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Multinational pharmaceutical, Novo Nordisk, uses Belbin to connect their leadership program seamlessly to real team and business issues.

Novo Nordisk

Employees: 45,000
Industry: Pharmaceutical
Location: China

Novo Nordisk is a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company with production facilities in eight countries and offices in 5 countries.They are committed to driving change in the treatment, perception and future of diabetes and other serious chronic diseases.


  • Develop leaders according to their strengths
  • Embed leadership skills within real teams


  • Delivered a team-focused leadership programme
  • Fostered high-performing teams working together with strategy and purpose
  • Enhanced engagement and team effectiveness
  • Improved collaboration with key stakeholders


As a company, Novo Nordisk advocates authentic leadership, encouraging leaders to find and use their strengths to lead and form teams. It strongly believes that corporate culture and values are 'the soil' that cultivates leaders.


Novo Nordisk China wanted to shift the focus of the leaders on their leadership programme. Rather than focusing purely on individual leadership skills, personality and abilities, they wanted to develop their leaders within the context of the team, to ensure that learning was embedded, practical and applicable after the programme.


Course leaders have integrated Belbin reports into the third and final stage of their leadership programme, which focuses on team leadership and building high-performing teams. In this stage, team members are also present. This enables participants to grasp the knowledge and apply it in their day-to-day job.


Novo Nordisk hosts a two-day training programme, beginning by defining the Novo Nordisk leadership values. Leaders complete the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory (SPI), which takes about 15-20 minutes and obtain Observer Assessments (4-5 minutes each) from their teams, to give them invaluable insights into how their behaviours are perceived and understood by those they lead.

The Belbin Team reports are then used for team diagnosis. These give leaders an in-depth understanding of the behavioural diversity within their team, as well as specific advice on how work might be delegated, any missing contributions and potential sources of conflict within the team.


With the Belbin reports to hand, workshops and one-on-one feedback sessions with the managers are run, focusing on three main topics:

Delegation/Project Teams

The teams study the Belbin Team report in depth, enabling them to assign tasks and responsibilities to the person most suited to each kind of work.

Co-operation with Stakeholders

Leaders are taught how Team Role knowledge can be used to understand stakeholders, for example, modifying their communication or presentation styles to ensure the best reception for their ideas and projects.

Elevating Team Spirit

Leaders explore how to drive personal behaviour change within the team to maximise efficiency and elevate team spirit.

"No longer does Novo assess a manager solely based on their individual personality and abilities – they look at how they impact their teams." - Winnie Li, Senior Leadership Development Manager


  • The applicability of the Belbin methodology makes for a seamless connection between the Novo leadership program and the individual line manager.
  • Team performance at Novo Nordisk is driven by strategy rather than luck.
  • Team members are able to play to their strengths more often, and are therefore more engaged. Each has a clear understanding of both the team’s objectives, and their contribution towards meeting those objectives.
  • Leaders and their teams are able to communicate more effectively with stakeholders, increasing collaboration and confidence in the organisation as a whole.
  • With leaders more aware of the behaviours present in the team, team members are more productive and engaged and have clearer personal development goals.


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