Home Insights Building culture and strategy through cross-functional collaboration

Building culture and strategy through cross-functional collaboration

Organizational changes at a rapidly growing, midsize life sciences company brought together employees from several functions to create a newly aligned business unit. With a lack of shared culture and misalignment around roles and responsibilities, a Vynamic workshop helped to bring this new business unit together to create a foundation of culture and clarity around ownership and ways of working.

The challenge

A midsize life sciences company stood up a new operations team which brought together employees from five formerly independent business units including insights, forecasting, and sales force analytics who worked with teams across all of the company’s therapeutic areas. Challenges arose, as many of the employees had never met and several had joined during the pandemic, only ever working remotely. Furthermore, significant confusion existed regarding roles, capabilities, and responsibilities. Collectively, these challenges resulted in confusion, lack of accountability, and low employee engagement.

The team’s senior leaders partnered with Vynamic to obtain an independent, objective culture assessment.  They then sought to clarify roles and responsibilities, create a shared understanding of the group’s role within the larger organization, and develop an overarching strategy for how the new business unit would work together – both internally and with external stakeholders. They also aimed to create and foster a positive culture by driving psychological safety and defining and enabling team-focused ways of working. Without gaining alignment around these key strategic elements, the team was at risk for creating significant hurdles for the commercial business and brand stakeholders they support. Similarly, if the team continued to operate without clear cultural commitments, they were likely to encounter less engaged employees and higher rates of attrition.

The approach

Vynamic recognized that developing common understanding, crafting shared goals, and intentionally fostering a positive culture would create a strong foundation for the business unit to establish and mature the ways in which they deliver to their key stakeholders.

Vynamic worked with the leaders to understand the challenges and refine the objectives for the workshop. With the goal of facilitating a one-day workshop for all 35 team members, a pre-workshop survey was distributed to all participants in order to best determine the appropriate workshop design, goals, and expected outputs. The survey asked participants what was going well, what needed to be improved, and what they might change about the team if they had the opportunity. Soliciting feedback was critical in helping to understand the team’s perspective so that workshop content could be tailored to the needs of all team members, and not just focus on leadership’s goals and priorities.

Building on this information, Vynamic created an engaging and dynamic one day, in-person workshop. The session began by exploring the foundational elements of trust, connection, and psychological safety, before the team was split into breakout groups to facilitate discussion on the following goals:

Creating a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities

Defining priorities for the next 12 months, with critical workstreams and a simple process map showing the inputs for different therapeutic areas

Defining group norms and ways of working to allow each team member to perform at their best

The result

The workshop successfully delivered several key outputs:

  1. Common understanding of group priorities, workstreams, and roles/responsibilities
  2. One-year strategy roadmap and defined priorities for each unit
  3. Defined ways of working across business units and functional areas

The interactive and egalitarian approach to the workshop also served to build relationships and enhance commitment to the team.

The workshop had a significant impact on the business unit’s ability to prioritize and plan for key workstreams. It enhanced communication and aided in the discussion of several difficult areas for the group, which had previously been swept under the rug, and also strengthened communications within the team and drove improved accountability of team members to own their parts of the process. In addition, the workshop enhanced employee engagement and satisfaction.

Workshop participants were thrilled with the experience and reported that they felt energized, valued, and empowered to perform. Group leadership also expressed deep satisfaction with the day and the outputs.

Both the leadership team as well as the broader group of participants were pleased with the outcomes of the workshop, sharing the following feedback:

  • “Today showed me that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Senior Director and Team Lead
  • “I haven’t felt this energized about my job since before the pandemic” – Senior Leader
  • “I finally feel like I know how my job fits into the broader group” – Workshop Participant
  • “Love the personalization you have brought to this for us. It really feels good going through this and we believe it will be extremely valuable!” – Workshop Participant

Following the workshop, leaders worked with Vynamic to develop and prioritize a culture roadmap to build upon the workshop foundation and ensure that culture remained a key priority for the unit. The team plans to reassess culture on a regular basis so that gains can be maintained and built upon and so that progress towards key priorities can be measured.

About Vynamic

Vynamic, an Inizio Advisory company, is a leading management consulting partner to global health organizations across Life Sciences, Health Services, and Health Technology. Founded and headquartered in Philadelphia, Vynamic has offices in Boston, Durham NC, New York, and London. Our purpose is simple: We believe there is a better way. We are passionate about shaping the future of health, and for more than 20 years we’ve helped clients transform by connecting strategy to action.

Through a structured, yet flexible delivery model, our accomplished leaders work as an extension of client teams, enabling growth, performance, and culture. Vynamic has been recognized by organizations like Great Place to Work and Business Culture Awards for being leaders and innovators in consulting, company culture, and health. Visit Vynamic.com to discover how we can help transform your
organization or your career.

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