Acorn Coaching and Development

Improving business performance


Major pharmaceutical manufacturer GSK enlists Acorn

Major multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline enlisted Acorn to support staff at a plant near Mumbai in India. The plant is making drugs for a World Health Organisation initiative to control elephantiasis, a tropical disease which threatens nearly 1.4 billion people with 120 million currently infected and about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated.

  • Gsk-casestudy-india


The plant makes formulations for the Indian domestic market as well as for the World Health Organisation mass drug administration campaign.

It is seeking to expand its business areas and improve still further its production and quality manufacturing capabilities to take full advantage of the international opportunities in emerging markets.

Acorn's Approach

Acorn consultant Steve Gee carried out a range of investigations and consultations before travelling out to the plant to work with the senior management. The aim was to encourage more effective team working and better collaboration and communication to integrate the functions that supported production facilities on the site.

Steve explains: “A new site director identified the need to draw together the various members of the senior team which itself demonstrated a range of personalities, different management styles and cultural differences.

Business in India is in a rapidly evolving state and some of the team placed a greater emphasis on status and hierarchy than others who were more concerned with working together. This could be frustrating for the site director when shared ownership for an issue was required to identify root cause and solve it.

The pressure generated by the business expansion required significant change in the way the team worked if the business was to achieve its aims.”

Delivery and Outcomes

The intervention included working individually with 8 members of the senior management and also running a 3-day team development programme.

The programme was tailored to the team’s needs to develop trust and relationships between individuals while driving up utilisation of questioning and listening skills to build a more integrated approach.

Over the 3 days the team experienced a range of problem-solving activities, skills inputs and facilitated discussions culminating in a feedback session.

Steve adds: “Many of the team had not experienced this sort of external intervention before and responded well to the activity. Feedback in the months after our work was that there was now much better problem solving and interaction between different departments, and far less of the ‘turf protection’ and eagerness to shift blame that had previously characterised leadership relationships.”

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"It was a pleasure working with Acorn... real business critical action and will have a long term effect on the leadership."

GSK Site Director