When they looked back at what
they had been doing to be successful (they have had steady growth
every year for 18 years!), they realized that they did something differently. This difference was rooted
in their core value of patient focus.
They added Customer Centricity
to their strategic core initiatives
which were owned by leadership team. They did surveys and
brought in patient groups. At the
same time, US colleagues, unbeknownst to Michael, had independently converged on the same
strategy. When they realized this,
they began working together to
co-develop their approach.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST
CONTRIBUTOR TO SUCCESS
OF THIS INITIATIVE?
Everyone is talking about being
patient centric but not everyone is
achieving the success that Michael
is seeing. We asked him what is it
that they are doing differently. He
said that as much as this initiative
was top-down driven to start, the
strategies were built from their
people up. Michael firmly believes
that people must buy into customer centricity.
“When it comes to patient centricity, this isn’t an initiative, it’s a
cultural shift,” says Michael.
It must be embedded within the
organization. Building patient centricity as a cultural tenet has allowed
it to flourish. As a testament to the
success of embedding it in their culture, Michael reports that the number one thing we hear our people
love is our focus on the patient.
IS CUSTOMER CENTRICITY A
“Absolutely!” says Michael, “it’s
one of our key long-term strategies. It also pays dividends in the
short term as it’s a major driver of
employee engagement at Astellas.”
This resonated with me. Just last
month a top pharma rep said to
me “You likely don’t remember
but six months ago I was in your
‘Power of Purpose’ session at our
NSM.” She went on to admit to me
that, at the time, she was planning
on leaving her organization. She
had felt her patient-centric values
were not in sync with her company’s values.
When she realized her company
was putting their actions behind
their words by helping the team
connect to their purpose, she
stayed. She was happy to report
that she is now happier, more
engaged and, not surprisingly, top
sales rep in her region.
WHAT SHOULD OTHERS
START TO DO DIFFERENTLY?
Michael thinks that while the
cultural shift to patient/customer
centricity must be supported and
modeled by leadership, it needs
to be built by the people. When
you empower your people around
their purpose/the patient, great
things happen. You can’t tell them
to focus on the patient and what
specific actions they should take
to achieve that. Much better and
more long-lasting ideas will be
created by them once they connect
with their purpose. Everything
they do, in office or in field, has
some impact on patients and they
need to connect with that.
“It’s not up to me to tell them their
connection to their purpose. They
need to identify it. Once they have
identified that, then all the great
ideas should be generated. I can’t
do that for them,” says Tremblay.
He suggests you look at how to
get people involved. Good news,
he says, is that they are going to
love it because it changes how they
think about their work. Isn’t that
what we are all seeking… to make
“The goal is that we would like all
of our employees—every employee—to understand what they do to
impact the patient and how they
individually can help patients.”
To keep it alive, we need ideas
generated from all the levels of the
organization. If all our people are
thinking about ideas, they WILL
be generated. Empowering people
around their purpose is the key to
WHAT IS HIS VISION FOR THE
He narrowed it down to three
1. Short term wins are that employees will jump all over this
initiative and find their stronger
purpose. They will be even more
2. Creative ideas that we never
thought possible will be generated
and acted upon.
3. Patients will trust that Astellas
is with them on their journey and
a new relationship will evolve.