Ref: IMD-7-2079

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2079

Order this case study

Eli Lilly and Company: A transformation journey "on equal footing" (A)

John R. Weeks

By Professor John R. WeeksJohn R. Weeks and Valerie Keller-Birrer

When Simone Thomsen took over as General Manager of Eli Lilly and Company, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the last thing her new team wanted from her was yet another vision.

The organization had faced new leaders every two or three years, each with a new vision, and many reorganizations and restructurings. They were fed up and felt misunderstood. But their performance had not been good and the future was going to be even more difficult.

It was clear to Thomsen that simply doing the same things, only a little better, wouldn’t be enough. A transformation was needed.

Her objective was to get the company back on track and show it could grow and be profitable. Then the organization might accept yet another new vision, and, she hoped, her team might even accept to create a new vision themselves. They did, and it would require a radical transformation to achieve. They committed themselves to becoming the most humane and customer-centric pharmaceutical company in Austria, Switzerland and Germany by 2020.

Learning Objective

How to effectively lead an inclusive visioning process and inspire an organization that is tired of visions and suffering from change fatigue.
Keywords General Management, Human Resources, Leadership, Management, Talent Management
Settings Europe, Germany
Health Care
2014 to 2019
Type Field Research
Copyright ©2019
Language English
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-2079

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre, UK Office

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre, US office

Babson College

Babson Park, Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information related to case studies, please contact Case Services.


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2079

Order this case study

Keep reading