The Agile & Inclusive Organization: A Conversation with Pfizer Asia's Top Management Team
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The Agile & Inclusive Organization: A Conversation with Pfizer Asia's Top Management Team

November 03, 2022 | Publication

Our new Leadership Insights Series will bring you highlights from our conversations with business leaders across Asia on strategic business issues.

In our recent webcast, Dr. Sandhya Karpe, Leader of the Asia Human Capital Center of The Conference Board of Asia, interviewed Pfizer Asia’s top management team that was charged with meeting the internal and external challenges presented by COVID-19. In this article, we summarize, in Q&A format, how the company powered through the pandemic, how leaders inspired their people to “make the impossible possible” and contributed to the wellbeing of the global community during this challenging time.


Insights for What's Ahead

Across the world, the pandemic tested the agility and resilience of organizations and their leaders. Some players were able to power through and delivered on tough mandates by successfully rallying their people around their missions and purpose. The healthcare ecosystem in particular, was challenged to step up and collectively tackle the devastating global crisis. In the last three years, Pfizer has become a household name across the world because of its exemplary contribution towards the daunting fight against COVID-19. Literally overnight, the company had to pivot its business strategy and tactics and join forces with other players within the global healthcare eco-system, to deliver on one of the toughest mandates in its history. It had to redirect the energies and resources of its entire global organization comprising thousands of employees towards the urgent cause of protecting lives against an unforeseen enemy. For Pfizer, this has been a journey of conviction, resilience, adaptability, and treading completely uncharted waters. How did Pfizer Asia in particular, power through the crisis to deliver outstanding, game-changing outcomes? What dilemmas did its leaders face and what were their struggles along the way?

Lessons Learned 

• A strong sense of purpose and mission and ensuring a high level of trust, are key to motivating an organization to respond in an extreme crisis

• Extend the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond the organization to customers, communities, and societies that an organization serves. Truly listening to those voices drives better and more relevant innovation

• During a crisis you may not have the time to build the perfect team. Trust your people and give them opportunities to stretch and show what they could do to deliver

• Don’t just focus internally when a crisis hits. External collaboration—ranging from strategic alliances to joint ventures to crowdsourcing, including partnerships within the eco-system with big and small firms, government, academia, customers, and communities—can drive and scale innovation outcomes far beyond what a single player can achieve


SandhyaKarpe, PhD

Human Capital Center Leader, Asia and Program Director of Asia Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, Asia Human Resources Council
The Conference Board