For 24 years, Charlie has been an information change leader in the digitization of Pharmaceutical Research and Development at Eli Lilly and Company. He has leveraged his degree in Systems Analysis from Miami University to modernize the pharmaceutical business in the areas of Automation of electronic submissions, Globalization of regulatory processes, Scale up of electronic data capture, Clinical information management and data flow architecture, and Improving experiences of employees and customers through new digital tools. He expanded his change leadership expertise as a certified Six Sigma Black Belt where he led IT, Sales and Global Pricing Strategy improvements. He learned the art of scale as a global infrastructure leader of a $130M technology enterprise and transformed the organization to a globally sourced, Microsoft-based organization. He provided strategic thought leadership for Research and Development to enable senior management alignment and a 50% increased investment in Information Technology. And now is responsible for the strategy and architecture of the Medicines Development IT organization. He continues to seek out significant change opportunities to showcase his skills in Information, Technology and Pharmaceutical Business leadership.
Charlie Haddad shares his story and insights from his journey at Eli LIlly.
Matt: My name's Matt Depero, I'm a member of cohort 5 and I'm currently interviewing Charlie Haddad, a leader at Eli Lilly. Go ahead and introduce yourself real quick?
Charlie: Sure. Thanks Matt. yeah my name is Charlie Haddad, I'm a 1992 graduate of Miami University in the systems analysis department, which is no longer in place. Um, But uh I’ve been at Lilly for 24.5 years so right out of college. I uh left here went to indianapolis, packed up my bags, got married that year as well so I'm uh 24.5 years and, uh, wedded bliss; Have uh 3 kids: one is a senior at Franciscan university, a sophomore here now Miami, and uh junior yet to come so we’ll see where he ends up.
Matt: Awesome. So um basically what the goal of this podcasts is gonna be is to just talk about leadership, uh transformational leadership and kind of get your ideas and perspective and experiences on kind of how has leadership played a role in your life and maybe try to get some insight for some other people who are interested in learning more about leaders as well. So I’ll just dive into our first question: what qualities and values do you see in peers who you would consider the strongest leaders on your teams.
Charlie: So to me the first...there- there's a foundational element to this that somebody has to have and it's a- it's a value system that um consists of integrity and honesty and and qualities that ensure that you can trust the person. So... so that's that's sort of a ticket to entry and um you know when you’ve worked with people in the past that haven't had that it's pretty easy to stop following them. Um, but that then sort of leads then to the next part of that. So you’re assuming that somebody has that most of us I think have those qualities, which is a good thing for this world. Um the next question I think about when you think about the leadership qualities is: how well can you follow somebody and so what does it take to follow someone? Well first of all they have to have a capability that knows where it's going and knows how to get there knows how to get through wherever they're trying to get to. So without a capability it's tough to follow someone. Um and you have to see that quality in them, it doesn't have to be necessarily the content itself but it needs to be something that can can organize um and uh drive a group forward. Um the second thing about following somebody is in order to follow them they have to be moving. So uh for uh me I want to see a leader that is is active themselves in whatever it is that they’re looking for me to follow them in. Um and then uh, and then the third thing is they need to be engaging. They- they’re gonna have to be a group of people that are going to have to move along with them. Um and unless they can ensure that they can motivate all around them, um and know how to. You have to understand, people have to understand each of their frame of reference: What motivates them um and recognize the tactics that they need to employ in order to keep people moving. So that's kinda how I think about what it takes to be an effective leader.
Matt: Awesome. So kind of you have this foundation of certain values and a kind of just foundational mindset that is a prerequisite to being a leader then you have to be forward thinking you know always be looking ahead. And like you said you have to be moving if you want someone to follow you and then you kind of have to wrap that up you have to also be engaging and kind of make people want to follow you as well.
Matt: Awesome. That’s really cool. So, kinda just next question, moving along, as somebody who has a lot of experience in leading teams and being involved: how would you consider a way that you motivate teams to rally around a common goal? How do you make people want to, to rally towards this kind of common objective.
