More Self-initiative, less Hierarchy: Re-Thinking Leadership

Roche is currently on a journey of transformation. Not only the way in which we work together is changing, also our approach to leadership is being revised. To successfully establish a new understanding, the support of all employees is required. Anne Uebersax reports on her experience in re-thinking leadership.

My name is Anne Uebersax and in my role as an Integrated Strategy Lead I am dealing with our differentiated understanding of leadership on a daily basis, as we work together in squads in a cross-functional way and without hierarchical leadership. As a Squad Lead, it is my task to empower all members, provide them with strategic orientation for their work, and optimally enhance their development potential.

To ensure the company's success in the long-run, it is necessary to re-think leadership. Our new leadership understanding intends to support Roche in recognizing future challenges in the healthcare industry at an early stage, to be able to react quickly, and to continue to be perceived as one of the most attractive employers. We enable all employees to actively participate in shaping various areas, to stay open to changes, and to see them as an opportunity. These values are the ones that are required in a faster growing world, and to face new trends and circumstances in an agile and fast way - as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown.

Understanding of leadership


Leadership does not need a new concept or new term, but a new basic understanding.

Anne Uebersax

Our impact

The openness to question things, to venture into new fields and the ability to learn from mistakes are all attitudes that will prepare Roche to meet the challenges and opportunities of the healthcare industry. I have been working for Roche for more than 15 years and I consider the current transformation to be one of the most profound and sustainable ones. The transformation enables us to discard old thought patterns and reinvent ourselves, because it is not "just" a reorganization of structures, but a change of mindset.

The place to Work

Re-thinking leadership and our understanding of cooperation also helps to strengthen Roche as an attractive employer. It is contemporary and helps to anticipate trends in organizational development at an early stage. Our new leadership philosophy helps to appeal to younger employees - such as the often quoted Generation Z - who can more easily bring their perspectives and skills to the organization. Self-determination, the opportunity to participate in networks, and the ability to flexibly shape work content - these are points that are relevant for attracting young talents.

Our culture

Leadership does not need a new concept or new term, but a new basic understanding. It is about moving away from the previous thinking in hierarchies, power, and silos, towards more individual initiative and responsibility, cross-functional cooperation, and thinking in networks. In order to make all this possible, existing structures must change. It is important to send the right signals within the organization so that we can break away from the "old" hierarchical thinking, at all levels. This requires mutual trust.​​​​​​​
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