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  • Writer's pictureGraham Hutchings

Filing Team in Action for Hoffmann la Roche


Any delay in our drug filing process can cost up to $80 million per month in lost revenues. All responsibility rests with the filing team. How can we ensure that a large set of individuals drawn from different cultures, disciplines and governance structures rapidly form a high performing team? Further, the effectiveness of any R&D team depends on how well the team works, not as a collection of technical specialists, but as a true team; creating psychological safety, so that doubts, questions, risks and half-baked suggestions can be freely contributed to the team’s thinking process, maximising the agility with which the team responds to challenges and opportunities, and minimising the “why didn’t you say that four months ago?” situations that are so costly. A key component of effective teamwork is the ability of team members to give and receive feedback. Without feedback, poor behaviours are tolerated or reinforced, participation is reduced, psychological safety disappears, opportunities are lost and teamwork becomes mechanical and unresponsive.


Roche wanted a simulation that could replicate and compress the 18 months of the filing process into a couple of days, giving participants an overview of the process, and helping them to develop world-class team behaviours that would influence how effectively the team would work. We produced a simulation that mirrors the business challenge of submitting new drugs to the regulatory authorities and gives immediate feedback on how participant behaviours affect their success. In this realistic context, we teach teamwork behaviours and feedback skills, using the SBIA (Situation, Behaviour, Impact, Alternative) framework that has transformed the working relationships of so many leaders. Participants gain true agility in both putting forward their own contributions and helping others develop their thinking - so that the team’s progress is accelerated, and responsiveness to stakeholders increases.


This award-winning course is so helpful to Roche we now deliver it regularly to hundreds of employees each year, and we are helping them to access billion-dollar product opportunities, in less than half the time. After taking part in the simulation, the participants have a clear view of what to expect over the forthcoming months – because they have already practised doing it. They leave with a set of world-class teamworking skills, a deeper understanding and increased trust of their teammates, and the skills (through feedback) to constantly fine-tune the team’s behaviour, coping easily with changes in team composition. They can respond in a truly agile way to both common and unexpected pitfalls.

Detlef Hold, Head of Digital Learning Experience at Roche, writes: "Benefitting from the very best learning expertise on the market today has really made an impact on the quality of leadership and level of business understanding right across the global organisation."

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