Charlie: It's a few things. So first I think you have to have a common objective and it's got to be something that is, um, far enough… It's gotta combine sort of a vision, a far enough out vision that folks can look at and they can say “that’s somewhere I want to be”. It also needs to have a path to get there that people can see as achievable. So I think that's number one. The second thing I believe in is momentum. And um, you… I use a saying a lot that you can't steer a stationary car. So let's get the car moving, and then we can turn it in the right direction. And so um my belief is let's get a team going and that a team who has a vision, somewhere to go and knows how to get there and is making progress. Those are the first two steps to motivation. And then the third is to create an environment that they can all feel successful and that they can contribute their skills and abilities are. So it's gotta you know we’ve got a framework for working and leadership constructs for working. A contract if you will. Not a formal contract per say, but a contract that means to be a part of a team and we know how to engage with each other and that's something that you define. It’s also something that gets formed over time. Um, so so those would be the pieces I would put together.
Matt: Definitely. A part of that you mentioned was an environment you know? You want to make an environment for people to be able to, to foster and grow. Uh part of that is kind of the idea of culture and people um working in an environment that they want to be in. Could you talk a little bit on that environment and kind of expand a little bit on what type of environment do you think best facilitates good work?
Charlie: I think that depends on the kind of work. So um I just say-- I think there are some cultural elements at a foundation that are critical okay? So that um you know, we have a set of um cultural components at Lilly that are: respect for people, integrity and thirst for excellence. And that's what motivates all of us. So-- so that's already a common bond uh or what another term is “a background of relatedness” that we all share as part of a team because we wear the Lilly badge. Okay so that's-- that's sitting there but then it depends on the kind of work so if I'm leading a group of folks that are uh, you know responsible for managing a large IT ecosystem and-- and their job is to make sure it has high availability in and reliability that I care about effective process, I care about how to deal with incidents, I look at monitoring and—and-- and make sure that my environment is set up to do that. So I think it depends um… But usually come it has to do with the make up of a management structure, foundational culture, a management structure and then things that you would do that would set your physical space up to be conducive to the kind of work you're doing that would equip the people um with the tools um to support what you’re needing to do. And then create uh, you know sort of the team environment and the team activities. I’d also put that as well.
Matt: Awesome. Definitely. Do going on to our next question here: how do you go about making decisions on transitions in your career? You know it's funny because I talk to a lot of you know people who work in various companies and especially more senior members they seem to always end up somewhere a little bit different than maybe where they started. Or they kind of have this always interesting path that they go along with their career and how they move up and how they have horizontal transitions and vertical transitions. How do you make those decisions in where your career is going to go in the future and do you have any examples that you might be able to give um on major transitions that you've made in your career.
Charlie: So um as you think about things right in your career that-- that changes over the course of time, right? Because when I started out of college if someone were to ask me “hey where do you want to be when you’re 46 years old?” I don’t think I could’ve told them this job ok? Um, but-- you know throughout my career-- you know every experience that you have you learn more about yourself. And-- and you know one of the things that I’ve always said was I enjoy problem solving. I think that that’s probably the answer that I’ve heard the most in interviews when I interview students. “What do you like to do?” “Oh well I really enjoy problem solving that’s why I want to be in IT”. And I gave that same answer! Um and I still give that answer. But-- but I think that um… You know for me the choice of the course of my career has been… Um I always thought about um the kind of things I like to do. You know, I learned early on that I like leading transformational change. And so that’s… I think I’m ok at that. And I uh… And I learned early on at Lily that the area that I was working in was not the area that motivated me the most. It was the area that was closest to um, our customer: the patient. It was also the area that was closest to the sciences and so it sort of straddled those two dimensions. And so I could—I could see that I wanted to continue to be a leader of greater significance to the degree that I could be effective in this organization. I never said something that said I want to be the leader of the organization. And if, you know, come hell or high water I’m gonna be that leader. Um, But I said that I do want to continue to grow and do meaningful work and contribute to the best of my abilities ok? So that’s kind of the frame that I’ve had in my career and I’ve always used my decisions and transitions between roles to think about the skills that I need to grow. Um and that’s not always sort of a linear path that says “well if I don’t go to the next level in my next job then I’m not achieving my goal. Um, sometimes it’s about developing a skill that you know that you need to work on better. And so sometimes it’s about getting better visibility to people who wouldn’t see you otherwise so that um when it comes time to make a decision about how one of the—you know the top fifteen leaders in the company (in IT) that they would say “Ok yeah I know Charlie and I know that he can be capable of doing this”.
