Pharmaceutical Company Reduces Product Delays by 25%


As one of the large pharmaceutical companies, this business has an extremely large global footprint. A high percentage of the scientists working for the company are Indian and Chinese. However, the group of project managers responsible for supporting the research findings from this group mostly come from Western backgrounds. The project teams work with multiple offices across many geographies and time zones and they are consistently frustrated by what they described as inefficiencies, interpersonal misunderstandings, and as a result, delays in getting new medications to market.


After a group of senior leaders from the company experienced an executive session on cultural intelligence, they decided cultural intelligence needed to be brought more fully into the company. They asked the Cultural Intelligence Center to help them pilot the implementation of CQ with the project management team from this research group. We worked with leadership to design a three-month program for 120 project managers who are spread across three offices.

Month 1

Month 2

  • Project managers met in groups of three with coaches who reviewed their CQ Development Plans with them
  • After the coaching session, each participant updated their 1 month and 6 month goals

Month 3

  • The full group participated in a 2-hour Virtual Session (offered at two different times) focused on applying culturally intelligent best practices for improving efficiencies across the project management team
  • Each team was provided with discussion tools to talk in their respective teams about take-aways. In addition, the team developed some specific processes for use together.


The 3-month program improved the efficiencies of the team and became a required training for any new project manager joining them. More specifically:

  • Supervisors reported having fewer instances of team conflicts that were escalated to them to address
  • A year later, the team reported 25% fewer delays in meeting deadlines than what had occurred previously.
  • The group implemented a “pre-mortem” review process where instead of assessing a failed product after it launches, they imagined that any new product failed beforehand and drew on their diversity to forecast what might cause it to fail.
  • As a follow-up to this program, the group did a combined session on cultural values with the Asian scientists and the Western project managers, which resulted in improved understanding and collaboration.

CQ is an ongoing education

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