Lesson 1. Working Out Loud: Sales Team in a global healthcare company

by guest blogger 


Gloria Lombardi interviewed me … Lessons on Working Out loud from GSK.

One of my personal favourite working out loud Yammer success stories is by a sales team launching a new pharmaceutical product.

Have you tried Working Out Loud in a Network #wolan? A four-part change management approach:

1. #wolan model. Combines Working Out Loud with enterprise business tools e.g. Enterprise Social Networks. Purpose is to nurture conversations to help fix business problems, support business strategy alignment, encourage knowledge networking and demonstrate the right behaviours and values.

2. Decrease email dependency. Diminishing a lateral two-dimensional command and control structure; providing depth breadth width of a company with need to know, interesting, actionable real-time information from the authentic source point. Email will still be necessary for alerts, confidentiality, 1:1 discussion.

3. Business intelligent #hashtags. Hashtags are user-generated labels on social tools like Twitter that makes it easier to find and amplify a message with a specific theme. Purpose of a “business intelligent hashtag”, virally generated by employees is to amplify WHAT YOU DO & HOW YOU DO IT and in turn, creating internal digital DNA!

4. Qualitative questions. Demonstrate the business value of your network in the early stages, and again at tipping point. Share stories/insights not just about the size of your network but the quality within!

Here’s a top quality Enterprise Social Network business value improvement story for a product launch by a sales team in a global healthcare company that used the #wolan approach.


Working Out Loud in A Network decreases email dependency by removing the limits of a typical lateral, two-dimensional command and control structure.
Download the #wolan approach to learn more!


Group purpose: Public group for a UK sales force to share field ideas, challenges, and successes and support colleagues. c. 300 members.

Which company strategy did your group align to? Bringing the highest quality pharmaceutical products to market safely, efficiently and effectively.

Did your group demonstrate our culture? Yes! It shouted out what we do and why we’re doing it with personal accountability, continuous improvement, voice of the customer, “go and see” feedback from healthcare practitioner (HCP) visits (no PII), and shared problem solving and stakeholder engagement.

What were the problems that needed to be fixed: We needed to find a way for our field based teams to raise questions, give feedback, share learnings, celebrate success thought out the launch phase of a new pharmaceutical product and be visible to the brand teams, their colleagues and the UK management teams.

How would you have fixed it in the past without an Enterprise Social Network? We didn’t really have a fix in the past. Issues could be escalated through the sales line but this would not allow any input from anywhere else. We may have used a phone for team queries and results would probably have been saved up until team meetings. Plus of course plenty of random emailing!

What did the Enterprise Social Network help you do, that wasn’t possible before? In short, collaborate! Teams from across the country were able to share tips, advice and support in a timely manner. Equally, the fact that this group was open (public in the enterprise) ensured that our head office teams were also fully in the loop and this enabled them to keep a finger on the pulse throughout the launch and post-launch. The management team had a screen with the group feed installed near their team table so that everyone had continuous visibility. This group acted as a catalyst for the other product launch teams in Europe and Australia to emulate the Enterprise Social Network approach with their product launches, of which they’re actively doing.

What were the benefits of this to the people involved, and to our company? For our field teams, having Enterprise Social Network accessible via their mobile devices has meant that they can stay in touch with their teams and the business wherever they are. We can share key business info via this group and invite comments and discussion where and when appropriate. It gives us insight into what is happening around the business (especially in the sales field) and gives everyone the opportunity to collaborate, work across boundaries and share sales successes.

“Yammer really helped us throughout the product launch – enabling us to build engagement and providing a space where the whole business could collaborate. We were able to share the voice of the customer, patient experiences and our own insights in real time, which added real value to our conversations”. Product Launch VP, global healthcare company

This is the first in a series of success stories we’ll be sharing here over the coming weeks on how Enterprise Social Network demonstrated business value in: R&D, manufacturing, support services, fundraising, induction and communities of practice private groups – end to end enterprise ways of working! All stories include senior leader quotes plus tips and tactics you can steal with pride.

These stories were posted on the company intranet under people strategy as the stories are also about the hard work of the group managers (champions) who brought the groups to life. They were encouraged to use the stories in their year-end appraisals.

Working Out Loud in a Network #wolan, four-part change management approach is endorsed by a German Works Council in a global healthcare company, Warwick Business School/Digital Workplace Group and Microsoft Yammer.

This empowered working out loud story helped make life better and employees closer to the patient. And, for Corporate Communicator’s a license to work across silos and get right to the heart of the business. To authentically report on the business value of working out loud supporting business strategy, demonstrating company culture, strategic transformation and imparting internal DNA. No PII shared.

I was not the owner of the sales team Yammer group. Merely co-created and shared the story. It inspired me to go on a road trip to develop Working Out Loud in A Network#wolan approach whilst undertaking in-house lean sigma training. I learned many helpful project management skills from the training, and the reality that…

email is a wasteful way of working andcollaborating by working out loud is the future of work that delivers business value!

More stories soon, but in the meantime get your free copy of the #wolan approach today!

Lesley will be speaking at our next event – Using Enterprise Social Networks to nurture employee engagement and advocacy


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