At A Glance

Over the last 3 years GSK, under the helm of Group CEO Emma Walmsley, has pivoted into a much more competitive model. Against a changing environment of pricing pressure, technology disruption, and consolidation, significant changes include:

I have always believed that the question of culture is fundamental for any organization. Culture – mainly defined not by the values and expectations written on the wall but by the way that leadership behaves – can be a fantastic accelerator for change, but can also be a complete derailer if a company gets it wrong. When I laid out the priorities for GSK, they were innovation, performance and trust to the power of ‘c’ for ‘culture.
Emma Walmsley
Group CEO, GSK
For some people it has been uncomfortable, and that is why updating talent is also important. Although many of the people who have come before have done incredibly important things, and in some cases been successful for a period, when you are redesigning and resetting what you want to do for the next chapter, you need to have fit-for-purpose leaders who embrace the kind of culture that you want
Emma Walmsley
Group CEO

Client Challenge

CorporateDNA was invited to partner with GSK at the peak of this major transformation as the red threads across culture, leadership and talent and high performing teams became very deliberate.  Our mandate was to focus on shifting the the two large businesses:

Against this blueprint of the “Why and What” of this transformation becoming very clear, changes across GSK’s purpose, goals, strategies, priorities, values and expectations, the “How and Who” became extremely important.

CorporateDNA Solution:

Here’s how we have partnered with GSK across Europe, U.S. and Asia Pacific:

Asia Leadership Program

In 2016, GSK targeted a high potential group of 250 Asian leaders across 15 nationalities to assume future leadership roles both regionally and globally. CorporateDNA partnered with GSK on pioneering the Asia Leadership Program (ALP) in coaching and facilitating multiple annual cohorts over the last 5 years.

This experiential program complemented with group coaching drew delegates from GSK’s current talent pipeline with clear destinations and taught them skills in managing complex ambiguity, developing effective relationships, influencing impactfully without authority, engaging leadership narrative and deepening cultural intelligence.

Overall Design:

Based on the overall learning needs, the program was designed with a high focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal spaces: developing their self-awareness, how they show up and how they interact with others. Through various assessments such as GSK 360, Firo-B, Learning Styles and Globesmart, a strong linkage between ambition and business purpose were uncovered in participants.

The Asia Leadership Program focused on expanding their knowledge, navigating growth dialogues and shifting their mindsets, so they could fast track their development to key leadership positions within 5 years.

High Performing Teams
GSK appointed CorporateDNA as one of three global partners in delivering 9000 high performing teams (HPT) in 2018. This prestigious assignment focused on taking these teams from good to great through a series of 6-month interventions and ultimately transferring ownership to the client. We facilitate 75+ high performing teams across the U.S, Europe, Middle East and Asia since 2018. Programs are conducted through a combination of in-room and virtual methods. After 6 months of implementation, a post analysis was conducted to measure any changes in habits, behaviours and its direct impact on the company’s overall success.
Major Culture Transformations

Following an epic global transformation, GSK’s Emerging Markets came into the spotlight with an enormous mandate that captured the “Power of Winning, Now” across 113 countries and 14000+ employees.

The newly appointed Business Head of Emerging Markets initiated an accelerated cultural change through a complete transformation starting with leadership. CorporateDNA was tasked to create a culture that stimulates growth, engagement among colleagues and pride in working for an innovative, high performing region.

This mandate was given after an intense reorganization, which signalled bold and unprecedented changes within the company. The people who were chosen not only had great experience, but had to demonstrate certain character traits that combined high confidence with high humility to drive change.

The CorporateDNA culture transformation process was used to deepen the change narrative for Emerging markets, heighten the levels of self-awareness throughout the Emerging Market Leadership and energize purpose through a shared way of working. Habit installation methods were used to ensure that the new, desired ways of working became hard wired in regular meetings, decisions, and reviews. The personalities of Emerging Markets were defined and then tested to see if the new beliefs, mindsets, and behaviours could withstand the challenges of 2020. This double loop process of co-creation, adjustment and reinforcement allowed the new culture to embed through a shared language, feedback loops and hard metrics, while reducing blame, denial, and avoidance.


New ways of working with new mindsets, behaviours and sense of accountability established for the organization’s LT and LT -1 levels.

Increased engagement in both leadership and followership across functions and markets.

The annual GSK survey results showed significant increase in satisfaction across emerging markets.

At the end of the 9 month journey, CorporateDNA assessed the key achievements in Emerging Markets where a clear turnaround was evident. The proof points from the EM Leadership team included:

COVID-19 accelerated the pressure and urgency on our leadership teams to re-think and challenge every aspect of our business. Thanks CorporateDNA for bringing such high energy and engagement during such tough times, and for being so agile and adaptive in how you partnered with us on the transformation. Leading change this year would have been much harder without you.
GSK 2020


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