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Case Study

North Star Strategies

How Uptake’s work with global pharmaceutical organisations has achieved strategic alignment, for stronger, patient-centric decision making

Authored by Beatrice Moll, Copy Editor, Uptake.

Alignment is a word that is often thrown around casually, but it should not be underestimated. It can be argued that it is one of the most critical aspects to efficient, effective, and enjoyable working, particularly in enormous organisations like those of our global pharmaceutical client-base.

Cross-functional alignment allows teams from diverse organisational sectors to join forces and work towards a common goal. It is instrumental in facilitating growth and success, reducing the prevalence of silos, and using the varied perspectives of individuals to foster enhanced company-wide performance. It involves key stakeholders developing a unanimous understanding of when, why and how a project should be completed to bolster the brand’s competitive edge. Practically, this means that even when challenges are presented, and there are differences of opinions between characters, teams can navigate their way through more easily.

Through our work with leading pharmaceutical companies, Uptake’s expert team has incorporated various methods for achieving successful cross-functional alignment. Our strategies are always tailored with the end goal in mind, and we continually take time to consider the impact of a brand’s strategic choices on patients’ lives.

Defining your North Star

Identifying a single goal to strive for when developing a business strategy can be highly advantageous. Following that trusted North Star may elevate an organisational structure, empower strategic decision making, and guide early course correction when needed. Outlining what you need to accomplish makes it easier to identify when you are going off track with your business initiatives and where to adjust your strategic approach.

Uptake has helped industry clients attain North Star alignment on several occasions. In one of the most memorable and rewarding scenarios, we collaborated with a global pharmaceutical company, the World Health Organization, and other government stakeholders to achieve this aim. Our team brought the necessary individuals together to discuss and mutually agree on their end goal: to save lives by providing affordable access to diabetes care in disadvantaged African countries. Together with the client, we developed a single, shared vision, challenging the team to make informed choices on countries to target collaboratively and how many lives they could commit to saving.

How to achieve North Star alignment

Achieving successful North Star alignment can be a challenging task to accomplish, but when done effectively, it has the power to create an exceedingly robust and differentiated brand.

The organisations involved in the affordable access to diabetes care project were met with initial barriers in strategic decision making due to misalignments between key stakeholders. Uptake stepped in to support the client by cultivating an action and implementation plan that outlined a sequence of steps the brand needed to take to achieve its vision. We used Agile course correction to continuously update and refine the plan based on insights from similar country archetypes. By implementing a rigorous planning method, we were able to successfully develop and deliver a costed business case for each targeted country, ultimately saving 2000+ lives in the process.

In a second yet equally remarkable instance, a leading pharmaceutical company sought to implement positive cross-functional team collaboration to enhance the strategy and positioning of an asset being developed. Uptake’s team of specialists introduced a three-step method to optimise the asset’s rollout. We crafted a virtual readiness session, interactive working session, and action-setting session, enabling stakeholders to align on the project framework and develop a high-level functional action plan for the project’s execution.

Empowered and confident

For an organisation to observe successful strategic alignment and create brave, bold and winning strategies, team members must first demonstrate empowerment and confidence in pursuing their growth objectives. An assured team is more likely to feel engaged, prepared, and inspired to achieve its full potential, regardless of the strategic challenges that may arise.

The affordable access project visibly encouraged stakeholders to overcome their inhibitions and courageously follow one agreed, collective North Star aim. However, this is just one of several instances where the Uptake team has witnessed the favourable results of boldness and bravery in our work with industry clients.

We used Agile methodology to help another client create one global strategic approach to shorten the patient diagnosis journey in rare diseases. Developing a challenge map, SLAM team sessions, interviews, and workshops brought the approach to life and facilitated clear and consistent team member collaboration. This new process was rolled out to all country and global teams across rare diseases and fully embedded in their ways of working. Our Agile strategic methods led to the creation of a collaborative, bespoke framework for our new strategic approach, and a minimum viable product was launched only ten weeks later.

On a separate occasion, a brand facing competitive challenges and low product sales sought strategic guidance from Uptake to enhance its brand planning initiatives. Uptake helped the team make bold decisions, elevate their market positioning, and routinely course-correct performance to rebuild a strong, distinguished brand in the minds of customers. Our team analysed up-to-date market data and information; we held wider team discussions to provide an updated, in-depth situational analysis; and we designed and delivered interactive workshops to help teams shape the direction and content of the brand plan. Our strategic guidance empowered the team to create a unique brand story with a clear competitive edge.

Have stakeholder misalignments affected your team’s efficiency or hindered the potential success of your brand?

Speak with our pharma strategy consultants for specialist guidance on implementing alignment techniques that convert into successful teams maximised brand uptake.

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