Sanofi: driving cultural transformation


The client

Sanofi is a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry with 105,000 employees operating in more than 100 countries.  The company’s offerings include medicines, consumer health care products, generics, human vaccines and animal health.  Sanofi’s ambition is to become a diversified global healthcare leader focused on patient’s needs and that has led to 33 partnerships and acquisitions over recent years.


The need

Global Pharma is facing enormous changes.  Patients are gaining in knowledge and power.  The internet feeds information and comparisons, ‘medical tourism’ is rising rapidly, patient groups pressure governments, and patients are becoming more like demanding customers wanting prevention rather than cure, precision therapies and personalised healthcare.


In developed countries medical communities are becoming more connected, while remote patient monitoring and self-monitoring (devices become monitors and vice-versa) could spearhead a move toward virtual doctor-patient relationships.  All this is set against a context in which the traditional Pharma Blockbuster model is giving ground to biotechs, generics and local players, with the biggest prizes of a truly integrated model, gene therapies and a global approach, including the poorest nations, all to play for.


The solution

With sponsorship of the CEO, the global Leadership and Learning Centre championed the implementation of a core transformation project, to create a new company culture based on greater cross-boundary working and cooperation, empowerment with accountability, and on developing people and the organisation.  A new set of values and a new managerial model, underpinned the changes.


With a long heritage delivering a huge range of programmes within the UK affiliate we were selected to partner with the global team, following a highly competitive pitch.


Our solution was a highly specific Leadership Development programme for the top 250 global leaders working in cohorts which rolled out over an 18 month period. Key aims were:


  • To develop those taking part to be role models for the new company competencies and behaviours
  • To align leaders with the new company culture in order to execute the company strategy
  • To support them in developing and maintaining high performance teams working in a matrixed environment.


Key business simulations, mapped onto specific Sanofi challenges enabled participants to try out and adopt new behaviours. Video case studies focused on best practices in matrix working, and distance coaching, offered on demand as a follow up option,  meant that individuals could receive tailored support for local initiatives in a timely and cost effective manner.


The result

The culture at Sanofi continues to evolve rapidly.


For many the need for culture change became strongly evident from the programme.  People took inspiration from different parts of the programme, stimulating a huge variety of different follow up activities all designed to meet local needs. Armed with tools and techniques for culture change – case histories, guides to culture change and matrix working, tools for improving team working – senior leaders returned to their operations equipped to make real and practical change happen.


Our work embedding aspects of the programme with specific affiliates continues, ensuring that new ways of working drive out change in an energized and inspirational manner.