• Healthcare
  • Blog Post

Setting up long-term growth is a marathon – not a sprint

Publish Date

01 FEB 2023


Javed Alam


Earning trust, harnessing momentum, and engaging the wider team are all essential to building something even greater.

Six months into my new role as Managing Director of EMD Serono, Canada, I’m focused on adding to the great momentum I’ve found at the company. As a ‘builder’ by nature, I’ve started that process by nurturing what’s working well, before turning to our longer-term strategy.


We’ll start by laying the groundwork
Growing and innovating in a changing landscape and unpredictable world means reimagining how we work together, and with our customers – all in service of the patient. It means being flexible, creative, taking calculated risks and learning from our past. Doing that sustainably takes planning and preparation. That’s why we have been building on the existing framework so we can continue to grow and help support even more patients.

In a post-pandemic world, we need to remind ourselves the importance of team work. I encourage us all to create new and refresh the existing relationships we have with each other, starting with our own teams, then across functions. I’ve committed to connecting with as many people as I can, whether that’s in person, virtually or otherwise, to understand the culture and organization, get a quick sense of our strengths, risks and opportunities, and of course, any pain points. Just last month, I had a wonderful opportunity to do so in-person at our annual all company meeting; the first time in three-years where we finally could all be together to kickoff the new year!  

What are we looking to do right away?
Short to mid-term, we’ll look for quick wins to benefit patients, stakeholders and our teams, create efficiencies and examine the ‘why’ behind the way we do things. We are also getting ready to maximize our upcoming launches, to make sure we continue to deliver on our higher value goals of broadening access to treatment for patients who need it, and helping to improve, create, and prolong lives of Canadians. It’s incredibly important we get these launches right, because no matter how you look at it, they represent the biggest opportunity for patients.

In our specialized business teamwork is so important
A diverse team that can bring unique value to the table is key. To help us get there, I coach for success and create space for people’s development. That means agreeing on what that success looks like and balancing that against wider organizational goals. All of this is crucial, because ultimately, an engaged and involved workforce is empowered to take ownership – and that is what gives you the strength to compete externally.

It’s important to remember trust doesn’t just happen overnight – it’s a deposit that grows over time. You can accelerate that journey by building close working relationships, having open conversations, and setting clear expectations.

As we refresh our strategy, we’ve been engaging people early, involving them in ideation, taking feedback, co-creating across functions. And we’re bringing everyone along for the ride as we unite as a team behind a strong vision.

What’s the longer-term plan?
Longer term, everything’s on the table for exploration. From our internal culture to new technologies and processes, to how we can excel for patients, customers and all stakeholders. Our vision is to expand and grow through empowerment and collaboration across teams. The result should be a stronger organization that can serve more Canadian patients and deliver on helping to create, improve and prolong life for people living with difficult-to-treat conditions.

I’m also a big believer in sharing best practices. I think the High Impact Culture in our Canadian business will help us to deliver on our potential, export some of our best practices and our people within our global network as we move confidently forward together, to grow and build something even greater.