Lonza, a leading international supplier to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences sector was evaluating different options to review and harmonize the strategy development process of their nine Business Units. The process had thus far been decentralized with significant differences in quality and relevance of the resulting strategy papers. This made strategic discussions with the Business Units and their consolidation into a corporate strategy difficult and led to frustration with all participants.

 A new strategy development process was to address these issues and had the following goals: 
• Harmonized high-quality strategy documents
 • Improved strategic skills of participants
 • High ownership and commitment to the participants
 • Improved organizational climate within the Business Units 
• Deepened networks across Business Unit borders 

Lonza opted for an innovative, deeply customised action-learning approach together with the University of St. Gallen. Combining managerial learning and corporate development Lonza’s 150 most senior managers developed their own Business Unit strategy as an action-learning-project embedded in an in-depth strategy development and implementation programme. 

The collaboration with The University of St .Gallen

The University of St.Gallen provided a highly customised, structured strategy development process, individual and group coaching, and cutting-edge thought-leadership. The actual content development, however, remained entirely in the hands of the participants. This approach ensured both a high degree of commitment and ownership on the part of the participants and optimal use of managers’ expertise. 


Acknowledging these advantages, Lonza suspended its established strategy development process and replaced it by the joint process with the University of St. Gallen. Three classroom-based interventions marked the cornerstones of two action-learning sequences of 45 days each, where the Business Unit-teams developed their respective strategies. 

The outcomes of this exercise were adopted by the Management Committee, incorporated into the corporate strategy and then approved by Lonza’s board. Direct results of the strategy process included a major acquisition and the reinforcement of existing joint ventures in the Bio Generics industry. 

In a focused survey one-year post-program HR-managers of the Business Units reported a significant improvement in the participants’ strategic skills, in their commitment towards the strategy and in the organizational climate. According to Lonza’s Management Committee, the program has significantly contributed to Lonza’s strategic as well as organisational development.

Source: http://www.tailoredbyhsg.ch/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/file_4084.pdf

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