Matt: Definitely. So it kind of sounds like there’s two main components going on there. One,you obviously have to enjoy the work that you do and the company that you're working for, and then second, you have to kind of think of where do you want to be in the long term and then kind of make those strategic decisions to eventually get to that point whether that's focusing on a skill or focusing on visibility within the company. SO between those two kind of factors is kind of how, how you’ve weighed different transitions and stuff like that in the past. So the next question we have is give an example of a time you needed to re-evaluate a major decision that you made or potentially even a situation where you had to make a tough decision.
Charlie: So I think I've talked a little bit about this before when I talked about what makes, what makes a good leader and I think one of the biggest challenges, um, is to find the balance in a decision and all the actors that go into it. And the factors can include, um, you know, where are you relative to the external world, to your competition, what does your customer want, how capable is your team, what is, where are you in terms of the current environment and what what are the uh issues you need to overcome to get there. Um, with with with factoring all of that in, I mean I think that any decision you go through then becomes some combination of those, you have to work your way through, and how do you, uh the challenge then becomes how do you balance between those 4 or 5 or 6 replacements whatever they are that I just said, um, to get to an effective uh decisions. So, I, I’ll just give an example. Um, you know currently we’re working on a project, um, where uh we really don’t have as a company we don't have a whole lot of experience in this space. It's a brand new space for us as a company. Um, and we neither have experience on our uh on for the business objectives for what we want to achieve nor on the capabilities for how to achieve it. And so the the the choices were well we could go out and partner with a big company and you get something, we could contract with, someone and license their work, we could use the technology that some other company who's already done this as one of our competitors has used. And and all of those are valid decisions that you could make. And um folks who don't necessarily understand technology and aren’t responsible for the role that I've got can give you all kinds of thoughts and inputs on that. Um but at the end of the day you kind of have to mash all that stuff together and make a decision. In this case, what we said was we have a set of capabilities at Lilly that have been used in other circumstance like the one were dealing with. Um and it's probably the fastest way for me to get some momentum that can allow us to move. Especially since the business is also unsure in not knowing what they want. Momentum is probably more important than big deal right because momentum in this situation where you can shift along the way is the kind of environment that helps someone who doesn't know exactly where they're going. Right, they can say I want to go west and you can get to St. Louis and you might find you really wanted to go a little further north so then you can head up to Des Moines. Um and then you can kind of narrow it back to to uh Denver right um and along the way they can tell you when you're still making progress going west. But they can tweak it along the way because you have more experience in that space than you and I’ve I've had other decisions where you know back to the days of my infrastructure world where we're looking to globalize infrastructure processes and tools where that decision was much more about we needed to to create a much much faster change and we were doing work that wasn't novel in the world and uh we needed to address some near term cost savings. And so in that case our decision was a bit more aggressive than um then taking something that we've already had and tweaking it. So it depends.
Matt: Definitely and I think that definitely makes sense you have to approach every major decision you know in in the context of that decision for sure and so one something that might be more valuable for one thing might be less valuable for the other but I think you said it best at the beginning is you have to just weigh a lot of different factors and kind of decide which of those factors are most important.
Charlie: Yeah and I let me just go through those again because I mean it wasn’t as clear before but to me I think that it's the long term goals of the company it's the short term goals of why you're making a change. It's how things as as a company compared to the outside world and the capability that you have to move on the inside I think it's probably boils down to those 4 things that um you generally work your decisions around and then there's always obviously, cost. It's always in there somewhere.
Matt: Definitely and then just kind of deciding which of those are most important for the situation.
Matt: Very cool. How have you seen your leadership style change as you developed and grown through your experiences whether at Eli Lilly or potentially in your personal life as well, how have you seen that kind of leadership style that you present to change from throughout your career and throughout your time.
