How Roche Diagnostics Develops Global Managers

How Roche Diagnostics Develops Global Managers ?

The healthcare company Roche has two operating divisions: pharmaceuticals division and Roche Diagnostics, which applied research and development to identify  ways that diagnostic tests can help patients manage their health with individualized care. At its main sites in Switzerland ,Germany and the United States , Roche Diagnostics conducts research by microbiologists , biochemists , genetics m oncologists and specialists in infectious diseases. Funding enough people  with these skills is difficult , and managing  them requires a special set of scientific and business expertise, as well as the ability to navigate the cultural differences of a diverse work force.

In contrast to most of its competitors, Roche isn’t focused on the most efficient way to conduct research  in one or two centralized locations . Rather , the strategy is to have many different groups pursuing a variety of ideas, sharing what they learn so they create the most ideas. This , leadership requires a combination of technical strength and communication skill.

Roche develops the necessary management talent through a program of global rotation called the Perspectives Program. Employees who have completed their PhD and MBA and want to pursue an international career are eligible to participate. Participants are selected on the bases of geographic and functional needs, They are sent on four international assignments lasting six months each. Each assignment tales place in a different country – perhaps one of the main facilities or another Rocher Laboratory in , say : China or New Zealand . Typically , employees who complete the program(95 percent finish it successfully) are assigned to positions as senior managers or Directors..

Many find that the experience has led their career in a new direction.

Before managers are sent on these assignments , the company briefs them on what to expect. The briefing includes benefits to seek, reasons why the company selected them and what is investing , goals for the rotation , and success stories of prior participants . Roche has run into some challenges in implementing the program . One is that some expats start to enjoy their assignments so much that they don’t want to move on when the six-month period ends. Bringing  candidates into the program  is occasionally difficulty  because talented employees ’managers don’t want them to leave  for a foreign assignment. The company also found that preparation was sometimes inadequate – either the participant or the manager of the international assignment wasn’t fully prepared.

To address some of these problems, Roche is now more careful to lay out the plan for the rotation while preparing candidates, so they understand that the rotation will have a limited duration . Rather than simply saving their  careers could take them to various places, the discussion now points locations where there is a need that matches the candidate’s talents. The program also has more alternatives so some employees can take assignments for just a year.

For candidates who are deciding whether to participate , Roche lets them take their spouse or domestic partner with them on some trips to investigate the program .Although this adds to the programs expense , it helps to ensure that the participant will successfully complete the rotation. Candidates who are unsure also can shadow a current participant to see wat the experience is life .One was Roche has lowered managers ’resistance to losing top employees us to arrange swaps where a manager who lets a key employee participate in the rotation can he on the receiving end and get a top employee from another part of the world.

Recently , when a participant returned from a rotation in Japan , he could readily identify what aspect of the experience had made him a better business person . He said he learned to understand the typical decision making process in Japan , which involved careful discussion in the office, followed by a late evening out for diner and further discussion , with key decisions occusing as late as midnight . Knowing the “after – housr”part if the work day is crucial for a company that has many interations between colleagues in the United States and Japan .

Source: Marilyn B. Leah :”Making Global Rotation Work “Roches Technology Management , November – December 2009, pp 38-41 “Can Roche Leave Genentech Alone” Business Week November 25,2009 www.businessweek.com

1.      Discuss who is responsible for producing global leaders. 

2.      In your professional field, explain the possible ramifications of not having global leaders.

3.      Roche’s Perspectives Program invests many resources to develop their global leaders. Based on the O’Toole chapter on public policy, discuss the possible changes that can be made in the U.S. to encourage companies to become global leaders.

4.      In the absence of resources such as Roche has at its disposal of producing global leaders, describe how smaller organizations can address their global leadership development needs. 

5.      Recommend how public policy can influence the development of global leaders in your community

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