(excerpt from an interview with a Business Magazine in 2019)
Path to power
Marco Giannecchini was born in 1960 in Viareggio (Tuscany), Italy. He has a Medical Doctor Degree („summa cum laude„) from the University of Pisa. His past experience includes big pharma, cannabis, biotech and digital health companies, like GW Pharmaceuticals, Bayer HealthCare, Merck, Allergan, Shire, Mologen; he had roles in clinical development & operations, business development & partnering, marketing, corporate communication; he has lived and worked in Italy, Tuscany, before moving to (West) Berlin in 1987. He also advises and coaches several digital start-ups, and also universities on Product Launch excellence and FLOW-based Neuroleadership. He has been a keynote speaker at over 20 conferences all over Europe. He is also bestseller author of the book, “CREATE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE„, where he shares his insights on FLOW-based leadership, self and career management.
(Journalist) What has been one of the most important highlights of your journey to date?
Marco Giannecchini (MG) I would have to say publishing my first book, ““CREATE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE„, in the summer of 2018. It is not the „normal self-management manual“, butI do believe it is a practical guide on how to convince people, understand behaviours, to have an impact on how people think and what they do.
These are skills I have developed over the course of my career since I have seen how simply “doing great medical-scientific work” was not enough to have impact in the companies I worked for.
There was more – the bit that allows an „extraordinary manager“ to fully understand the point of view of their stakeholders, then do great operational work (e.g. in medical affairs), and then come back with powerful, action-driving stories. This book will help a lot of solopreneuers and managers feel more embedded in their organisations, drive deep and meaningful change, and be happier and more satisfied with their work.
(Journalist) If you could give today your „younger-self“ some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?
(MG) I would say,
“do not focus only on technical skills”.
The definition of success for an expert today is understanding problems (of customers) from a neuropsychological perspective (s. neuromarketing) and influencing behaviours (of relevant external and internal stakeholders).
There are four phases in the routine of a good problem solver ans agile thinker:
1) understand the problem of your customer;
2) frame the problem in analytics terms and solve it;
3) influence your stakeholders with resonating interactions (understanding the „limbic map“ of them and adapting your neurolinguistic negotional script to their limbic / emotional needs) to take action on your findings;
4) measure the impact of the work you did.
In the first part of my career I was focusing on steps 2 and 4,
but I have realized that 1 and 3 are what makes the difference between good and great managers, which is why I have decided to summarize my learnings in the book, hopefully to help other people grow and have bigger impact in their companies.
(Journalist) What do you expect 2020 to be like for the industry?
(MG) There are several trends that are already underway and I think they will accelerate in 2019. Machine learning will become ubiquitous: traditional retailers, farms, hospitals, mobility…virtually every industry is starting to see the benefits of machine learning and are starting to staff analysts and data scientists to help them make better decisions. As a result, ML and AI start-ups are growing and getting funded at incredible pace.
So, I believe in 2020 we’ll see even more concentration of investments on companies who offer data products or services. This will lead to a fight for talent. Traditional education is taking too long to produce enough people skilled in the data space and the demand from jobs is growing a lot faster than the supply of people.
This leads to two effects:
1) more job opportunities in senior roles for skilled people with higher salary opportunities;
2) a generic lowering of the bar at junior levels, where people will try to fill the skills gap quickly (typically with online courses) and have access to roles without solid foundations.
It will be hard for non-experts to understand e.g. what type of analyst or data scientist they need if they have no experience hiring that type of person. Ultimately, this will generate opportunities for recruiters to specialise in this type of talent, which is already happening, but also should stimulate thoughts within boards of directors of large companies which should realise the importance of having data-savvy people within their ranks. These skills are today as important as marketing, sales or accounting which is why, for instance, at booking.com we offer ML and AI training to members of the leadership team. I hope more companies will follow this example!
(Journalist) Talent and skills are always a challenge to find – how are you tackling this in your staff team?
(MG) The challenge is not just to find talent, it’s also to hire them as a very limited number of companies have the natural pull to attract talent.
Personally, I look for people who WANT to wake up every day and come to work.
Motivation is the number one trait I look for when I interview people because it’s the most useful skill to have when facing seemingly impossible problems or hard-to-deal-with stakeholders. To motivate them, I try to define roles in a way so they provide challenges, they look attractive to people, make them grow and learn.
In a word…making JOB CRAFTING together with my team members.
Important caveat: BE good, not just LOOK good. If motivation is there, then I check for commercial awareness (ie, to me someone working in medical affairs should be theoretically capable of doing the tasks the job requires and they need to have a business mind (being aware of the compliance and regulations‘ frames) and communication (ie, I always ask questions in the interviews I run saying, “can you explain it like you would to your grandmother?” to make sure they would be able to articulate technical concepts to non-technical people). Ironically, I never ask statistics questions. I would happily consider hiring someone that passes on my questions and fails at the technical ones because I believe people can learn these skills quickly, if they are motivated. Learning business awareness or communication is a lot harder, which is why it’s so important that young analysts and scientists work on improving on these skills early on in their career.