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The Power of the Human Touch: Building resilience and agility in uncertain times

The Power of the Human Touch: Building resilience and agility in uncertain times.

Maxine Smith, Managing Director, Uptake Strategies 

Melissa Dagless, Head of Growth and Innovation at Uptake Strategies, writes in her recent article for PME Magazine that in today’s uncertain times, planning for unexpected changes is crucial.

While having a good brand plan is helpful, it may not be enough to navigate the constant changes we face. Instead of sticking rigidly to a plan, it’s important to develop a culture of curiosity and gather insights to quickly adapt to emerging trends. By being proactive and flexible in planning, teams can build confidence and resilience. Ultimately, the goal is to create a brand that has a positive impact on patients, clinicians, and the organisation throughout the year.

The human connection in uncertain times

In times of uncertainty, focusing on people is more important than ever in planning for the future. While technology and data can provide valuable insights and help us to make informed decisions, it is important not to overlook the human element. We need to remember that we are all human first and employees, leaders, customers, patients, colleagues etc second. By involving people with our human and empathetic mindsets in the planning process and encouraging a culture of open communication and collaboration, we can harness the power of diverse perspectives and experiences to develop more robust and resilient strategies.

Furthermore, the human touch can also help to build trust and empathy, which is particularly important during times of crisis. By taking the time to understand the concerns, issues and needs of stakeholders, we can better anticipate potential challenges and respond in a way that is both effective and compassionate.

In short, while technology and data are valuable tools, they are not a substitute for basic human curiosity, care and connection. By balancing the strengths of both, we can create a more holistic approach to planning that is better equipped to handle the uncertainties of the future.

Agility and resilience

The pharmaceutical industry, like many other industries, has experienced significant uncertainty and disruption in recent years. Factors such as changing regulations, shifting patient needs, and the ongoing pandemic have all created challenges and opportunities for companies in this sector.

In this context, the ‘being human first’ approach is critical to effective planning and decision-making. For example, involving patient advocacy groups in the development of clinical trials or drug development programs can provide valuable insights into the people that are living with these conditions, their needs and preferences, ultimately resulting in more people-centred solutions, not just considering the ‘patient’ needs.

Beyond external stakeholders, the human factor is also important within pharmaceutical companies themselves. Encouraging open communication and collaboration between different teams and departments can help to break down silos and foster innovation, ultimately leading to more effective solutions.

Ultimately, by embracing the human touch in planning processes, pharmaceutical companies can create more agile and resilient strategies that are better equipped to navigate the uncertainties of the future.

Further reading

The following references illustrate how ‘the human factor’ can enhance planning and strategy development by bringing diverse perspectives, fostering collaboration and communication, and building trust and empathy.

  1. “The Human Factor: The Critical Importance of Effective Leadership and Decision Making in a Crisis,” a report by the World Economic Forum, emphasizes the importance of empathy, collaboration, and clear communication in crisis management and decision making.
  2. “The Human Factor in Strategy Execution,” an article by Harvard Business Review, highlights the importance of engaging employees and stakeholders in the strategy development process to ensure alignment and commitment.
  3. “The Power of Human Connection in Times of Crisis,” an article by Forbes, discusses the importance of building trust and empathy with stakeholders during times of uncertainty, and how this can lead to more effective decision making.
  4. “Leading with the Heart as Well as the Head,” an article by McKinsey & Company, argues that the most successful leaders are those who balance analytical thinking with emotional intelligence and empathy.


Gain a deeper understanding of how to plan for the unpredictable in pharma brand planning within our latest article, the first in the ‘Innovative Impact’ series for Pharma Market Europe magazine. Discover invaluable insights into brand planning during uncertain times by clicking here.