Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to “Spread Love in Organizations”, a podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
This episode is very special. In partnership with ESCP Business School, I’ll be giving the mic to students, our leaders of tomorrow, to discuss with incredible healthcare executives about their journeys and leadership beliefs.
ESCP Students: Hello, I am Charlotte Périsset, special master’s student at ESCP Business School in Paris, and I’m thrilled to be joined by an outstanding innovative leader. General manager of Merck, France, and president of LEM, the French organization of pharmaceutical industry. Thierry Hulot has a degree in pharmacy and an MBA from Auschwitz Business School.
He started working at Merck in 1995 in research, in research and development in Lyon, in France. After a different strategic position, Thierry Hulot has taken on the role of general manager of the biopharma division of Merck in France. This lover of art is also involved in the defense of the interests of pharmaceutical companies in France as he was elected as the president of LEM in July 2022.
Thierry, it is such an honor to have you, to have you with us today. My pleasure is mine, Charlotte. Thank you very much. So to begin, um, we know that you have such an amazing career path and you are now involved in two main positions. So how do you deal with this position and your personal life and passion
Thierry Hulot: for art?
Well, actually, that’s a good question. And, you know, and well, there was elected as head of the trade association as well. My life is going to go completely south. So let’s take time to breathe and organized. And actually once upon the time when I did my MBA, I read only one management book and the name of the book was more time and less stress.
And it’s a very funny story because he says, let’s imagine that your boss. Drive into your office and say, Thierry, I have an outstanding project for you. You have, it’s a, it’s a unique career opportunity. It will take 25 percent of your time and you have to do it on top. And you are stupid enough, you will say yes.
And the worst is not only you will say yes, but you will deliver. So what is a learning, my friend, is actually in your current setting, you have already those 25 percent of time available. You ignore them. So organize yourself better. And you will find this air to breathe. So, it’s funny, every time, to say, oh, pause, what are the critical things I need to do, to achieve, to deliver today?
And I spend every morning time to, to really consciously think, what will make this day a success? And there’s no rewind. Time passes. So let’s make sure that this day will be successful and success include enjoying the enjoy, enjoying the show, enjoying the time, having fun in the drawing.
ESCP Students: Thank you very much for sharing your story. So, Perx, can you tell more about your greatest strengths as a leader and what are the biggest challenges you had to face in your career path?
Thierry Hulot: Well, I’m absolutely convinced that, uh, leadership has different facets based on people, individual personalities, and whatever is your facet, it’s okay.
As long as you’re authentic and authenticity is a super high value for myself. This is what I’m looking in others. And this is somewhere, I would say this is my north start.
The second part of your question is, what is the biggest challenge I ever, ever had? I would say it’s not one challenge. As I discover along the journey that in many, many situation, I was brutally confronted to completely unexpected situation. Situation that nothing in life. nor a university class, nor an MBA, nor a pharmacy degree can prepare you for.
But all your previous experience give you clues and insight on how to start addressing the problem. So my philosophy in life, my leadership is, guys, let’s be prepared for completely unexpected things. And the day they happen, Stay strong and solid on your on your value. Stay authentic. Stick current and on board your team.
ESCP Students: Thank you. It’s really inspiring. And, uh, to continue about the leadership, uh, what should today’s leaders focus on for the future, in your opinion?
Thierry Hulot: Well, I don’t know. It’s, it’s something really to focus on. What I would say is My leadership vision, you know, there’s many, many books on leadership and the one that works for me and hopefully for the team I want to inspire every day is quite simple and it has three basic rules. Every time I have a decision to take, the first question is, is the decision I’m going to take good for my company because I strongly believe in my company value.
I strongly believe in my. Company vision and mission. And so the question I’m not, is this good for theory or is this good for my department or is this good for the French affidavits I’m running? No, this is good for my company. Right? No, it’s Mac means it’s this link back to authenticity. Let’s assume that I will not be aligned with my company mission, my company vision.
