|"I need people who are prepared to change the world."|
One result is that too many people can become risk-averse, not making big enough bets in a business that is built on risk and mystery. “I’ve said to people that my feeling is that if you’re a manager in our organization, not every day or every week, but every now and then, I expect you to bet your job. I expect you to come into me and say, ‘I’ll bet my job that this is right and we ought to be doing this.’ People should be prepared to do that,” Perlmutter says. He says people were quite surprised when he stood up and said that in front of the organization. “I’ve said,you know, if you’re not prepared to bet your job, why are you here? Because if all you’re going to do is manage in the traditional way, I don’t really need you here. I need people who are prepared to change the world.”First, I think this is management big-talk that's not going to really change the way that people work. Perlmutter already made the changes he wanted to make when he let a bunch of management layers go -- the rest is all noise.
I'm in some sympathy with Perlmutter in that he's like the general manager or a head coach of a football team -- only results matter. He's only measured in terms of successful new drug launches and the like -- if there aren't enough, no matter the reason, he might be out on his ear.
In another sense, however, one might suspect that Perlmutter is independently wealthy enough that he can make that sort of declarative statement, "If you don't like the way I'm doing things, you can fire me." Not very many scientists, or managers of scientists are willing to make those sorts of statements. And maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing most of his people won't be, either.