The importance of vision

Yesterday, I had the privilege of representing GSK at the North Carolina CEO Forum. GSKhas a long history in NC--for decades, we've had a major presence in Research Triangle Park and in Zebulon, where we have a large manufacturing operation,

The theme of the Forum was innovation and I spoke about the importance of curiosity, vision, flexibility, and risk-taking to create a high-performing, innovative, and sustainable business. 

I pointed to how we have re-personalized our approach to R&D so we could be more productive, how we've changed the way we provide bonuses to our sales force to better align with our customers, and how we've used tier-pricing to make our medicines available to people around the world who need them.

Because the 400 attendees at the Forum were from many different industries, I emphasized that in our business, you also need to have an eye on the long-term. Research and development for a new medicine or vaccine often takes a decade or more, costs hundreds of millions of dollars, and involves many more failures than successes. That's exactly the opposite of what's needed to succeed in the rapidly shrinking cycle of global competition from innovation to implementation and back again.

Many times, we've jumped tracks to adapt to a changing environment. Sometimes true innovation demands it. It's not always easy, and we've had to manage a few challenges to keep our business moving forward in the short-term.

But we're lucky, I think. Each member of our team has shown the commitment required to push through the inevitable challenges that occur on the road to doing what other people say can't be done. And that is what allows us to make good on our promise to help people do more, feel better, and live longer.