I will quit because this is me first is have this high degree of coherence. Ask yourself. The decision I would to take is trying for my company. If so, let’s deliver it. And you know, when you’re a leader with a huge team, it’s not a send an email to the team and say, good luck, my, my friends, as at time, you have to be hands on with the team to help them solve the issue to get your hands dirty.
Time to time you have to make a deep dive into the details to understand the technicality of it, and really support the team by demonstrating. That you are and with and with them to solve the complicated issue and my third rule for leadership is at the end of the day in 1999 percent of the case. So one who will really deliver on the business.
It’s your team. So take care of your people. Take care of their development. Make them feel rewarded, acknowledge, give them opportunities. And with this, you can navigate.
ESCP Students: Thank you very much. Those are really great advice. Thank you for sharing your vision. Um, I have a question regarding, um, my experience and the experience of, uh, junior people.
Uh, what advice would you give to a junior who wants to have a strategic role in the pharmaceutical industry?
Thierry Hulot: Get started. Get started. And, you know, you don’t know which opportunity will pop up. And the, get, get started. And at one time, a dossier will come to your office, uh, an event will happen that will require people to be smart, to be engaged and jump on it.
Don’t, don’t shy, don’t hide, embrace the problem and, and speak up, speak it and then deliver, deliver on your commitment. Say, okay, I’m willing. To take the risk to truly help on this dossier, let’s get it
ESCP Students: done.
Thank you very much for this advice, Thierry. Um, just to, to, to be back on your leadership style, uh, can you define more, uh, about your, your leadership style? And can you tell us more about your point of view about this topic?
Thierry Hulot: Well, I already cover the basics, my, my free rules. We know when I have to decide what is good for my company, let’s be hands on.
Let’s really. Take care of the team and do this in full transparency and authenticity, you know, at time, uh, you’ll see also have to speak up and what we call here openly disagree. Now, let’s make sure you give space for your colleagues for your team to challenge you to disagree with you if they have a different opinion.
And at the same time, let’s have a very clear rules. We discuss, then we decide after getting everyone’s opinion, and once we have decided, we all act as one. We don’t second guess the decision, we don’t recook the decision, we have discussed with each other’s point of view, now it’s time for action. And this, let’s say, segregation of action.
Time for discussion, time for action. And when we act, we are all as one.
ESCP Students: Thank you very much for this inspiring vision. Uh, now I would like to jump to another section. I will give you one word and when to get your reaction about this word. Are you ready? Yeah. Okay. So the first one is leadership.
Thierry Hulot: Of course.
Leadership is fun.
ESCP Students: Thank you. Patient.
Thierry Hulot: Patient is on North Star. Sustainability. It’s a must, and I feel ashamed that my generation has ignored sustainability for far too long.
ESCP Students: Okay, thank you. And the last one, spread love in organizations.
Thierry Hulot: Well, uh, spread love in organization, uh, for me is another, and I would say more original, more creative way to tell every colleagues, you matter, and I’m going to take care of you.
ESCP Students: Thank you very much. So, uh, any final word of wisdom for health care leaders around the world you want to share?
Thierry Hulot: Guys, around our small planet, there’s millions of people suffering from highly, uh, disability disease. So there’s a need for innovation. There’s a need for new treatment. And you leaders in health care, young leader in health care, in the years to come, will be the one making the difference. to help all the patients. So embrace it. Don’t shy. And let’s start working, guys.
ESCP Students: Thank you so much, Thierry, again for your time and such an inspiring discussion. Thank you so
Thierry Hulot: much. Thank you. My pleasure.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you, Thierry. And thank you all for listening to Spread Love in Organizations podcast. We have such an important responsibility as leaders of today to plant the seeds for the leaders of tomorrow.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to Spread Love and Organizations podcast. We have such an important responsibility as leaders of today to plant the seeds for the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you all for listening to SpreadLove in Organizations podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs