When Shire, a Swiss biotech company focused on helping individuals cope with rare and life-changing diseases, engaged Stand & Deliver, Malcolm Crooks and his team were at a crossroads.
In his role as vice president of product strategy, Malcolm saw how high-pressure deadlines, poor communication channels and travel restrictions were affecting the workflow. Tension had increased, and team members were no longer receptive to internal workshops designed to increase focus and set priorities.
As it turned out, the discord had little to do with increased workload or questions from senior leadership. What Stand & Deliver found when they pushed the reset button was a much more fundamental problem: missed conversations, talking over or past one another, a general lack of listening. During their first phone call, Stand & Deliver outlined a plan not to remove the pressure—the team actually enjoyed the high-stakes atmosphere—but to learn how to manage the stress and urgency.
“The meeting was a turning point for so many people, from how they respect themselves and their coworkers to why they come to work and why they subject themselves to pressure and deadlines for the program,” Malcolm said. “It was cathartic. I slept well that first night (after) we had a plan.”
The results of the call were immediate: spontaneous group understanding and support for one another. The engagement that the team’s leaders called a “transformational opportunity” would go on to recalibrate the team’s standards, set goals and lead to success by any measure.