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‘Success Through Leadership’ Program for Dechra

Dechra is an English based manufacturer of veterinary products. The company sells its pharmaceuticals around the world and has offices in 21 countries. José Geubels, European HR Director at Dechra, developed a program for the international sales and leadership team in collaboration with Heleen Rubingh and Nicole Heupers from Schouten Global amongst others.

After a number of successful business take-overs in recent years, Dechra is now working on the challenge of harmonizing and strengthening the sales teams in Europe. In addition to updating the skills of the employees, the team is keen to develop a common ‘language’ and methodology. At Dechra, they know that far-reaching changes like this begin with management, which is why Dechra and Schouten Global worked collectively in a productive co-creation process to develop the Dechra Sales Academy.

The Question and Goal

Dechra wanted to elevate the performance its sales teams to a higher level with specific ‘skills’ training for the sales representatives as well as leadership training for the managers who direct the teams. The underlying goal is to create a common sales approach and to anchor it in the organization for the long term. For Dechra, the key words in this process are flexibility and customization.


Dechra and Schouten Global developed the Dechra Sales Academy according to a ‘cascade method’: the program starts with a leadership program for upper management which then flows through the layers of the organization to a skills program for the sales representatives. The common theme is developing High Performing Teams collectively.


The ‘language’ of High Performing Teams is now firmly anchored in the daily work life of the Dechra sales teams. From daily ‘stand-ups’ and performance reviews to peer coaching and strategy development, everyone now works on the basis of the same principles, while keeping ‘local color’. And employees can connect with each other for peer assessment and coaching across borders and offices.

Why the Dechra Sales Academy?

‘After years of mergers and take-overs, it was time to streamline and develop the levels of knowledge and vision within the sales organization of Dechra with the aim to expand and grow in market share and revenue. This requires a development process that is customized for all levels of the organization. Management has to understand the workflow on the ground, and sales representatives need to understand their managers’ vision. The Academy integrated this approach around the theme of High Performing Teams. This has emerged as a rock-solid concept where everyone feels at home and can make a contribution and develop.’

How does the program look like?

‘The Dechra Sales Academy consists of three programs for the different levels of the organization: Success Through Leadership, Success Through Management and Success Through Sales. Each program consists of modules that are tuned to the training needs of each group, which partially overlap each other – for example when it comes to building a High Performing Team. This involves working on ‘hard skills’ such as negotiation techniques and performance management, and ‘soft skills’ like coaching and trust. An important element is after care: peer coaching and peer assessment intervals. This helps us to establish the knowledge and development in the organization.’

Why did Dechra choose Schouten Global?

‘At Dechra we were impressed with the efforts of Schouten Global and their ability to move together with the client. Collectively a customized program was developed with a unique objective and content rather than choosing a solution off the shelf. Schouten Global has chosen for an emergent approach, which means during the delivery of the program adjustments were made as necessary to keep improving and achieve the best results. We were looking for that customization, flexibility and quality level. Plus the conviction that sustainable change begins with management. Skills’ training in the workplace is just not enough; you need the support and skills of managers. Schouten Global also offered the possibility of training courses in different places in Europe and offered support with e-learning.’

The highlights?

‘There were some hesitations at the start of the program in terms of mutual expectations. But the way Schouten Global took up the gauntlet really was one of the high points for me. With new élan, in close consultation and with the right interpretation and elaboration of our ideas, they found a great way to continue the program and the collaboration. That’s what I call working together and being flexible’.

How was the partnership?

‘Schouten Global easily met our expectations. With them, co-creation really means coming together, asking the right questions, evaluating and adjusting where necessary. They showed this strength precisely in the way they shifted gears after the challenging start. And it’s great that they have a back office that makes it possible to roll out the program in different countries.’

Participants Feedback

‘The response is nothing but positive. I still clearly remember that after the first module, we got reactions like: ‘It’s nice to see colleagues again.’ But of course that’s not why we’re doing it. Since the program was modified, we have been getting high grades of feedback. But the best result is of course that the participants can really work with the knowledge. “High Performing Teams” has become more than just a buzzword at Dechra.’

Facts & Figures

140 participants
13 European countries are involved
1.5 years is the duration for the total program

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