Impact Story
GSK custom program

Leading in Context – GSK Custom Leadership Program

Impact Story

GSK custom program

Leading in Context – GSK Custom Leadership Program

We chose IMD business school not only because of their top international ranking, but because they elegantly blend leadership practice with academic theory. This mix ensures our leaders have a powerful experience both individually and collectively. The evidence is clear: the program is having a profound and positive influence on the choices our leaders are making in the wide variety of situations that they face every day.

 - IMD Business School
Kim Lafferty Leading in Context Program Sponsor, Head of People Development

GSK: Leadership development program


Science-led global healthcare company, GSK came to IMD with the desire to help their leaders manage the paradoxes around today’s complex, changing and ambiguous external environment. The objective was to reignite the leadership energy amongst managers typically two or three levels below the top team and empower them to make a real difference to GSK’s future.


As best expressed by a participant: “In a complex internal and external environment with numerous dynamics at play, how do you as a leader find the strength you need to drive performance relentlessly?”

Custom approach

Through a blended-learning approach combining a 1-week module at IMD with 6 months of distance learning, participants explored the dynamics impacting their leadership at an organizational, team and personal level and how with this level of self-awareness, they could best make a positive impact. In module 1, participants took part in experiential learning exercises in a classroom setting, “learning in the here and now” and received feedback from IMD professors and their peers. Each brought examples of challenges from their workplace to apply in their learning context. Module 2, spread over 6 months included writing, reading and discussing with a personal coach through a structured process and gave participants a precious opportunity to solidify their learning and understand how new concepts could be implemented into their day to day activities.


GSK’s Head of People Development and program sponsor, Kim Lafferty reported early signs of a profound impact amongst leaders coming back with a renewed energy of what they can and want to achieve. “Managers are fully taking up their leadership roles with a clear sense of awareness of the choices they are making.”

Participants have shared similar impressions:

  • “I have experienced a strong release of energy and discovered how I can drive collaboration across boundaries which is very important at GSK.”
  • “We have created a real collective momentum with people facing similar challenges across our organization.”
  • “I am more aware of what I do that affects the context and what does the context do that affects me.”
  • “Developing my self-awareness, has empowered me to truly take up my leadership role and become a better leader.”

Image source: GSK/CC