Accelerating the Development of Emerging Commercial Leaders

A large pharmaceutical company engaged PCI to develop and conduct an assessment center program at both the beginning and the end of an 18-month development program for emerging commercial leaders.

As a first step, the assessment center provided a preliminary assessment of strengths and developmental needs. In addition, the participants were able to “try on” the role of district sales manager. The process involved a series of exercises that simulated key elements of the front-line sales manager position (leadership group discussion, coaching and counseling exercise, annual performance review simulation, territory analysis exercise, and inbox). The 2.5-day program included a video review session, as well as a group debriefing meeting. Each participant was provided with a lengthy written report, which served as a foundation for development. The participant then took part in a developmental planning conference with their mentor and their district manager, facilitated by one of the PCI assessors.

Based on the results, each participant worked with their manager and mentor to address their specific developmental opportunities. The company provided a combination of development courses, workshops, commercial projects, and presentations, which were attended by senior leaders. The mentors were director-level leaders, representing different franchises of the business. They remained in close contact with their protégés during the 18-month program, monitoring their progress and providing feedback along the way.

At the end of the 18-month “Emerging Commercial Leaders Program,” the participants once again took part in a 2-day assessment center (using new content). An analysis of results showed substantial skill improvements across the board. Ninety percent of participants demonstrated notable increases in competency ratings. These results clearly showed that the training, development, and mentor support, along with effort on the part of the participants, resulted in significant improvements in leadership competencies.


The Evolution of an Assessment Center... Winning on the Front Line