How to Build a Strong Leadership Team When You Have a High-Growth Business

So your company is expanding fast – great! But, now the question is how to build a strong leadership team to help support this growth. Failing to do this may cost you significantly.

| April 4, 2022

Written by: Paul Cashman

Demands On Leadership In Rapidly Growing Markets

Biotech is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet, having seen 3+% YoY growth for several years running. In major hotspots, like the Boston biotech and med-tech community, the numbers are twice that. Explosions drive those gains in the popularity, applications, and recognition of personalized medicine, especially cell and gene therapies, and will continue to be driven by cutting-edge advances over the coming decade. Some estimates put the market size at almost $2.5 trillion by 2028.

But that rapid expansion creates a problem for most firms. Operating at the cutting edge means taking on risks. It means that executive decisions need to be not just clever and well-informed but creative and inspired. Anything else will result in missed opportunities, lost market share, or flat-out failure to build and maintain a team that’s up to the job.

Many potential leaders are failing to live up to that high standard. A major DDI report points to some reasons why. The report notes that almost 40% of leaders promoted internally end up classified as failures; fewer than a quarter of tech companies rate their overall leadership quality as “high.” The central problem, their data suggest, is inconsistent, unplanned, and unmanaged leadership development, especially at lower levels. As a result, talent is overlooked or – which can be worse – badly over-estimated.

There are ways to handle these challenges and reliably identify, develop, and promote the leaders your organization needs.

Building A Leadership Team That Will Succeed

LifeSci Search is launching its Board Advisory program, centralizing and streamlining our ability to assist companies with internal leadership development. We use a rigorously evidence-based approach to help you build skills, practices, and programs that will provide you with the leaders needed. The program has three focuses:

  1. Culture. Leadership development depends on the right kind of social pressure. Mentorship and coaching should be baseline expectations throughout your organization.
  2. Assessment. The metrics you use to measure potential and assess growth need to be visible, reliable, and thorough. You should benchmark performance, forecast key outcomes, and visualize data.
  3. Mindset. Success profiles, and other tools for identifying future leaders, need to be context-specific and evidence-based if they are to be used to direct growth over time. Firms with more diverse leadership perform better, but their potential for excellence can look different across employee groups. We’ll help you find it.

The results of solid leadership development can be exceptional. Firms that extend these programs to lower levels of leadership are more than four times as likely to outperform competitors. And transparent, well-supported internal development programs are among the best drivers of performance overall.

What we try to do is make that process easier. The time pressure of advancement, along with the intense pressure to retain and incentivize talent in the biotech and med-tech spaces, means that it can be challenging to identify employees’ long-term potential accurately. Getting it wrong can come at a significant opportunity cost. Getting it right is hard without outside help – managers’ biases often blind them to details they should see.

Our clients come to us for help with a range of specific problems related to talent identification and internal pipelining, the most common of which are the following:

  • Finding that current leaders or past hires cannot organize, inspire, or coach their assigned teams.
  • Disorganization or information-gathering difficulties caused by remote work or operations spread over multiple locations.
  • Difficulties identifying quality internal candidates for critical roles due to a lack of leadership development or insufficient assessment.
  • Lack of clarity on the changing nature of successful leadership; concerns that their current models are not adequate to continue promoting growth.
  • Inadequate tools for producing an overview of the organization’s total talent base.

These are challenges that can only be addressed with expertise. It’s possible to learn by doing, using trial and error to put together an excellent, industry-leading talent development program. But that’s both time-consuming and, typically, comes with high upfront costs. A more efficient option – most of the time – is to engage professional help.

Ready to realize your future?