Increasing responsible procurement whilst developing a rapid thinking, fast acting, high performing team that is not constrained by conventional thinking


AstraZeneca is a multinational pharmaceutical and biologics company. It is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and has operations in over 100 countries.

Their Procurement Compliance team were facing an overwhelming challenge before we started working with them. Largely due to the lack of an established audit process and the complex organisational structure which had to be influenced in order to reach suppliers. However, it was a key business requirement in support of the ‘Company Responsible Business’ strategic expectations. It was therefore essential to find a fast and efficient pathway to creating a framework and rolling it out rigorously. 


Combining strategic thinking, project management and breakthrough leadership development to produce this Breakthrough result over an eight-month period. Our focus was on building a high-performing team environment that freed the team from the limitations of their past thinking. Giving them the confidence to challenge core assumptions in their approach, think and act from a future perspective, take risks and be innovative.

The team boldly adopted our Breakthrough Thinking methodology and created sustained ways of working to achieve all team objectives


Driven by the team choosing the future and the outcomes for themselves despite the challenges and circumstances that stood in their way.

  • Full achievement of the business target with 2022 audits rolled out in year. 1503 completed (from a starting place of 54) by the end of Q1 with a full governance framework approved
  • Significant increase in ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; a key business metric
  • Global (75 countries) awareness of Responsible Procurement as a core strategic imperative rather than a ‘tick box’ exercise
  • Transformation in the relationship and credibility of a 3rd party organisation within AstraZeneca and Suppliers following previous cynicism of the audit model
  • Introduction of an online portal for auditing which didn’t exist previously
  • Became certified auditors
  • Created a self-managing team led with unprecedented confidence  Demonstrated their value and influencing skills
  • Acknowledgment from suppliers for the significantly increased quality of audits
  • Team nomination for an award from the CEO for acknowledgment as a high profile and high performing team. Chief Procurement Officer quoted that this “exceeded my expectations” 
  • The manager had more time to be strategic and play a coaching role to the team

We also developed practices to sustain high performance and apply breakthrough thinking on a day-to-day basis. This was evident in the team:

  • Being outcome and fact-driven vs. interpretation driven
  • Unhooking themselves from historic or personal judgements about the ‘right’ thing to do 
  • Taking risks to innovative
  • Resolving setbacks quickly