Building a High Performance Culture: Life Sciences

Eliminating Complacency to Drive Performance at a Global Life Sciences Company

Client Case Study


The client is the Australian arm of a world leading, research-based pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 100,000 people. GSK consists of two operating groups—GSK Pharmaceuticals and GSK Consumer Healthcare—who research, develop, and manufacture medicines, vaccines, and consumer healthcare products.

In Australia GSK invests more than $35 million each year in research and development, contributes significantly to export revenue through pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare exports, and is active in GSK’s $580 million investment in global/community health improvement initiatives. The Asia Pacific revenue is $2.96 billion.

There was a sense that the business was growing complacent. The Managing Director wanted to “return a positive performance pressure to the business.”


  • Satisfied: Team members seemed complacent and happy with the current performance results.


  1. Diagnose: Understand the existing performance environment using our proven High Performance Environmental Structure Diagnostic Tool. The diagnostic enables leaders to quickly build a detailed picture of the current performance environment and accurately pinpoint key levers to improve performance.
  2. Strategize the Two Key Moves: Review the diagnostic results with the Leader and the Executive Team and agree on the two key actions that, if taken, will result in the most dramatic improvement in performance across the organization.
  3. Execute: Implement the two actions in a way that makes sense.


In the words of Managing Director Paul Lirette:

“There has been a significant attitudinal and behavioral change from increasing the potency of the exposure mechanisms.

Annual reviews used to come around and it did not really matter as long as one does the norm. There were often no consequences for performance and there was acceptance of substandard performance.

The solution is to have clarity about the consequences for failure and the employee needs to expect appropriate consequences.

This increases accountability. We see this in the executive team being more engaged.”

Related Information

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