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 large global team in WBA needed new management approach to enable rapid change, greater efficiency, higher performance and greater service.

With managers working at a level too low and performance being behind the curve, leading this major change was going to be a challenge.

There’s thinking big and there’s thinking mega big!

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

SD & I faced two major challenges to achieving the 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. They 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 from their teams to drive higher standards
  • Develop the personal effectiveness skills of the SD&I team members and specialists to gain willing buy in


A novel, blended learning approach was designed for 40 senior managers and 50 of their top specialists.

STC designed and delivered a radically different and innovative modular development programme, for 40 senior managers and 50 of their top specialists which ran over a 10 month period. It was a sophisticated, ‘fast-learning’, blended learning approach featuring:

  • 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 WB 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 – how to create a platform and a roadmap for positive change
  • Application – how to use high levels of leadership skill to apply change proactively and effectively
  • Behaviour – how to inspire their teams to embrace new ways of working.

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

  • Driving the Business – Roles & responsibilities, planning & increasing the pace of change
  • Personal Effectiveness – Assertive communication, priority planning, confidence
  • High Performance Leadership – 1:1 management, boosting performance, empowerment
  • Increasing 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 ‘Making Change Happen’ programme delivered planned, effective and sustained change right across WBA.

Managers made change happen, by using greater influence, strategic thinking, personal accountability and skilful leadership

The 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 in their control. Internal ‘customer’ satisfaction scores increased by 32%; Change was cohesive, collaborative and rapid; They were prepared for the world’s largest information migration.

The programme was called ‘Making Change Happen’. It allowed SD&I to implement major changes quicker, including the world’s largest migration to a cloud based system. The managers and specialists on that training have been instrumental in driving change forwards and revolutionising the way they do business.








“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