Sanofi-Canada - Mindfulness Training and Leadership | Michael Bunting


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Sanofi Canada has 4 state-of-the-art facilities and 2,000 employees, while Sanofi Global is in 90 countries with 91,000 employees. The company researches, develops, manufactures and distributes biopharmaceuticals. 


  • 8 new members on 10-person GenMed team  
  • Meet ambitious sales targets 
  • Sell a new prescription medication  
  • Reach double-digit growth on diabetes products 
  • Embed the “Play to Win” culture asap  
  • Increase 6/10 engagement score  

Solution: The Mindful Leader: Vertical Growth Program  


  • Cohesive GenMed Team embraces “Play to Win”  
  • GenMed team meets & exceeds targets   
  • Achieved the highest volume growth in 2 countries   
  • 400+% over forecasted sales for new medication  
  • Attained double-digit growth on diabetes products 
  • Attained 7.6/10 engagement score (+1.6) 

Executive Summary: 

Sanofi Canada’s 10-person GenMed team, 8 of whom were new hires, had to meet ambitious 2023 sales targets and embed the company’s Play to Win culture and behaviours as quickly as possible. They used Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program to identify the individual and team attitudes and behaviours that would positively and negatively impact their ability to reach their goals. Vertical Growth showed them how much their ability to learn and enjoy their work affects their performance and targets. The program created and fostered a safe environment that supports the honest boss, peer and direct report feedback that identifies the attitudes and behaviours that need to change. People stopped the negative (red zone) actions, then learned and practiced the positive (green zone) attitudes and behaviours to reach their “Play to Win” triple goals: performance, pace of learning and joy at work.


In less than a year, Sanofi Canada’s new GenMed team proved leadership training increases sales as they helped their 35 direct reports meet ambitious targets.

The Vertical Growth leadership training helped us build a cohesive GenMed team and embed our Play to Win culture to boost revenue and deliver the triple goal – performance, pace of learning and joy at work,” says Ahmed Moussa, general manager, Sanofi Canada.   

In less than a year, Vertical Growth’s impact on Sanofi Canada’s sales was so significant it earned bronze in Sanofi’s Make It Happen awards program in the Accelerated Growth category. In 2023, Vertical Growth was the only leadership development and culture transformation program out of 330 sales-improvement submissions. 

80% New Team Meets Biggest Challenge Ever

In late 2022, Sanofi’s GenMed team, which provides solutions for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, was facing its biggest challenge ever. When Sanofi’s head office relocated to Toronto from Montreal, 8 of its 10 members didn’t make the move. Yet in just a few months, the GenMed team, 80% of whom were new to Sanofi, still had to meet challenging sales targets that were based purely on marketplace opportunities rather than their Sanofi experience. They also had to learn all about Sanofi, the Play to Win culture and Sanofi’s solution while leading their 35 direct reports to success.

Fortunately, Ahmed was familiar with Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program and its focus on the  connection between culture and the triple goal – high performance, pace of learning and joy at work. Vertical Growth’s 6 modules provided 40 hours of digital and in-person, facilitator-led training. It was designed to help individuals and teams identify the attitudes and behaviours that would positively and negatively affect their sales and launch targets. Vertical Growth showed GenMed how much their ability to learn and enjoy their work affects their performance and targets.

When people are happy at work, they want to learn, and they learn more quickly — which leads to better results. At Sanofi, as at so many companies, performance, pace of learning and joy at work, had existed in isolated silos.

Brain Science Supports Learning & Performance

Vertical Growth focuses on the brain and behavioural science that recognises the reactive and reflective brain. The former produces rapid, emotional, intuitive red zone behaviours such as needing to be the smartest, not listening to others and getting defensive. The reflective brain generates logical, deliberate green zone behaviours, for example, direct, open conversations and clear, honest feedback. Red zone behaviours hurt performance, learning and joy at work while green zone behaviours support and accelerate them.

“Linking our red and green behaviours to the triple goals and performance was great,” says Tim Baily, area business manager, Sanofi Canada. “It enabled us to quantify our success.”

Sanofi Canada’s 80% new management team shared one big red zone issue – they constantly referred to themselves, as the “new team”. Their “What do you expect from us – we’re new?!” attitude was a real barrier to accountability, pace of learning and achieving goals. With Vertical Growth, they realised that regardless of their time with Sanofi Canada, they were one team with goals to meet while learning and growing together. They also accepted that true accountability required 100% accountability from leaders and 100% from their direct reports.

“We realised that our attitude and the lack of accountability was affecting our performance,” says Ahmed.

Leaders were sceptical when first introduced to Vertical Growth – they expected a whole lot of “blah-blah” and “woo-woo. However, the 360 assessments showed them Vertical Growth added real value.

For the first time, leaders received feedback from their subordinates and shared the feedback from their bosses with their direct reports.

“I had some red-zone behaviours that were simply hurting people I cared about and my performance,” says Alla Gontar, head of medical, Sanofi Canada. “I am learning how to observe my red zone and practice my green zone behaviours.” 

Adds Sanofi Canada’s chief financial officer, Linda Santi, “I am now 100% more aware of my behaviours, actions and emotions!”

Finetune Based on Feedback

New GenMed members, who had a commercial background with other organizations, couldn’t connect Play to Win’s 4 principles to Sanofi’s business goals. As a result of the feedback, Vertical Growth training explained exactly how red and green zone behaviours could affect Sanofi’s performance and revenue. Vertical Growth trainers also made it clear Play to Win actions and attitudes are all green zone behaviours:  

  • stretch (work smarter, take thoughtful risks, try new things) 
  • take action (look for solutions, make informed decisions, take personal responsibility) 
  • act for patients and customers (use time and money to serve)  
  • Think As One Sanofi (do the right thing, share and learn from one another, prioritise collective progress) 

“Vertical Growth identified the red zone behaviours that distracted us from green, Play to Win behaviours,” says Ahmed. “As our capabilities and behaviours evolve, our pace of learning, joy at work and performance keep pace to meet targets!”

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