Charlie: I think the biggest change for me it it you know as you start your career you um you've been trained at a very fine university like Miami University and you have all these skills that you can leverage and and you're the expert. So when when you are working on a project, leadership looks like I'm gonna go do this, right.. And um I think the biggest learning over the course of my career is how to bring the team with you how to get everybody motivated and engaged around you um and to do that per the way that we talked about that before right by saying here's what I want to go, let's get some momentum and uh let's make sure that the team, is with you. And I think the biggest thing um particularly um in a company uh like Lilly where I work which is um... There are there are different kind of company’s there's hierarchical companies. Where you do what the boss says. And then there are um. Relationship companies where our. It's much more consensus oriented and and Lily as a as an innovation company and as a research company. Uh is more the latter so much more relationship. And academic if you will the way that we rehearse things. Which means you got a lot of smart people who have really good opinions have been successful in their careers, that you now need to figure out how to motivating and get, get along with you so I it's it's that's a process that takes time and to develop patience over the course of my career is probably been one of the biggest personal, uh, gross journeys that you know my, my view about this difference between short term and long term when I was 25 was short. Longterm is right now why can't I just get this done. And um and you sort of you sort of learn through hard knocks that you had the, the process is actually not about getting to necessarily the best answer it, it does help with that too. But its actually as much if not more about getting people aligned with you to an answer and the more that you can get folks along with you the, the faster you can move once it's time to make that decision.
Matt: Yeah, just kind of pulling something out of there you mentioned that there's sort of two different types of, of leadership environments in companies you have this kind of hierarchy where you know do what the boss says and you have this kind of relationship style where there is somebody who's quote on quote above you but it's much more relationship and more you know agreeing with each other and coming to a consensus. Do you think that there's more value on one versus the other? Do you think of situations where maybe hierarchy environment might be better or you think there like, what value do you think both of them might have and why do you think Lily chooses to go with the style where it's more a relationship?
Charlie: Um. So yeah I think that both are very valid and you know it if I’m, I've never been in the military okay, uh, I've been in, in high stress crisis situations, in managing global infrastructure. And when you're in those situations it's good to get incorrect. But you've got to make decisions right, if someone's you know if someone's life is depending upon, something. And you have fourteen people in the room trying to figure out what to do, That person is probably gonna die, so you need somebody, to quickly gather all the right inputs, make a decision and move and people have to follow. So in those types of circumstances, a hierarchical leadership style is, is critical it's essential right. Um you know for Lily because Lily is you know that there and I would say this about pharma in general. Okay so, um. Pharma or, or pick, pick Boeing as an airline manufacturer. Um, these companies that have or or sorry I'll give you one more, or Tesla, Elon Musk right, these companies that have a play for the long term, uh there are so many ways to achieve the long term. When you're goal is 9 years out, there's an infinite set of paths to get you there. And uh you do need someone guiding you, you need that person that's kind of making the decisions to keep the momentum going but you also really need the benefit of the perspectives along the way because in the long run a lot of things change. Therefore a lot of perspectives are needed to stay on vector. And so that's why I think Lilly’s style is what it is um and you get the benefit of them all of these different perspectives coming together to think about these hard problems. And you can identify different paths different spin off areas in ways that you can address problems that you wouldn't necessarily have thought of or things you can add on to it.
Matt: Definitely so kind of summarizing that a little bit from what I got it sounds like when it's a short term high strung high stress situation you need somebody to be kind of taking charge and say this is what needs to get done, let’s do it right now, but when you're thinking more long term when you're thinking of gaining, or potentially even you don't know exactly where you need to be, you need those different perspectives and you need to make sure that people are open to that kind of collaborative environment.
Matt: Definitely so just moving along into our next question, um, how what are some, what’s some advice that you would give about leadership or leadership development to somebody who's new to leadership, somebody who might you know just be getting started in like a management or leadership role or somebody just out of college? What would be some advice you’d give to someone who is brand new to this idea of leadership?
