Despite the challenging characteristics of the Romanian market, with a large population of nearly 20 million people and significant unmet medical needs, the country will undoubtedly continue to be strategic to multinationals in the region. This also means a consistent cycling of general managers, whether they are dispatched to the market from another country or move up through the affiliate operations. Indicatively, half of the multinational pharmaceutical association ARPIM’s member companies are currently led by foreign general managers.
With newcomers potentially feeling daunted by the myriad of external hurdles, here are some pearls of wisdom from fresh and veteran Romanian GMS alike:
[New general managers should] be prepared for the challenges ahead as the environment is tough. However, it offers equally many opportunities to grow and learn
Be curious, listen, and spend time exploring this beautiful country. There is no one flavour or one-size-fits-all. Each country is unique
Witness the reality of the healthcare system by going in the field. Once you see it for yourself, it will motivate you differently and push you to do more for the Romanian patients
My integration in Romania was quite easy. People are very friendly and welcoming. My advice would be to integrate yourself completely into the team, not only professionally. I would advise having regular conversations over a cup of coffee with every single person in the organisation. This is a great way to understand your people as well as what is happening in the market. It is also a great way to communicate your vision as well as expectations to the team. [Also, remember] to leave space for the team to perform and grow
They should be honest, have strong ethics and principles, and define the rules of the game from the start. S/he should learn a lot and have the courage to try new things. There is a lot of opportunities in the country within reach but they require a lot of creativity and hard work
Be prepared to learn a lot about the ‘roller coaster’ type of environment here. Trust your people as they are there to guide you and help you be agile. It is a market with a stronger entrepreneurial mindset than most of the developed European countries, which is a testament to the potential and opportunities that the country has to offer