Case Study

Readying high-potential talent

for senior leadership roles


Client need 

To prepare key talent for senior leadership roles, a multinational pharmaceutical and biotech organization needed to create a development program that would allow participants to practice responding to leadership challenges in a safe space and receive actionable feedback that would accelerate their personal and professional growth.  

To build the capabilities needed for successful leadership, the organization partnered with BTS to create a customized program that touched on areas such as:  

  • Fostering an enterprise mindset 
  • Collaborating across boundaries and siloes 
  • Championing diversity of thought and perspective  
  • Taking risks and showing conviction 
  • Demonstrating business acumen  
The solution 

BTS created a customized Virtual Individual Assessment (VIA) wherein their participants encountered a “day in the life” of a senior leader at a simulated version of their organization. The VIA allowed them to participate in business and social acumen-building activities that mirrored the experiences of leaders working one or two levels above their current role. BTS assessors evaluated their behavior during the simulation, later providing written and verbal feedback. 

These were the desired outcomes: 

  1. Creating self-awareness around participants’ own strengths, development areas, and relative success as a leader  
  2. Building knowledge of how the business works and a global network to create enterprise-wide impact
  3. Widening participants’ aperture to think more strategically and future-forward  
  4. Creating targeted development plans aligned with participants’ goals and aspirations  
  5. Accelerating participants’ readiness and excitement for future leadership roles at the organization 

This particular program led to the following outcomes:

  • 100% of participants were receptive of and agreed with the feedback they received from their assessors 
  • 100% of participants committed to next steps and follow-up actions, collectively committing to over 300 Go-Dos, which are a set of action items to be completed back on the job 
  • 40% of participants have been promoted at least once 
  • 64% of participants are on one or more succession plans 
  • 92% of participants have remained at the organization 

The program was such a success that it spurred the creation of over 15 additional development programs at the organization. These programs were wholly tailored to critical roles across the organization, giving their talent the opportunity to “try on” next-level leadership roles in their desired career path.  

Client feedback 
  • “What a great experience! I hadn’t anticipated the ability of the assessment center to replicate work stress and the challenges faced at work. I was actually happy that I was good at bits I am good at in my job, but more importantly, messed up in the same way I do at work, which made the feedback feel relevant and insightful.” 
  • “Great opportunity to stress test my learnings and capability, as this role goes beyond my current scope and skillsets.” 
  • “A good opportunity to hold up a mirror…We all have blind spots, and now I recognize mine.” 
  • “It’s amazing how you can see in a short amount of time what the core issues are.” 
  • “This gave me a great opportunity to learn about the challenges of a senior leadership role.” 

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