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Bonus Focus

Subject Matter Experts, Hot Topics, Best Practices, Trends and More... 

Welcome to Bonus Focus, the online companion to LTEN Focus on Training magazine. We’ll feature web-exclusive articles focusing on topics that life sciences trainers and educators care about, posted on an ongoing basis. Be sure to keep an eye on this page for new articles. 

Get Bonus Focus delivered monthly to your inbox. Subscribe here.

If interested in authoring a Bonus Focus article, contact Tim Sosbe, LTEN editorial director, at

Bonus Focus - The Professional and Personal Gains of Empathy 

By Carrie Garrett 

In the business world, empathy is a trait of great leaders. Research shows that people with high levels of empathy build stronger relationships and are generally better able to deal with stress than their unempathetic counterparts. Empathy is a term that still has connotations of being “too soft,” but it can provide benefits for both your personal and professional well-being.  


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Bonus Focus - Employee Development as a Competitive Advantage

By Jake Weiss, Ph.D. 

Organizations require continuous employee development and improvement across all levels to adapt to the constantly changing dynamics of work in today’s performance-driven, uncertain environment. As a result, organizational development practices for employee development have rapidly increased throughout the past decade. This article details the concept, importance and impact of an innovative and effective evidence-based approach for not only enhancing employees’ development, agility/adaptability and performance, but also for considerably improving the effectiveness of organizational coaching practices – specifically, focusing on employee coachability.  


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Bonus Focus - Burning Out and Bouncing Back 

By Michael Levitt 

With the ongoing pressures around COVID-19, ife sciences professionals are burning out at an alarming rate in our fast-paced, overworked industry. This article takes a look at professional burnout, how to identify it in yourself and others and how you can bounce back from it. 


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Bonus Focus - Learning at the Speed of Change 

By Grahame Broadbelt

In this time of profound global disruption, one of the things we are all hearing about is the accelerating pace of change. Learning to change and to keep up with change has perhaps never been more vital. But right now, organizational learning is dominated by a training mindset that is slowing us down just when we need to speed up.What has changed about change? Simple: the exponential change in digital technology.

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Bonus Focus - The ‘New Paradigm’ Post-COVID 

By Charles D. Brennan Jr.

The “new normal” suggests an imposition between what we knew and what our future holds. Broadly brushed, it requires a re-examination of everything we aspire to accomplish, even the simplest of our daily tasks, our basic routines and how we interact with one another. Up until now, the playing field was somewhat understood. However, the landscape has forever changed. Adaptation is now a requirement.

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Bonus Focus - Beyond Training: Focusing on Learning and Development

By Shaun McMahon

Today, COVID-19 has upended virtually all aspects of our personal and professional lives. For sales professionals accustomed to face-to-face interaction with prescribers, the impact of the current pandemic is immense. As we settle into a period during which sales are conducted online or by phone, the ability of pharmaceutical sales representatives to engage general practitioners confidently, competently and concisely is more important than ever. That’s why an emphasis on training that targets a comprehensive understanding of medical conditions and product attributes— programming that is focused on learning and development—is so important.

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Bonus Focus - Virtual Engagement: Transforming Sales Reps into Storytellers

By Krishna C. Kalva

It is extremely disheartening to see the suffering the world is going through now due to COVID-19. Everybody is impacted and eagerly waiting for this to end; however, there are some positive outcomes from this experience: Organizations are doing their best to stay operational, profitable and continuing to keep their workforce employable. The aim is to continue to develop the touch points with customers using creative virtual techniques, and sales professionals play a key role. This transformation involves changes in mindset, encouragement of new & innovative techniques, leveraging technology and choosing an attitude to meet the customer expectations.

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Bonus Focus - Post-Pandemic Sales: Will the Digital Switch Stay Flipped?

By Charles Brennan

Many believe Covid-19 has forever changed ways of working. For life sciences, work-from-home policies have only accelerated the industry’s trajectory toward alternative channels fueled by increasing restrictions at doctors’ offices and hospitals. The question is, will the pandemic flip the switch to digital permanently? Studies show physician receptivity to digital sales tools and virtual meetings is high – with more time spent interacting with reps than ever before. But what happens when doctors start seeing patients again?

