Pushing the boundaries to change
lives at AstraZeneca

With Ian Blackwell, Certified TetraMap Facilitator,
Leadership and Change practitioner, AstraZeneca, Macclesfield, UK.

Ian BlackwellA life changing business

AstraZeneca has a vision ‘ to push the boundaries of science to make life changing medicines.’
With 27 production facilitates in 16 countries they continue to do this every day, through their strategy, their people and their values:
We follow the science. We put patients first. We play to win. We do the right thing. We are entrepreneurial.

AZ has identified three priorities designed to deliver their growth through innovation strategy.

  • Accelerate Innovative Science
  • Deliver Growth and Therapy Area Leadership
  • Be a Great Place to Work

Changing lives in teams

Ian Blackwell supports production teams at the Macclesfield site. Here they make and distribute Zoladex® – a life changing medicine for breast and prostate cancer.

With a lifelong career in Learning and Development at Astra Zeneca, a Master NLP Practitioner, Coach, and TetraMap Facilitator, Ian Blackwell loves the company, align with their vision and understands his own contribution to its overall success: through the people and teams he works with. His experience and skill contribute to him being highly perceptive about what’s going on, and masterfully adept at joining the dots.

Tetramap & Astrazeneca

In this article, Ian first shares the challenge he puts to himself every single time he facilitates TetraMap with a team “How do I go about creating something special for my customers each and every time I facilitate with TetraMap?”  

He recalls the famous Starfish Story: 
The Starfish Story: Adapted from the original, “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eisley (1907-1977) 

This parable is a moral tale about how your efforts, taking care and time, make a difference for some.  

Although he has run many workshops, he knows each one is unique and requires careful preparation and consideration of his customers. His effort always ensures each individual participant’s contribution  is seen, heard, acknowledged and valued.  




His approach is thorough


  • Arrive early and creating a welcoming, curious environment
  • Manage his own personal state for confidence and success
  • Set up the room with light, space, activities, flip chart stations


  • Build empathy with participants on arrival and throughout
  • Remind himself about the principles behind Sawubona – “we see you”‘
  • Trust the TetraMap processes. Use the activities in context- carefully and respectfully.  
  • Weave in emotional intelligence: Self awareness, self management, social awareness, Relationship Management
  • Always be on purpose: Reduce conflict, leverage diversity.
  • Allow time for reflection, completion and actions needed.


  • Close the feedback loop to leaders with a summary participant comments through TetraThoughts
  • Personally, reflect and apply: How could I improve? What else would support ongoing success for everyone?

Does it make a difference?

The videos – The Voice of The Customer show clearly – yes it does. Hear directly from them below. 

But it’s not one thing. It’s a number of pieces of a puzzle which combine to catalyse change. 

  1. The impact of Ian’s approach 
  2. The commitment of the leaders and the organisation itself 
  3. The power of TetraMap’s process
  4. The willingness of the participants to engage.

All of which synergise (1+1=4)  to increase self-awareness, strengthen teams and relationships, shift mindsets, and catalyse an innovative approach to problem-solving – resulting in a direct impact on outcomes.  All of which involve building trusting relationships and simplifying significant levels of complexity to make positive change happen.

It is a testament to Ian’s approach that 3 senior leaders were willing to speak on camera, and who were also extremely gracious in allowing us to share their comments and personal experiences.  We are hugely appreciative of their support.   

In our experience, it is rare that business leaders are prepared to speak about the impact of training. Yet in this case, the leaders interviewed were exceptionally generous and willing to give of their time to share genuine insights. 

It is our hope that this case study will enable many others to invest in learning to catalyse change and make a difference, to invest in their own facilitations skills for the greatest success, and of course, give a long-lasting personal gift to everyone – self-awareness and understanding how valuing differences changes lives. 

Appreciation to  Pete Matthews, PET Director, Zoladex and Zomig Nasal Spray, Kath Adamson SPP4 Zoladex and Zomig Nasal Spray and  Bryan Windus Smith Engineering Lead Zoladex and Zomig Nasal Spray, from Astra Zeneca, Macclesfield Site.

What impact TetraMap has had on you as a Leader?

“TetraMap has helped us unlock conversations and trust each other in a way we didn’t do before so we really get the best out of everybody. It has been transformational for us. “

“TetraMap has changed the way that I look at how people behave. It’s made me learn and change the way I approach people.”

“My Elements change when I’m leading a team to when I’m part of a team. It makes me think about how I bring people forward in a discussion, so I can get the best out of them in that moment and let them play to their strengths.”

What impact has TetraMap had on the team?

We are so much closer as a team, but equally stronger individuals as well. It’s very different. Normally you would feel like you own your own problems whereas now we can pull on the different people around us and join the dots a different way.

Kath: I have two different groups and since coming back from the TetraMap the way we talk to each other has completely changed. We’re starting to work together as one team.

Bryan: The language between the team has completely changed and it’s having the confidence to stop and say we need everybody to bring their whole selves to this problem. Exploring which Element is going to help us most and then letting them bring that out. As a team, they are acting as a collective of one.

What difference does TetraMap make to the bottom line?

We can get into results and resolution a lot quicker. We use this to contribute to our D&I agenda. When you all understand what you need to do and the way you need to behave to perform to get the best out of others, TetraMap has helped us do that. Yield is up 10% in 6 months, lead time has been reduced by 30% in the past 12 weeks, and overall patient supply has improved just from one teamwork activity. From a cultural point of view, we have become one team as opposed to individual departments.

Kath: Because we understand each other more now we know what drives each other and can discuss some of the upset that would happen previously. We can move forward faster.

Bryan: It’s made us look forward. It’s made us less retrospective and understands the future is substantially in our hands. People are playing to their strengths more often, which generally makes us happier.

How Is TetraMap being sustained?

It’s about being consistent, so our quarterly team time is all built around TetraMap. As a leadership team, we’re making sure we invest time in TetraMap so we all speak a very common language – whether you’re in the board room or on the shop floor.

As a business leader, I want to see momentum in results. TetraMap is a big piece of the jigsaw and ultimately it doesn’t matter how good the process is – if you haven’t got the people then you haven’t got anything. TetraMap brings the people in a way which I’ve not seen before.

Summary from Ian

AstraZeneca does change lives, and so does TetraMap. Together we are stronger. Let’s continue making a difference and a better future for many more lives.


If you found this useful please share the article