Tone at The Top Strategy and Roll Out in the Life Science Industry – Digital!


A global Life Science company settled with the DoJ and the SEC with respect to several regulatory breaches. One of the settlement conditions was to have a US monitor in house for two years and then self-report for a year.

  • The first monitor report contained numerous findings, one of which was to develop a Tone at the Top strategy and implement it
  • The company is highly decentralized, and a corporate communications department is practically non-existent
  • Different leadership styles, as well as local specifics, need to be addressed and aligned
  • Several hundrets of leaders need to be addressed in a first step in 65 different countries
  • All measures need to be done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Our Approach

A sustainable Tone at the Top is necessary to establish a culture of integrity globally

  • A centralized, unified and global approach ensures consistency, visibility and impact
  • Establishing an effective leadership communication cascade with Corporate Communications in the enabling lead
  • This includes the set up of: Governance, Communication Approach, Branding, Monitoring

The implementation consists of:

  • Supplementing existing activities with suitable new channels and formats and establish clear and effective messaging as well as interactive digital elements
  • Align the board of managing directors and ensure consistency of messaging
  • Enable Leadership and Compliance Officers with 50 online workshops
  • Establishment of new processes and workflows to ensure closer collaboration and exchange between different functions


  • Comprehensive strategy incl. governance for a new global functional lead for Corporate Communications within 2 months
  • Enabled 450 top leaders within 4 months
  • Enabled Compliance Officers globally within 2 months
  • A better, measurable understanding of the importance of ethical behavior through a consistent and global tone from the top

Lessons learned

  • Tone at the top starts with the management board—but L2 is equally important for conveying the right messages
  • To align a wide variety of views online is challenging and requires even more frequent communication than normally
  • There is not a wide-spread understanding of what communicating digitally and virtually requires
  • Prework, collaboration and afterwork are crucial for workshop success