, we ask a really interesting question, "Who would you like to be in the future?" And now we can see a real trend. What the employees are telling us is very clear: we don’t know what we stand for, but we want to stand for something. So, we took this organization through our standard, clearly defined process for selecting an archetype, and as we did so, we steered them away from particular archetypes, because each sector has certain archetypes that apply to the entire sector. For example, service organizations in the life sciences tend to cluster around a few very specific archetypes: the scientist, the companion, the caregiver, the sage. These are the natural voices of many organizations in this particular sector, and they don't have to have an archetype selected to talk in a tone of voice that has some expression of these archetypes. So, you should avoid choosing one of these individual archetypes, because these archetypes are non-differentiated, and one of the big values that an archetype gives you is differentiation, and we'll talk about those benefits in a second. But, you don't have to avoid the entire family, for example, the sector might have many sages in it, but that doesn't mean you should avoid the translator.
So, again, we took this organization through a clearly defined methodology to select an archetype, and together with the leadership team, we arrived at the detective. Now, there are many types of detectives, aren't there? Some are suave and sophisticated, and some use methods that rely more on brute force, but all of them share some common attributes. These attributes form the basis for how we train our employees, for what the behavior of the organization should be, for what our tone of voice should be, and how individual employees should behave. This is not all the attributes that represent the detective, but even so, there are too many attributes for any employee to remember, so we reduce the number of attributes, and, in fact, we customize this set of attributes with the leadership team. Now, these are not the attributes that the organization in this example chose, I'm just providing these to give you a sense of how sophisticated you have to be when choosing an archetype. And these archetypes-- sorry, these attributes form one of the tools in an archetype toolkit. Now, this toolkit has lots of components: the attributes, specific language, expected behaviors, techniques to recognize and reinforce the desired behaviors, et cetera, et cetera. And one of the most powerful tools in this archetype toolkit is also the simplest. It's a simple question: what would the client X detective do? This question can guide our employees behavior; it can align their actions to the organization's purpose. For example, if employees run into challenges like those shown here, which tools would you rather give your employees to help them guide their behavior? Would you rather give them a set of attributes, or would you rather give them a mission statement, or a set of values? Your mission statement and your set of values, they tend to live only on the wall, laminated behind glass, but the attributes tend to be internalized by employees, and to show you evidence of this, we took these attributes and we trained the employees of this organization, and after six weeks of training - which is long enough so that they would forget any training that was ineffective - we saw real alignment among employees. They went from less than 25% well aligned to more than two-thirds well aligned.
Now, we all know that training can't be a one-and-done affair. We've got to reinforce the desired behavior, and, in particular, we've got to get middle management involved, and there are many specific techniques you can use to accomplish this. Now, this is the hard data, but we also have some input from someone involved in the process. "I think we are a great case study of how an archetype and brand can be used to bring together and align employees. It's been extremely useful with our acquisitions. Our latest came with some struggles around a reluctance to change their name. I did a presentation on the brand that made all of that go away. Same effect when we moved part of our team into another building - I did a workshop that got them totally aligned and excited about being part of our team." This was from the Director of Corporate Marketing.
So, archetypes can drive engagement, alignment, and retention, and there are many other benefits as well. If we think about the benefits that accrue to the organization, we get better alignment and engagement, and better decision-making. For the articulation of our internal and external messages, we get clear attributes and better articulation, and when we express and promote these messages, we get consistency, which means that when internal and external audiences look to us, they resonate with these messages, both in their head, and in their heart. And when they compare us to competitors, they see us as differentiated, which means we realize better pricing power and profit. Now, this is a bold claim, is it not? That the proper use of archetypes can bring more profit? But Young & Rubicam, the global ad agency, studied 50 very large corporations, including those shown here, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and they found that organizations that picked an archetype and stuck with it were more profitable than organizations that didn't have an archetype, or varied their archetype over time. Now, I want to caution you. You shouldn't confuse owning the tool with being able to apply it correctly. Just because you've casually picked some archetype, doesn't mean you'll be able to realize the benefits that I've talked about here. Archetypes are incredibly powerful, but they have to be used correctly.
So, let me summarize. Few employees are engaged or aligned and retention can be difficult, and unfortunately, your mission, vision, and values, while they're important, they won't engage or align employees, because they're too high level, and can't help employees guide their own actions. Of course, we can't mandate, impose, or police the desired behavior, we have to deputize our employees, and archetypes are a tool that can link purpose to actions. What is an archetype? It's a universal pattern we all recognize, and there are thousands of them. Each one has negative components, so we have to be careful. You should avoid picking the common sector-defining archetypes, because they're non-differentiating. You have to pick your archetype carefully, you have to customize your archetype carefully, then you need to deputize your employees carefully, and train your employees carefully in the meaning and attributes of your archetype. And this training can't be one and done. You must continually reinforce the desired behavior. So, how do we engage, align, and retain? Archetypes are one tool that can help us. They enable employees to link their behavior to our organization's mission, vision, and values.
I appreciate the time you've spent with me today, and I'll take a few minutes to answer any questions.
(HW) Hi, David. We have a couple of questions, actually. So, we have one from John, and John says, "David, how do you reinforce the desired behavior with employees?"
(DC) That's a great question, and there are lots of specific techniques you can use. Reinforcing behaviors involves getting employees to recognize their own behavior and recognize the behavior of their colleagues, and then you have to set up some reward system. It's not enough that employees recognize that behavior, there has to be something tangible that happens. There has to be some kind of action. So, it can be very simple, it can be you give away a poker chip, and the poker chip can be turned in for a Starbucks gift card of $10, $5, whatever. Or, it can just be, "Hey, your name goes on a plaque; you're the archetype of the week," something like that.
(HW) Makes sense, thanks, David. John, if you need any more clarification on that, just feel free to type in the box, but hopefully that was comprehensive. We have another question, David, from Andrea this time, and Andrea said, "Firstly, fascinating data on employee alignment. You've mentioned using archetypes to retain employees, but do you have any data on that?"
(DC) I wish I did. Obviously, that's going to be a longer-term study, much like a Phase IV study in drug development. So, while we're in the process of gathering that data, the data isn't in yet, and I wish I had the data I could share with you.
(HW) Makes sense, thanks, David. So, any more questions? It looks like we're done on the question front. So, in summary then, thanks, David. I've really enjoyed having you here today. Personally, I saw some really great value here. All too often in my experience, attempts at engagement, alignment, retention, or anything else, in fact, to do with employees that can be difficult, is given a cursory glance, or people will jump into something with a huge amount of effort, but no direction, and often end up making things worse, and what I like is that you’ve given an overview of a cohesive system that can be used to address all these problems at the same time, which is great. So, for everybody else, I hope you found David's talk to be as thought provoking and valuable as I have. If you'd like to hear more from David, you can either email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, if you go to David's website at formalifesciencemarketing.com, you can sign up to receive his white papers via the box, it's the bottom left, the home page, and so if you look there, you can find that. If you'd like to get in touch with me, you can reach me on email@example.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn. I'd be glad, personally, to share my insights on how you can apply my similar process-driven methodology to achieve breakthroughs in your hiring outcomes. An apology, so if you heard that, of some trying to Skype me. I'd also invite you to join our fledgling LinkedIn group, which is called Life Science Sales, Marketing and Business Development Professionals, which is jointly hosted by ourselves and the ACP-LS. We're looking to build it into a place for you to network amongst peers and gain insight from people who face the same everyday challenges that you do.
So, we're going to sign off now. Thanks very much all of you again for coming. Have a great rest of your week.