Leading & Learning through COVID | A view from AstraZeneca’s Global Head of Learning

Episode: 013

In this enlightening and inspiring interview AstraZeneca’s Head of Global Learning and Development, Brian Murphy, shares the progressive practices that have helped his company through 2020.

He talks about how being a ‘full human at work’ and being ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’ engenders trust, connection and productive relationships. Regarding Learning Agility, Brian describes the ‘virtual hackathons’ and the company’s successful, in house science based experiment designed to build good habits. He calls AstraZeneca a ‘live learning laboratory’. And then he discusses the importance of leading with empathy and vulnerability and ‘getting out of the way’. The emerging leader at AstraZeneca is encouraged to be curious, transparent, open and brave. All this and more as Brian Murphy lifts the curtain on what has enabled AstraZeneca to be one of the success stories of 2020.

Brian is the Global Head of Learning & Enterprise Capabilities at AstraZeneca. He is based in Cambridge in the UK where he is tasked with leading a multi-year change programme to transform how learning happens at the company. Apart from building a new Enterprise Learning team, he is also focused on developing learning agility, a culture of life-long learning, and future skills and capabilities to support the business strategy. This work is critical for the company to deliver on its mission to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.

Previously Brian was the Head of Learning and Leadership Development for CitiBank in Europe, Middle East and Africa where he led global efforts to develop a culture of workplace learning across Citi’s 200,000 employees in over 100 countries.

Brian believes passionately that the L&D profession is at a historical crossroads. It can choose a traditional approach which is increasingly irrelevant to the ‘real work’, or it can become a key enabler for business performance, innovation and culture change.

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