Aligning people behind the new Global IT Strategy

In partnership with The Field Institute – a consulting company.


The company is a multinational pharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development, and commercialization of prescription drugs. With a presence in over 100 countries, the company is committed to improving the health and well-being of people around the world.

The company’s product portfolio encompasses a wide range of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, oncology, respiratory, and infectious diseases. With a focus on innovation, The company is dedicated to discovering and developing new treatments that will help improve the lives of patients suffering from serious illnesses.

The new CIO of the company had ambitious plans for the company’s IT department but faced the challenge of implementing her strategy quickly and effectively across the global IT organization. She aimed to unify the global IT organization, involving all managers, behind a common vision. The traditional process of strategy deployment was time-consuming, often taking over a year, and the teams were siloed, making it difficult to unify everyone behind a common vision. Recognizing this, the CIO turned to the Transformation OKR Matrix as a solution.

The Solution

She liked the fact of having a strategy on one page and the process of distilling contributing objectives from all her direct reports in line with their roles towards aspirational objectives. Before starting, the CIO wanted our team to stress test the objectives to ensure they were mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (MECE), relevant, aspirational, yet achievable.

This is a critical first step in aligning teams. The goals behind the objectives were designed with the help of cross-functional executives, to make sure they were relevant, SMART, and structured, covering a journey from getting ready, to building capabilities, to scaling and making an impact.

After conducting a series of online workshops across departments and regions, the teams were aligned behind these goals using the Transformation OKR Matrix. This led to focused and robust discussions, helping people understand the strategy in the context of their roles.

Each program owner was then provided with work packages organized over a quarterly roadmap, allowing for the program leaders to stress test the content and plan for execution in an agile flow.

The transformation effort was greatly facilitated by the enthusiasm and support of the strategy team. They were eager to learn about the OKR matrix and how it could be used to drive change and achieve the company’s objectives. The team received training on how to use the Transformation OKR Matrix effectively and how to facilitate alignment workshops.

This investment in their development has equipped the team with the capability to lead large-scale changes in the future using this powerful tool. With the matrix in their arsenal, they are well positioned to support the CIO’s ambitious objectives and drive the organization towards its goals.


The process was a success, and the CIO was able to expedite the execution of her strategy in just a matter of weeks. The matrix approach enabled the team to align their work, and the robust conversations that took place created a strong sense of excitement about the new directions for the IT department. The CIO reported that the Transformation OKR matrix was a key factor in enabling her to deploy her strategy with clarity, and the team appreciated the conversational strength that the matrix approach induced.

The use of the Transformation OKR Matrix brought many benefits to the company’s IT department. One of the biggest advantages was the ability to unify the teams behind a common vision, breaking down silos and promoting cross-departmental collaboration. The matrix also allowed for clear communication and understanding of the company’s IT strategy, enabling program owners and managers to align their objectives and work packages with the overall goals of Global IT.

Additionally, the matrix provided a framework for regularly tracking progress and making course corrections as needed, helping to ensure that the strategy was always on track and achieving its desired outcomes. Finally, by building capability within the strategy team, the company was able to ensure that the benefits of the alignment process would be long-lasting, enabling the company to continually drive towards its goals in a structured and focused manner.

Lessons Learned

During the rollout of the OKR matrix, the team learned the importance of distinguishing between the two roles of IT at a group level, which can be metaphorically described as “chopping the wood” and “sharpening the axe.”

“Chopping the wood” refers to delivering demand from the business, while “sharpening the axe” involves building the capability to deliver projects quickly and efficiently, as well as proactively proposing innovative projects to the business.

Understanding the difference between these two roles allowed the team to better align IT internally and align IT projects with business unit goals.

Digitally transforming IT is critical in today’s world, where technology is rapidly evolving and businesses are increasingly relying on digital solutions to stay competitive. IT must be able to keep up with these changes and provide innovative solutions that meet the needs of the organization.

By doing so, IT can position itself as a strategic partner at the board level and play a key role in driving the organization’s success.


The Transformation OKR Matrix was a crucial component in the successful deployment of the company’s CIO strategy.

With the support of the CIO, strategy director, and the strategy team, the cross-functional workshops, stress-testing of objectives, and agile road mapping helped ensure that all teams were aligned behind the goals.

The result was a streamlined strategy deployment process that saved valuable time and resources. The lessons learned from this project will continue to inform future strategy deployment efforts and serve as a model for other organizations looking to achieve their goals in an efficient and effective manner.

The commitment and great sponsorship of the CIO, strategy director, and strategy team was key to the success of this project. The Transformation OKR Matrix proved to be a valuable tool in aligning teams and achieving the desired outcomes, and the team’s commitment to continuous improvement was critical to the success of the project.