A global pharma company came to us to help its Outsourcing function with the development of an enhanced, standard process for managing CRO partnerships. At this time, some partnerships worked well, but others were dysfunctional and hostile. The internal Clinical functions were reacting angrily; relationships both with some CROs, and internally were strained. Long email arguments had flourished rather than straight-talking meetings that would have cleared the air!
At first we helped Outsourcing build an influencing case for it to gain acceptance of a new process, with the Clinical functions. The key elements to gain agreement to were around committing to thorough and solid internal agreement before engaging with CROs.
Secondly, we modelled and facilitated more effective behaviours in update meetings. These were often adversarial, with little listening, and felt like interrogations about progress metrics and apportioning of blame. We helped leaders make these more positive; creating a trust-building and problem solving atmosphere.
Thirdly, we designed an easy to use online partnership health check, with programmed check-in points during the lifetime of trials. it was designed to report and alert any potential concerns from either side quickly, so that they could be discussed in review meetings before escalation into real issues.
New ways of working transformed the company’s CRO partnering approach. Business functions began to welcome more Outsourcing Department input.
The health check routinely monitored upwards of 20 CRO partnerships; potential problems began to be spotted much earlier.
We were asked by an EU based Pharma company to help them enhance their alliance culture. Alliance success was critical to their future, and they needed to build a partnering-oriented approach across their major functions. Commonly, functional experts would respond to internal requests for help over those generated by alliance partners; conflict and negotiation issues were not being addressed with a useful approach – and also the alliance management function was typically not being consulted for advice at the point it could have really helped.
We developed a partnering awareness and skills program. We designed a blended program consisting of an eLearning primer, an action-based workshop, plus a series of webinar follow up topic sessions. Functional experts from across the company attend over several iterations of the program; workshops were lively, interactive and focused on realistic case studies. In addition we developed an online toolkit that participants could access for key processes and great tips and advice.
Feedback was excellent and showed immediate results. Every participant had implemented a recommended relationship or problem-solving technique into the partnerships that they were associated with .. and/or had shifted their thinking toward a more partner-friendly, listening/questioning approach to conflicts.