Walgreens Boots Alliance Case Study

Creating, Planning and Driving Positive Change

From two steps behind the pace to leading the world. How a whole department transformed their approach.


A global team needed a new approach to enable rapid change, greater efficiency, higher performance and better service

At Walgreens Boots Alliance managers were working at a level too low and performance was behind the curve. Leading this major change was going to be a challenge.

Walgreen Boots Alliance, a major international retailer, pharma business, and the 23rd largest company in the world, had ambitious restructuring plans. To fulfil these plans required their System Design and Integration (SD&I) department to evolve from being UK-based to global. This meant undertaking the world’s largest migration to a cloud-based system and managing the outsourcing of the biggest project managed by Microsoft.

The SD&I department faced two major challenges to achieving its goal. Firstly, to be successful they needed to improve the efficiency and service they offered the business which fell far short of internal expectations. Secondly, the major business restructuring and infrastructure upgrades on the horizon required a radical change in approach and accountability. The department needed a range of new skills, capabilities, attitudes, understanding, and readiness to drive both changes quickly and efficiently.

After extensive research, STC identified the following issues and opportunities:

  • The need for SD&I managers to think wider and deeper to see the bigger picture
  • The need to implement change more effectively at all stages and take responsibility
  • Achieve higher performance and greater consistency to drive higher standards
  • Develop personal effectiveness skills of team members and specialists to gain buy-in


An innovative, blended learning approach to suit highly-intelligent technical managers & specialists

STC designed and delivered a radically different and innovative modular development programme, for 40 senior managers and 50 of their top specialists. This Making Change Happen Programme ran over a 10-month period using sophisticated techniques and taking a blended learning approach to enable fast learning. The training featured:

  • A style to suit highly intelligent, technical teams
  • Blended project work, team assignments, self-study and larger group sessions
  • Interactive debate sessions run across multiple Walgreens Boots sites
  • High-impact training videos, aligned with course content to add greater depth
  • Quick reference, credit card aide-mémoire
  • One-to-one action plan follow up sessions

The core training focused on three stages of achieving change:

  • CREATION: creating a platform and a roadmap for positive change
  • APPLICATION: using advanced leadership skills to proactively apply effective change
  • BEHAVIOUR: inspiring their teams to embrace new ways of working.

The manager programme accelerated the pace of change by emphasising five key areas:

  • Driving the Business: Responsibilities, planning & increasing the pace of change
  • Personal Effectiveness: Assertive communication, priority planning, confidence
  • High-Performance Leadership: 1:1 management, performance, empowerment
  • Capability through Coaching: Lead with questions, coaching, teams, networks
  • Making Change Happen: Understand, lead and reinforce change, influencing, culture

The specialist programme deepened the impact of the change by focusing on key areas including advanced EQ, influencing change, buy-in and motivation, and collaboration.


The effective implementation and the sustained success of a major planned infrastructural change

This programme prepared teams for the world’s largest information migration. The change was cohesive, collaborative and rapid. Managers made change happen, by using greater influence, strategic thinking, personal accountability and skilful leadership.

The training programme inspired managers to work at a higher level whilst equipping them with crucial skills to give them the confidence and belief that any change and challenges they encountered were within their control.

The Making Change Happen Programme allowed SD&I to implement major changes quicker, including the world’s largest migration to a cloud-based system.

Following the successful migration, the managers and specialists who attended this training have been instrumental in driving change forwards and revolutionising the way the Walgreens Boots Alliance does business. As a result, internal customer satisfaction scores have increased by 32%.







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“My internal customer is now actually starting to do some rudimentary planning, instead of using my team to constantly ‘bail them out’ and causing wider disruption.”

Unified Collaboration Manager, Walgreens Boots Alliance

“Tremendous. It can be summed up in the word ‘confidence’. At one level, Tom gave us the tools to dare to be a more courageous leader, to face into conflict and challenging situations and drive things forward.”

Senior Project Manager, Walgreens Boots Alliance