Over an 18-month period, one of the largest global pharmaceutical companies engaged in a strategic reorganization to help its US sales organization compete in the changing healthcare landscape, post-Affordable Care Act. The client’s decision to move to a regional business-unit structure required clarifying roles and responsibilities for the therapeutic, cluster-based sales teams.  A top priority was enhancing alignment and coordination across sales, marketing, and medical to better serve customers while maintaining appropriate adherence to compliance guidelines.

Approach and Deliverables

WLH consulted with senior leadership to assess opportunities, strategic planning options and implementation issues for driving field force effectiveness. WLH designed and facilitated a series of Leadership Development workshops where leaders from sales, marketing, and medical aligned on core operational tenets needed to define the new, post-reorganization culture.  To drive behavior change, WLH leveraged its survey design expertise to create customized team and individual leadership assessments to identify specific issues and challenges for each Regional Unit related to the reorganization.

A series of Regional Leadership Summits showcased the new operational culture for the field force that strongly supported the new strategy and organizational structure.  Regional leaders were able to better target customers and create robust business plans.  And each regional team addressed their unique business challenges while adhering to broader accountability expectations.

This U.S.-based initiative was leveraged for the same company’s international pharmaceutical divisions, operating in similar country market teams. WLH designed, developed, and piloted the program for African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American markets after which the program was rolled out worldwide by Global Learning and Development trainers.


  • The success of the cross-functional, regional/country team development (U.S. and Global markets) was evidenced by the visible commitment, work effort, and quality results produced during the three-day workshops
  • Teams and individual managers developed “90-day” plans that were taken back to their markets and immediately implemented with targeted customers
  • Within two months, comprehensive business plans were completed for 100% of U.S. Regions and Country markets involved in the roll-out
  • Since the program implementation, client leadership has reported the following successes:
    • Rapid acceptance of/adjustment to the reorganized structure by new Regional teams
    • Significant improvement in cross-functional planning, collaboration, and communication
    • Faster, more effective team responses to emerging challenges and opportunities
    • Improved coordination between HQ and Regions
    • Creation of a performance culture where individuals accept accountability for business results and are empowered to make decisions at lower levels in the organization
    • Improved call coverage and increased sales with targeted customers
    • Increased time investment by team leaders who provide coaching and feedback to their direct reports and team members
Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.

LeadershipCase StudiesOrganizational RedesignWLH Learning Solutions