Creating Transformational Moments

By February 5, 2024LTEN Focus On Training



It only takes a moment to create lasting change

What is a transformational moment? Think of it like a switch that suddenly flips and takes you to new heights of success. It’s that “aha!” moment when all your efforts fall into place and you, your team and your brand shoot up to the next level.

These moments start with conversations that change the way we think, and this paves the way for significant changes.

It’s one of the best parts of our jobs as biopharma trainers: seeing it all come together, whether in a workshop or watching a top sales rep change a key customer’s perspective. It’s amazing to see everything fall into place for a better outcome.

Transformational conversations drive change because they allow us to spark transformational moments in our lives or the lives of key people. They’re a crucial part of leadership and coaching, and they lead directly to better results for customers, their patients, the organization and you.

Creating a Transformational Moment

Transformational moments have an uncanny ability to defy predictability, often materializing unexpectedly and at any given moment.

  • New Perspective: It begins with helping someone see things in a new light. Help them move away from their comfort zone and empower them with a better view of their goals versus their current achievements. Are they meeting their goals consistently, and if not, what are they doing, or not doing, that’s causing this?
    This new perspective changes their expectations and opens their minds to more effective ways of achieving results.
  • New Story: Changing expectations calls for a new story. How will you reframe events in your mind? What new self-talk will replace the old to encourage you to do something more, less or differently to achieve the new desired result? How will you change your behavior when you see old patterns reemerging?
  • Change Priorities: Over time, the new perspective, expectations and story lead to a shift in what’s most important to us – our priorities. Priorities are where we focus our energy and effort and ultimately determine our results.  Change your priorities, change your life.
  • Find a Greater Purpose: Everything comes together when you discover a greater purpose. This is what ignites our motivation and commitment. It’s what drives us to overcome challenges and setbacks and sustain long-term efforts to become the best we can be.

My Unexpected Moment

Like most life sciences trainers, my career began as a representative selling in the field.

Harry, my district manager, had a talent for challenging my perspective. I vividly recall moments when he would unexpectedly produce a competitor’s prescribing information from his suit jacket pocket, urging me to role-play as my competition and sell him on why he should prescribe their product. These instances forced me to reassess my approach and broaden my understanding of the competitive market.

On this particular day, we met for an early coffee before our field ride. Harry never called me by my first name, I attributed this to us both being Army veterans.

He took a sip of coffee, leaned back in his chair, and calmly stated, “Fenton, I know you’re the top rep in my district, but I think you have the potential to be one of the best nationwide.”

This certainly got my attention and triggered a new perspective on my potential.

His follow-up critique that I talked too much, however, shocked me. I thought my presentation skills were my superpower. Harry agreed that it was a strength but explained that I was overusing it, resulting in unintended negative results in performance and relationships.

It was an insight I hadn’t considered; I was too busy telling my customers what mattered rather than letting them express their needs. This was the new perspective I needed, and it changed my expectations of my role.

A River Runs Through It

Harry provided a new narrative for me using an analogy from our sports club. He reminded me of the behavior I exhibited in our flag football league before rushing the passer and suggested that I should integrate the habit of counting “5 Mississippis” after asking a question.

This intentional pause would allow the customer to speak freely, shaping my responses based on their insights rather than my assumptions. Though initially unorthodox, the concept resonated with me, and I embraced the challenge wholeheartedly.

I made counting Mississippis my priority. The first week was awkward, yet eye-opening. My interactions took on a new dynamic. Surprisingly, my top cardiologist noticed the change. While he found my lip moving while counting Mississippis amusing, he appreciated the newfound silence that allowed him to express his thoughts more fully.

Counting “5 Mississippis” without moving my lips became a priority and eventually, talking less and listening more became my new habit, improving my performance by allowing me to actively listen to my customers. Understanding customerneedsbecame my higher purpose, transforming my role from a sales rep to a problem-solver.
This pivotal transformational moment, ignited by Harry’s candid critique, not only elevated my sales approach but also fostered stronger connections with my clients.


Try embracing these tips and adapting them to your unique circumstances and personality. You’ll hold the potential to challenge perspectives, exceed expectations and redefine others’ priorities, ultimately reshaping the trajectory of their careers.

Jill Fenton is president of Quantum Learning. Email her at or connect through



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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