The overwhelming frequency of failure in trying to bring a safe and effective biotech, pharmaceutical or medical device product to market is truly astounding. This research synthesizes industry leaders' insights on lessons learned from reflecting on professional disappointments.
This research used a qualitative approach to learning from the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Scientific Officers (CSOs) and Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) of the most successful life science firms in the USA. A total of 45 industry leaders were interviewed regarding their lingering regrets about their career misadventures.
Regrets were unavoidable because there were opportunity costs for every choice each leader made. Commentary about wisdom gained comprised themes regarding valuable time lost, strategies that could have been enacted, products that failed and essential personnel who were not managed optimally. Contrary to expectations, there was little mention of money that was squandered.
Not felt as a solely negative emotion, regrets were recognized by these leaders as a potentially positive influence on their future decisions. Not felt as a solely negative emotion, regret was recognized by these leaders as a potentially positive influence on their future decisions. This exploratory study suggests that learning from retrospective and anticipated regrets benefits life science leaders in gaining clarity of thought regarding their current business challenges. Because prior research on the value of psychological regrets has mostly relied on limited samples, this inquiry contributes a new vantage point by examining a unique population of senior business leaders, thus providing broader applicability to the organizational literature.
Meldrum, H.M. (2021), "Reflecting or ruminating: listening to the regrets of life science leaders", International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 77-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOTB-06-2019-0069
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited