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Ron Sheeley

Ron Sheeley

Yes, No, Maybe…How To Make Decisions as a Front-Line Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Manager

Management Maxims in Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Sales


With close to 25-years of front line office-based and teaching hospital based District Field Sales Manager experience, with some hard knocks and missteps along the way, we put together our thoughts on everything from recruiting, team building, communication, decision making, to how to handle paperwork and emails, to how to write trip reports, to cases, Management Maxims and more, in a recently published book entitled “Managing In Pharmaceutical Sales…Pearls Among The Oceans Of Strategies.”  > Order Here

We had the good fortune of working with and managing some outstanding representatives who went on to become District/Regional Sales Managers, Sales Training Managers and Marketing Managers. We learned as much from them as they learned from us.

Every section of the book is devoted to what we learned in managing and teaching sales representatives. There is no fluff. We feel confident it will teach new managers how to avoid the mistakes we made and end serve as a refresher course to experienced managers,

One of the sections of the book deals with “Decision-Making” and what we learned came in a training class conducted by Urban “Joe” Hecker. The John Wooden, if you will, of pharmaceutical Filed Management…hands down the best teacher we ever had.  We feel confident in saying that your success and your Representative’s success depends on your ability to make decisions quickly, fairly and decisively. Whether it is making a decision on ranking a Rep’s performance or how much time should be devoted at a District Sales Meeting to analyze, interpret and understand a medical study, making decisions, in our opinion, is probably the most important aspect of management.  Here is what the Joe Hecker School of Management taught us on making decisions…we used it for close to 25-years:

Picture a square box with a line in the middle dividing the box in two and running from north to south and a line drawn in the middle of the box running from east to west.  What you have when you are finished is a square with 4-boxes the same size:

  • In the upper left square of the box write in “too much”
  • In the upper right square of the box write in “too soon”
  • In the lower left square if the box write in “too little”
  • In the lower right square in the box write in “too late”
  • In the center of the box draw a circle and write in the words “just right”

Put this diagram with the four boxes and the circle in the middle and put it on your bulletin board at your desk. Every time you have a decision to make, look at your decision as it falls within the squares of the box.

Is your decision “too late?” Or are you making the decision “too soon?” Or is there “too little” information for a decision?  Or is it entirely “too early” for a decision?

Be willing to make decisions. That is a very important quality in a good leader.  Avoid the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You have to be willing to fire when your decision is “just right”.

The Sheeley Consulting Group has one and two-day management training programs available for both new and experienced Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Field Managers.  Email us at [email protected] or [email protected].  We would love to hear from you and discuss your training needs.


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