Spring 2006
Globalisation of Amgen CDM
Presented by Joanna Walker and Sharon Liu, Amgen
Summary of ideas – Main themes of the presentation are:
Describe the Globalisation process for Amgen CDM
Drivers for globalisation
Steps towards globalisation
History of Globalisation at Amgen
Defining global department structure
Then and Now – department structure
How we got there
Managing in a global environment
. Directives from our leadership
. Approaches to communication
Global Challenges
Managing cultural differences
Building international teams
Challenges of managing staff in a different location – task management, personal development and performance appraisal
Our Research into Globalisation
Research methods
Research results
Change Plan
How ideas link with the theme of the conference
The presentation aims to fit with the conference themes of “Global Working” and “Global Communication.”
Benefit to delegates
Conference delegates will hear how Amgen approached globalisation of the CDM function, the processes we went through, the challenges faced and effects of the resulting structure.
Joanna Walker set the scene for the presentation by describing the history of Amgen, how the drivers for change were identified, how Amgen achieved globalisation and how processes and structure have changed as a result. Following this, Sharon Liu described how research was carried out, using a combination of feedback questionnaire and observation, to assess whether global differences were cultural and the subsequent impact of globalisation on leadership style, training required to adapt and working practices.
As for most other Pharma companies and CRO, Amgen identified drivers for change due to increasing competition in the global drug market, increasing development pipeline with bigger, complex global trials and the rapid organisational growth experienced by Amgen. All of these factors drove the need to have a global organisational structure, global systems and global processes. This was not an overnight change, but a gradual change over a period of ten years to achieve a true global way of working. Some of the challenges that were highlighted as being needed to overcome were fair distribution of workload, ensuring growth opportunities for all regions and managing concerns related to perceived loss of autonomy. The three key steps to globalisation were:
Single set of processes and procedures
Implementation of EDC systems
New global structure
Systems were changed to move towards a single common system and located centrally in one region but accessible by all, consistent process and related documents were developed, with global training available to all and the reporting structure and organisation changed to align groups globally rather than regionally. Joanna stressed that it was important not to be afraid to revisit decisions and make changes if needed. For example, to support the change in reporting lines and location of managers, a site lead role was implemented to support management activities on a day-to-day level and provide a channel for regular communication.
Additional challenges to globalisation that needed to be overcome were:
Time differences
Cultural differences
Local regulations (regulatory, HR, budgets)
Communication challenges (e.g. Face to face still preferred in a lot of cases)
Other groups not global (e.g. IS)
To respond to these challenges, Sharon described some of the techniques and tools that have been used to identify potential communication barriers between offices and regions, how to identify potential motivators and preferences between staff and what adjustments can be made to improve comfort in performing daily tasks and problem solving.
“Avoid making assumptions about differences and what people want or need and don’t be afraid to admit when things are not working as expected and be prepared to make changes”
To assess these, Amgen used the GlobeSmart questionnaire, a Meeting/ Work Preference questionnaire and observation of team interactions. GlobeSmart is a copyrighted self-assessment tool that is tested to analyse within and between group behaviour. The preference questionnaire was developed internally and focused on determining people’s individual preferences towards meetings, communication and interactions with work colleagues.
The basic conclusions of these questionnaires is that individuals do not always follow a behaviour profile that is typical of that person’s country and culture – an important lesson to avoid stereotyping colleagues from other countries. To me personally, it also highlighted the importance of knowing more about the people that you are working with and being able to recognise and adapt to each other’s preferences to achieve best results and team harmony. From the observation exercise (which was a global teleconference), the key conclusions were that behaviours to avoid were talking too much, talking over others, pre-meetings making it obvious that prior discussions had taken place and verbal attacking. Behaviours to promote and encourage were taking turns to speak and asking others for input.
The overall conclusions presented were that to be successful in achieving globalisation, ongoing support and reinforcement of goals is critical along with requiring participation in diversity and managing conflict. The big change in mind-set is thinking globally and not ‘locally’. Global working can be successful by communication and being flexible and there is a real need to stress the importance of shared goals and trying to eradicate a ‘them and us’ culture. Lastly, but most importantly, avoid making assumptions about differences and what people want or need and don’t be afraid to admit when things are not working as expected and be prepared to make changes.
Lisa Goodwin