Spanning more than 30 countries, Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB) is an international biopharmaceutical company dedicated to providing access to innovative treatments that transform life for people with rare diseases.
They know that they need to continuously work on developing the spirit of leadership and entrepreneurship to achieve their vision of being recognised as a global leader in rare diseases. They know that to make this happen, they need to encourage every individual in their organisation to be the driver of their own development.
Their goal: To evolve the mindset in the organisation for how they ‘do development’ in Sobi France. To encourage their employees at all levels to take individual ownership for leading and driving their own development.
“I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want.” – Stanley Kubrik
In Sobi’s case, they knew exactly what they wanted. The HR Director had also experienced first hand, how our approach can really help to put people into the driving seat of their own development. Naturally, we were delighted when she asked us to help create this same level of understanding and ownership in the organisation.
The first step was to create awareness, which we did with a short key-note, to introduce the idea that development relates more to individual growth rather than being linked to a specific role.
In a second step, we worked with the Leaders and Managers to give them the mindset and the tools necessary to have impactful development conversations with their teams.
The third step was to work with their key talents, to provide a structured approach for them to become ‘creators’ of their own future.
Aligning the Leadership team, all the managers and key talents on development is paramount for me. Everyone now shares the same perspective and language, making development conversations more powerful and ultimately, helping us to be an even higher performing team.
– Sébastien Le Roux, General Manager, Sobi France
Linking the intervention with the strategy is key:
This ensures that it is given the necessary level of priority and focus, despite people’s ‘busyness’.
Start with the Leaders:
When middle management knows that their bosses at the top of the organisation (including the GM) are going through the same process, it gives the necessary level of coherence and prevents a ‘them and us’ scenario from hampering progress.
Build groups according to seniority:
It’s essential to work with homogenous groups in terms of leadership maturity. This allows the different needs and expectations to be addressed and provides a safe platform for people to express themselves openly and honestly.
Relinking each session to the bigger picture:
Running programms that span over many weeks requires each ‘building block’ to be linked to the next. This creates coherence and builds the interconnections that enable the desired mindset to develop.
Having focused on first developing the necessary mindset with the leaders and managers has elevated the level of leadership across the organisation. A key element for this has been increasing awareness that the role of a leader or manager is not to always have the answer, and that holding development discussions with a coaching approach increases the level of individual engagement and ownership for this in their teams.
Exploring new dimensions of development, such as taking an inside-out rather than an outside-in approach, has opened up the perspective to focus on the development of the individual and their full potential for contribution, rather than just on a person doing a job.
With this approach, their efforts are bearing fruits not only in terms of increased engagement and motivation, but also in supporting each individual’s contribution to the organisation’s strategy and goals, thereby ultimately having the desired impact on helping to transform the lives of people with rare diseases.
For any organization to achieve their vision and strategy, leaders and managers must understand that their role lies not only in ensuring the day-to-day operational activities are well executed. They must also see their role as creating the link for their people between the vision and strategy, and their efforts in the daily operations.
When this is understood, they are able to create a leadership culture that develops and channels the potential of each individual in the organization to contribute to achieving operational excellence and high-performance.
Beyond creating an internal environment, where individuals can flourish and thrive, it creates the organizational stability needed to withstand the everchanging and constant pressures from their external environment.
It allows them to develop the force and power from inside their organisation to foster a culture that is agile and resilient, and in a better position to achieve their long-term vision.