Pharmaceutical/ Chemicals

Parmaceutical giant Glaxo is well-known as the $8.5 billion maker of Zantac, the world's leading selling drug. Now Glaxo Singapore is becoming known for something more—an innovative, customer-focused approach to doing business

Glaxo Singapore is a leading pharmaceutical marketer and distributor, selling to physicians and hospital pharmacists in Singapore. Faced with increasing competition and possible government regulation, the company recently sought a proactive way to increase its competitive strength.  Sales & Marketing Director Kingston Sia explains the initiative that was conceived and championed by Glaxo Singapore Managing Director Lito Tadena. "We needed to understand our own strengths and weaknesses, and our customers' needs and wants," says Sia. "We wanted to improve our culture in a way that would meet customers' needs more promptly and efficiently. The Persona Organizational Alignment Survey is helping us achieve these goals by getting everyone in the company focused on the same objectives and moving in the same direction." 

Surveying Customers

One of Glaxo's first actions was to survey its customers. Persona conducted a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews, then sent a questionnaire to almost 2,000 Singapore doctor and pharmacists.

"By asking customers how Glaxo was doing, we were able to confirm some suspicions and obtain important new information," says Persona Singapore Country Manager John Mauro. " We gathered data on a range of issues, from ways to improve product literature to how often to schedule sales calls. These are the kinds of details that customers care about, and that providers need to fully understand in order to surpass the competition."  

While customers were providing information, Glaxo employees were also being surveyed. "The Organizational Alignment Survey's internal assessment instruments gave us better insight into how employees feel about the company, how well we work as a team, and how effectively we communicate with each other," said Sia.  

Aligning Staff

Armed with the new data, Glaxo's senior management team redefined the company's mission during a three-day retreat. Then middle managers and other staff participated in mini-seminars during which they used the new data to establish their own priorities and objectives.  Mauro explains, "Glaxo staff got excited about the new initiative because they were able to develop their own objectives.  They weren't just asked to follow what senior management dictated.  This is one of the strengths of Persona's approach. 

Staff must 'take ownership' of new goals so the entire company can come aligned around those things that will make a difference to customers.

During a company-wide launch event, Glaxo employees agreed they would do things differently and support the new customer-focused priorities. Comprehensive organizational measures and performance management principles are currently being introduced to reinforce the changes taking place.  Managers and staff will soon be participating in Persona's Persuasive Communicator and the Managing Performance training programs to develop individual communication and management skills. A company task force monitors progress. "Our commitment to customers is ongoing," explains Sia. "That's one reason we will be implementing the Organizational Alignment Survey again 12 months after conducting the original survey."


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