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Bonus Focus - 5 Ways to Maximize Results in a Virtual Classroom Environment

By Karen Foster, Iris Hill, Teresa Atkinson, Debbie Deale and Marcy Lantzy

As people adjust to a newly imposed work-at-home lifestyle, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, L&D teams have been rapidly converting previously planned live instructor-led training into remote learning. While live and virtual solutions each have their benefits and drawbacks, it’s clear that — for the time being anyway — virtual formats are going to rule the day. So, it pays to make sure those solutions deliver the best results possible. To do that, we need to understand the limitations of virtual training and follow some best practices to maximize its benefits.

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Bonus Focus - Virtual Contact, Actual Connections

By Matthew McGrath

The impact of COVID-19 on our lives has been wide-ranging and profound. The crucial precautionary measures and social restrictions being implemented across the country – and the world – have forced us to make significant lifestyle adjustments to safeguard ourselves, our loved ones and, critically, the most vulnerable among us in our communities. Business has been impacted too, and companies are working urgently to optimize their use of the various virtual platforms that make remote communication possible in order to meet the needs of clients and colleagues.

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Bonus Focus - Your Rx for Leading During Difficult Times

By Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D., and Sheryl Unger, MILR

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is testing leaders’ agility on multiple levels. As your organizations make critical business decisions about functioning, employee work practices and customer interactions during these challenging times, each organizational leader has added responsibilities to their teams and to themselves (and by extension, their families). As leaders, your actions and communications quite literally will contribute to the safety and well-being of others.

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Bonus Focus - Designing Training for a Multigenerational Audience

By Giselle Kovary and Susan Armstrong

All generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zs) possess unique and often differing values, behaviors and expectations, including a difference in what and how they want to learn. If organizations want to leverage their learning and development (L&D) programs as a retention tool, they need to create an L&D strategy that considers the content, design and delivery mechanisms that will engage multigenerational learners. Moreover, L&D specialists must understand the multigenerational learning environment in order to design and facilitate programs that effectively transfer learning and affect behaviors.

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Bonus Focus - 5 Steps to Boosting the Impact & Strategic Value of Learning & Development

By Krista Gerhard

Learning teams often have to “work miracles,” delivering programs for their stakeholders on short notice and with limited resources. Going above and beyond to meet the needs of their business partners is often part of the job. How L&D learning meets those needs is also critically important. If the “how” isn’t right, then the training team may run the risk of diminishing its impact on — and its strategic value to — the broader organization. In this article, we’ll explore five steps that can help training professionals better meet the needs of their learners and business partners as they increase their value and effectiveness as strategic partners.

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Bonus Focus - How to Coach It When You Can’t See It 

By Karen Foster

What goes through your mind when someone mentions the word “coaching?” If you’re like most people, you probably think about a person instructing on a skill or a behavior to another person. And, that skill or behavior — whatever it may be — is probably observable. But what about unobservable behaviors, like thinking? Here, we look at the differences between observable and unobservable behaviors and offer some guidance for coaching unobservable behaviors.

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Bonus Focus - Integrating Change Management with Project Management Training 

By Jamie Graceffa and Remco van den Breul

We are living in exciting times for project managers. Businesses are experiencing enormous transformations, from the automobile industry, to the revolution of healthcare, to the way we interact on social media. Behind all these transformations are project plans, typically managed by a project manager. The project plan measures the health of the project. Will it be successful, or not? Will the project manager deliver the project on time, within scope and on budget? For the sake of the project manager and associated team, it better. Their hard work, reputation, performance and associated reward depends on it.

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Bonus Focus - How to Have Patient Conversations that Boost Compliance 

By Marjorie Brody

The goal for life sciences professionals who interact with patients and their families should be simple for every interaction: Make sure they understand what’s going on, so they feel understood and ultimately the patient is compliant. That’s it. When patients feel real compassion from you, when their questions are answered, and when they feel heard, and they understand what you are saying, they will be more compliant. To get there, you’ll need to pay close attention to the way you listen and the way you communicate.

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Bonus Focus - 5 Tips for Developing as a Trainer 

By Nick Fifield

For many professionals, it is a worthy route to future opportunities, a rich training ground, one that can lead to several senior roles within an organization. Here are 5 top tips for developing in a training position, whether working alone or as part of a wider team;

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Bonus Focus - How to Prevent Succession Gaps in Life Sciences 

By Darleen DeRosa, Ph.D.

Succession planning has long been a priority for many organizations but building a strong pipeline of high-potential leaders is not always an easy process. This doesn’t mean they can afford to ignore it, however. Without careful planning and development programs in place, companies leave themselves vulnerable to talent and leadership gaps that can disrupt operations and leave them scrambling to catch up in highly competitive markets.

