How AstraZeneca and NHS Navigate the Pandemic Through Leadership

AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical firm, and the NHS, the United Kingdom National Health Service, have successfully navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing various kinds of leadership methods such as adaptive leadership and reverse leadership style. Which has helped them adapt, innovate, and change through different challenges.

With the COVID pandemic, we have a new reminder that the corporate environment is dynamic and ever-changing. It is vital to have suitable strategies to lead in constantly changing environments. Many organisations successfully navigated through the pandemic and into the 4th industrial revolution. For example, AstraZeneca, and even the NHS, could navigate successfully through these unprecedented times.

AstraZeneca successfully implemented an adaptive leadership style to navigate throughout the past year and a half. Due to their operations in China, they were able to learn and act early on it. First, they predict potential needs and problems, all while juggling significant complexities and unknowns. They communicated these needs to a broad range of internal and external stakeholders to gain commitment and support. Often, when there is a rising threat or opportunely, there are stakeholders that do not believe in it or the outlined solution. Thus, they do not support the cause through effective communication and other methods that can be changed.

Read more on: How to make your team believe in your startup – a short guide to help you win them over!

AstraZeneca also adapted a variety of innovative business models and collaborations to address the most pressing Covid-19 needs — most importantly, vaccine production and testing and screening methods, health facility development, and the use of AI aid diagnostics and case management. Perhaps most importantly, the company has developed an inclusive approach to transparency, including a pledge to help the global Covid-19 response, including several commitments for large-scale manufacture and delivery of every successful vaccine at no benefit during the pandemic season.

One challenge can help you anticipate another challenge.  

Marc Dunoyer

The NHS is a publicly funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom. Even before the pandemic, the NHS has numerous challenges such as long waiting time, lack of options for patients, bureaucratic hurdles and many more. However, similar to other nations healthcare facilities, the NHS has faced numerous struggles with the pandemic, from a lack of staff, lack of infrastructure and equipment as a cause of underfunding. The UK spends a lower portion on health than other EU countries. Thus, countries such as Germany has twice as many nurses then the UK. With the additional stress added by the pandemic, some underlying problems have been exposed, such as health inequality. 

Though there are many challenges, the NHS is addressing them and working on them. By implementing reverse leadership, they encourage their staff to create solutions through innovative ideas. Additionally, they are transparent with their challenges and happening, thus creating trust and facilitating the steps to create solutions to their numerous struggles, which has led the UK to be one of the top countries to have vaccinated the greatest number of its citizens. 

The COVID pandemic serves as a clear reminder that society is complex and constantly evolving. It is critical to have suitable leadership that can lead in rapidly evolving situations to avoid making the same mistakes as other organisations that have gone bankrupt or been acquired by others. Many firms managed through the pandemic and into the fourth industrial revolution. For example, AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company that adopted an adaptive leadership style and the NHS, managed manoeuvre through these trying times effectively. By implementing the right leadership style to help the workforce and consumers navigate and cope through all the changes.

Elisabeth Klingler

About the author: Elisabeth Klingler
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