Culture transformation

Shifting to a culture of collaboration, partnership and ownership

The business challenge

Our  client is a global pharmaceutical company encompassing consumer health, vaccine, oncology and rare disease business. It employs 100,000 people in 40 countries and sells its drugs via distributors in an additional 50 countries.  

The business had been lagging market performance for several years, and a new CEO was appointed with a turnaround mandate. He restructured and created a more focused, ambitious strategy, but he could also see that a large part of the challenge was cultural.  

Our diagnosis revealed a deep-seated loss of confidence, leading to passivity, risk aversion and a lack of ambition, to working in silos and to focusing on activity rather than output.  

Bottom Line

  • We engaged the top 150 leaders in defining 4 key behaviours and mindsets that were required to achieve the new strategy. These focused on courage, accountability, collaboration and patient-purpose.

  • We designed an end-to-end culture transformation project, with an intense focus on the top 200 leaders complemented by culture planning, HR capability build, middle manager activation and culture influencers. The program started in the middle of the pandemic and was conducted entirely virtually. As well as its benefits for culture change, teams reported that it also brought them together in difficult times, and provided a welcome space for reflection and rejuvenation.  
Why a global pharmaceutical company changed their culture


  • In a survey of the top 150 leaders, over 95% said they had been constructively challenged and received practical advice that helped them develop as leaders.

  • After just 3 months, 67% of employees reported confidence that the company could change its culture.

  • 94% of managers report that the workshops have helped them apply the key behaviours to their day to day work.

The anecdotal feedback from the ExCom members is extremely positive which has prompted further, deeper work with them as a team, as well as two additional top 150 leaders’ conferences to maintain the momentum and equip them to spearhead the transformation to the next stage.  

Accelerating culture change by engaging the top 150 leaders in defining 4 key behaviours and mindsets


  • 6-month Leading by Example and High Performing Team program for the top 200: 360 feedback 1:1 coaching, team workshops and observations.

  • Development of a culture plan to align key systems and symbols to key behaviours.

  • Training 50+ people in HR and Communication to run awareness raising sessions with employees and a more detailed train the trainer for internal facilitators to roll our Leading by Example program.

  • Using social network analysis to identify the informal influencers across the business, training them and establishing support networks to exchange ideas and maintain momentum.

  • Creation of a managers’ toolkit with resources to cascade to their teams.  Supplemented with workshops to encourage take up.