Charlie: Well I think the, I mean I think the first thing of being a leader is recognizing yourself as, as capable of being a leader and, and being confident in yourself in that. And I think the first way to do that is to do, is to lead yourself. And to do the things that have been asked of you. So that's, that's sort of the first simple one. Um you know I think it moving, so that's, that's what I would say about people coming right out of college and I would encourage them to look around and look at people and not just as you can kind of assess what they say in their content, but, but look at how they do it, look at their mannerisms look at their uh their words how they engage their team, how they ask questions, and all of this. So kind of assess people's leadership style because you know you see ones, and then you say well I like that part of this person and I like that part of that person but I don't like either one of their overall leadership style because they’ve got this fatal flaw that I, I can't deal with. So, so figure out what it is that, that makes you tick um and becomes your style. I think there's, there are some mechanics um for new supervisors that are critical. So particularly around um human interaction and, and emotional, uh intelligence and uh understanding styles and perspectives and how to engage people recognizing that um you know, just because somebody’s quiet doesn't mean that they aren't the person that ought to be the best contributor to the team so really getting some of those team dynamics skills um is is really important for a new leader and then being able to to practice those over the course of time. Um and then I think the third thing is find a passion. Find- figure out why you're doing what you're doing you know I... So I get the I get this great job um where I’m I've got a team that does not report to me. And none of the people on my team are in a management position. But my expectation of every single one of them is that they are a leader within their functional team because that their role as the basically the lead architect for an area. And um what I tell them is that um you have absolutely no accountability none whatsoever so don't pretend like you do. But that but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't work really hard to be a leader and to influence and and and drive the organization I tell them that they do not have any authority. Um to make decisions okay they have to influence everyone. The ones that are best at that, are the ones that have a passion, they get engaged in understanding the area, they are obviously they're capable people. But when they go after something they're going after it in a way that's engaging with others and with that passion that's that's unceasing right? They keep going after it even if it's not the answer that they thought they know that they need to get to an answer keep working it. And I think that passion is what um what we all tend to see in the best leaders and we can we can follow them when they have that.
Matt: Definitely. So it kind of boils down to the 3 things you mentioned like first off you have to be to be a good leader you have to be a good follower you have to be able to do to get things done and get your obligations out of the way before you can start delegating obligation somebody else or being able to have someone follow you and then second you mentioned there's kind of those mechanics there’s certain skills and certain values that you know you can learn through readings or learn through other people and kind of find what skills and values you know are out there and are most applicable to leadership and then the third you mentioned was just that passion you need to be someone who wants to be able to try to better the organization. You need to be somebody who enjoys what they do and has a passion for.
Matt: Perfect so I'm getting close to the end here but moving on to the next question how do you encourage creativity in your organization? How do you encourage creativity among members of your teams.
Charlie: That's a good one too. So um you know I think I think that the biggest thing to creativity is to be able to first uh know what the- it’s back to the long term, know what the long term is, know the customer. And I don't mean the person that you serve, but the person that you serve that they serve that they serve so you gotta find the end of the chain and then work your way back. Um I think especially in IT. But too often we get in this, this servant role. Where, umm, in fact work we’re taught, right, go collect requirements. And so we go ask for requirements and we get requirements and then we do them. And to me that's not, that doesn't foster creativity. Um in fact typically it actually leads to a failed outcome, because customers typically can't express what they want, what they really want. They express what they understand, they don't express what. So yeah I think that the first thing about that is is really to understand the customer, to get in their shoes and again I mean the end customer find whoever that is. I think the second is, it is to give people an opportunity to try things out. And what is cool about technology is, is we've got the ability to prototype things and we can create whether it’s wireframes or whether it's actual functional prototypes or physical if we’re talking about some of the combinations between engineering and technology, in software you can, in software you can create these models that, that you can use as an expression then of what you think you want to go after and why and you can tell your story about what it is and then people can start adding to it and and and giving you ideas. Um so so that's the second part um and then I think third is is uh is giving people an environment that um that fosters creativity as appropriate. So I think the challenge that I've seen a lot about creativity um I’m gonna let me talk about the environment piece then I’ll come back to the challenge. I think an environment is is is a physical place so I think I I firmly believe in having a physical environment that allows for collaboration, allows for sharing of ideas because creativity I don't believe it very rarely does it come from a person. It comes from an idea that that works the phone game and becomes something that is very creative as a result and sometimes there's a person that’s the instigator of that that’s an exceptionally creative person. Um but uh inevitably the others are adding to it. So I think that's the environment piece. Um when this collaborative on that is you know open and gives people the chance to interact. I do think the challenge with creativity is that there's a time and place for it. So um again if you come back to the 2 examples that we we talked about earlier in a crisis uh creativity can help for the first 10 seconds. After that, it's execute right? The Apollo guys have a lot of creativity to get their way around the moon. Um but they also acted very quickly. Uh with the tools that they had. And what all too often what I see around the creativity thing is you know is if the Apollo guys would sit there and think “Well yeah I I see that I have duct tape but boy if I really you know if I actually had this other booster rocket that I know is sitting over there on the moon then then you know we might be able to work our way around this this problem”. And and the reality is is you're not gonna get it. So let's not have that conversation in the context of the time horizon in the circumstances we’re in and so I think that tends to also be a challenge with creativity is how to find the right balance between getting whatever the work is that needs to get done in the time frame that it needs to get done and giving people the latitude within that set of constraints to find the most creative way to achieve it.
