People First, Always- Paulo Teixeira, General Manager, Pfizer Portugal
We are living unique times as the result of an unprecedented global health crisis, not only at a corporate level, in which we redefined priorities and innovated the way we work, but in all aspects of our lives. Social distancing became part of our routine and, for the first time in many years, we felt the weight of the restrictions upon our freedom. Managing working from home and family life has been a challenge, which accelerated the migration of digital contacts, processes, business and brought a tremendous change in people management. Companies had to adapt to new working methods, more flexible and at a distance, thus creating new communication channels that allowed to reinvent normality. Sometimes it is a shock like this that can accelerate changes in the way we live and work. The digital transformation has arrived and there is no turning back.
People are and will continue to be a determining factor for the success of companies. They are what make companies unique and, often, dealing with these differences is the biggest challenge for managers. What was once a story about the future, is now a reality that will have a direct impact on work relations. Communication will increasingly have to be at the center of human resource management policies as it is a powerful tool for promoting transparency and team engagement. Good internal communication – which was already essential pre-pandemic – will now need to be further intensified. Human skills will gain prominence in the future, and collaboration, trust, empathy and creativity will stand out.
The role of leaders in organisations will also change, not only in the employees’ expectations, but also in how they see this role. Big steps have been taken towards network management, leaving hierarchical management behind. The future will increasingly put more focus on facilitating the exchange of ideas, the flow of conversations across the organisation and providing greater autonomy at the center of a team as well as at individual level. The shift from “top down” to what we can see as “alongside” is a crucial component of the equation.
This change also presents an opportunity to intervene more effectively as management tracks the performance of working teams and projects whilst using collaborative platforms across the company. The high level of transparency that is now possible also encourages and supports a greater sense of personal responsibility.
This is the time to think about people, to pursue bold ideas and to transform ourselves as individuals and as managers. People first, always.
With 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Paulo Teixeira is, since 2016, the General Manager of Pfizer Portugal. With a degree in Sociology and an Executive MBA, he has been in charge of different business areas in the Company since 2005. He is also Vice-President of the Board of Apifarma, member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Portugal (AmCham Portugal) and member of the National Strategic Health Council of CIP (Confederação Empresarial de Portugal).