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Bonus Focus - What Can L&D Leaders Learn from Value-Based Care? 

By Kristin Scott

Organizational behavior theories include the evolution of older and simple to now more complex concepts and principles. To change a person’s behavior, change her incentives based on what you know will motivate her. Move her proverbial cheese. In the great halls of the U.S. government, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has been trying to change behaviors of medical professionals from volume to value for a decade. What can we as leaders of learning and development learn from the evolution of volume to value-based care reimbursement?

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Bonus Focus - What Role Does Learning & Development Play in a Future Filled with Constant Change? 

By Amy Fennick

Sixty learning & development (L&D) executives representing major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies attended the 2nd Annual LTEN Learning Executive Forum in Boston on Nov. 29, 2018, to discuss the role of L&D in an environment filled with constant and rapid change. The agenda, which included research-based presentations, an immersive learning experience, roundtable discussions and a panel Q&A session, provided learning executives with the rare opportunity to connect, exchange ideas, and learn from their colleagues. This article summarizes key concepts that emerged from the day.

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LTEN Board of Directors Sets Term Limits for Board Members 

To ensure the LTEN Board of Directors is constantly infused with new ideas, the LTEN Board of Directors voted to amend organizational by-laws to place term limits on Board membership, ensuring that one-third of the Board changes every three years.

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A Look Back at #LTEN2018 

By Tim Sosbe

More than 900 LTEN members came together June 12-14, 2018, for the 47th LTEN Annual Conference, taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and network together at the largest event LTEN has produced to date. Check out this recap article to learn more about the conference, watch a video recap and access post-conference resources.

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LTEN Members Discuss Organizational Transformation at San Francisco Mixer 

By Tim Sosbe

A large number of LTEN members and their colleagues turned out for the May 22, 2018, LTEN Network After Work mixer, held at the Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco, CA. The mixer was sponsored by Genentech, Illuminate and Red Nucleus, and is the latest in the ongoing series of LTEN member events held around the United States.


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LTEN Members Discuss Future of Learning at Chicago-Area Mixer 

By Dawn Brehm

More than 70 LTEN members and their colleagues turned out for the April 18, 2018, LTEN Network After Work mixer, held at the Chicago Marriott Suites Deerfield, in Deerfield Illinois. The mixer was sponsored by ACTO, Informa Training Partners and Proficient Learning, and is the latest in the ongoing series of LTEN member events held around the United States.


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LTEN Members Discuss ‘EQ vs. IQ’ at San Diego Mixer 

By Dawn Brehm

A large group of LTEN members and their colleagues came out for the March 6, 2018, LTEN Network After Work mixer, held at the Andaz hotel in San Diego. The mixer was sponsored by ScienceMedia, Quantum Learning and Illuminate, and was the latest in the ongoing series of LTEN member events held throughout the United States.


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Leading Change: Build Trust, Commitment & Resiliency 

By Amy Glass

Leading change is one of the most complex challenges a leader can face. Teams get restructured and moved. Teams lose members, and even managers. Territories grow and shrink, business units get dissolved. Things essentially are in a constant upheaval. But things also get better. Here are six lessons learned that can help you successfully lead change.


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LTEN Members Test Virtual Reality at Parsippany Mixer 

By Dawn Brehm

About 50 members of LTEN and their colleagues came together again for the Feb. 13, 2018, LTEN Network After Work mixer, held at the Embassy Suites in Parsippany, NJ. The mixer was sponsored by Axiom and Tipping Point Media, and was the latest in the ongoing series of LTEN member events held throughout the United States.


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Leadership Principles from the Ozone Layer 

By Orlando Ceaser

The scenario happens every day. You have an elegant plan to exceed customer expectations. You need everyone engaged and ready for flawless execution. However, the fire alarm goes off. You are below forecast and the heat comes down from above. The heat is intense. The fiery temperament demands explanations; the disappointment morphs into threats. You cannot let the heat go through unfiltered to your people. They may not be psychologically prepared for the intensity. Their leader, to use a scientific metaphor, should be the ozone layer for their people.


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Making You, Not PowerPoint, the Primary Focus

By Stephanie Scotti

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "presentation?" If you're like many business leaders, it's probably "PowerPoint." The reality is, the PowerPoint slide deck has become synonymous with a presentation, to the point where the length of a talk is commonly measured by the number of slides. This thinking can lead us to make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse, or in this case, the slide deck before the message. A PowerPoint slide deck is not the presentation. You are the presentation, and you need to be the primary focus. 


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