Matt: Mhm, definitely. It kind of boils down to 3 kind of main things first off you have to know what your goal is not just on a surface level you need to know a full understanding of what does your customer want, what is the end goal you know and not just requirements but actually fully understand it, and then the kind of this last two are kind of this idea creative space first in the sense that you need to be able to test and play around and kind of have a sandbox for all the different things that you can do and be able to experiment and fail and not be held back by failure and then also the idea of collaboration and a creative a space in the sense that you can work together on things and have those ideas foster and grow and bounce off each other and then all in a sense that you need to keep yourself realistic and not spend all of your time being creative but also understand time constraints and you know actually execute on that creativity.
Charlie: Yeah I’m going to come back to the understand word because they understand the goal and so we have 5 senses right? So so it's so it's all of them. Right, I need to feel it, I need to hear it, I need to see it, and I need to touch it. These are these are the things that I need to be in it. I need to be empathetic to it. So um back to it being a deep understanding I don’t want it to just be a goal or I don't want it to just be I understand it because I think too often we sit there and say you know “I understand what it's like to be a patient”. It's really hard to know what's going on in somebody's brain and how they’re feeling. And if you're trying to solve for that and you don't understand what it feels like to be one of those people it’s hard. So that’s why I come back to that first thing to be creative around that it you know you need to, I hate to say it but, you need to have cancer (we don’t need to have cancer that’s not true) but you need to really get into the person the person's psyche and and the their family and their environment. In all of this that's the thing that you have to learn and and uh get get deep.
Matt: Definitely. Definitely. So uh moving on to our last question here just to kind of wrap everything up, how do you personally continue to grow and develop as a leader in your daily life you know professionally and also potentially personally.
Charlie: You know every day is uh... Every day is a learning opportunity and yeah um, I reflect on watching my kids now grow up and and you know when you're with them every day you tend to not see the small incremental changes that occur. But when you step and you step back and take a look at things in larger chunks you can really see big changes. I think as a as a um uh sort of as... if you think about my life if I think about my leadership journey um, you know like I said I was just at this conference yesterday and and it was uh I had a very inspiring conversation just by chance with somebody who’s affiliated with Lilly and they were sharing their perspective on Lilly and they've been involved with Lilly for many years. It didn't didn't have to be somebody from Lilly but their comment was something about you know how do you how do you inspire people to be um to be bolder in the way that they work. And and I was sitting here listening to this conversation engaged in the conversation. Um I couldn't tell you what was happening around me because I was in the conversation and uh I I I was reflecting on myself right, that entire time and how bold was I? Was I bold enough? Did I fit the level, the threshold, that this person was defining as bold. Um and maybe sometimes I am and certainly sometimes I’m not. Uh you know so that's an example where I to me I view that journey as one that happens at any point and time. And uh in fact even in reading the questions that you're asking me uh right now you know and forcing me to think about some of these things is a chance to reflect and think about what my style is and think about what I still uh need to work on you know if I have to answer the questions of what makes a good leader, which I didn't, and then I and you know I'm doing this while I'm asking that question because I said one of the things you have to do is be able to set yourself against that. I’m assessing myself and I know the things that I am okay at and the things that I'm better at and the things that I’m worst at, at least I think I am. Um and what I don't know I've got to go check with it on the blind spots. And I think that's that's this journey. You never know when that that event is going to occur. And you always have to be engaged and prepared to take some key learning. Um and and apply it to the journey that you’re on.
Matt: Awesome! Well I'm glad we could provide you that opportunity. Unfortunately that is all the time we have. Um we really appreciate everything that you’ve done coming out you know giving this interview and helping us with our project. Uh so thank you very much for the time, we really appreciate it.
Charlie: It's my pleasure Matt. I really appreciate being here it’s been fun.
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