Client Story

Case Study: Empowering leadership training inspires sales staff and helps them become trusted customer advisors


Result: a sales team becomes more customer-centric by being self-aware and focused on customers’ needs – not just sales targets 


The Client

Janssen is the pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson. They believe that they have an opportunity and an obligation to make a significant positive impact in the world by addressing the most serious unmet medical needs of our time. They have more than 30,000 people working in 150 countries to prevent, treat, cure and stop some of the most devastating and complex diseases of our time, from heart disease to HIV and Alzheimer’s to cancer. 

Janssen Romania was going through a period of accelerated growth and business change and engaged Open Water to help them build higher levels of trust between their sales force and their customers.


A Challenging Task

Janssen operates in hundreds of countries and has had to adapt to many different local cultures. Janssen has developed its Integrity Selling mode to ensure that it is always a high quality, trustworthy and ethical company. The challenge was to implement a customer-centric leadership development program in Janssen Romania where the business was growing rapidly and there was a diverse sales force. 

Janssen had a long-standing relationship with Open Water, who had delivered The Connected Program in 10 different languages in 32 EMEA countries, as well to people from Asia Pacific: Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Malaysia. 


Building Trust through Emotional Intelligence – The Connected Program

Janssen Romania wanted to be the most credible, trusted and respected pharmaceutical organization in their market. 

“Our objective for this program was for our people to have more self-awareness. To understand themselves and the impact they have on others. And to teach them how to translate that emotional intelligence into positive actions,” says Simona Bucur, Janssen Romania.

Janssen Romania developed a proposal with Open Water to take all of their customer-facing people through the Connected Program, to achieve the customer relationship and growth opportunities they had seen in other countries. The Connected program focuses on: 

  • the personal leadership journey, 
  • helping staff, and the organization as a whole, to become more self-aware, 
  • increasing staff’s ability for self-management, and 
  • empowering staff to be more responsible for their own motivation and performance. 



The Connected Program consists of four modules, each lasting two days:

Module 1: Connected Self. This is the emotional awareness foundation module and addresses issues of self-awareness and self-management.

Module 2: Connected Communicator. This module explores how your emotions affect behavior and how to apply that rationale to influence others.

Module 3: Connecting with Your Customer.  This module focuses on personal purpose and values.  Participants learn how to deliver structured messages and put that into practice.

Module 4: Connected Consultant.  Participants adopt a customer centric, problem-solving mindset to enable them to become trusted advisors. In this module they learn to implement ‘pull’ not “push’ strategies, honing their consultative questioning skills to discover what customers really need.


For Janssen Romania, Open Water designed the program merging modules 3 and 4 into one three-day unit. Open Water ran the Connected program with 55 key customer-facing staff, in three groups.


Changing Mindsets, Changing Lives

Like all Open Water programs, the Connected Program has the principles of emotional intelligence at its core.  Participants experience a fundamental increase in self-awareness, which affects their beliefs and identity. They gain personal and professional maturity that is reflected in how they see themselves and results in increased levels of confidence. When you multiply this effect with each individual going through the learning process you create a significant culture shift within the teams – and within the organisation.

For Janssen Romania, the impact of the program was significant. “I have had many people come and tell me that this was the most unexpected and impactful training they have ever received. They said: ‘this has even helped me understand my own life much better’.  And they have been able to overcome some of the personal issues they were having, as well as learning to redefine the relationship with our customers,” explains Simona. 

Christian Rodseth, Managing Director of Janssen Romania agrees. “The time we spent with Open Water has allowed us to think a bit more about ourselves, our beliefs and our behaviours. To stop blaming things on exterior factors and take responsibility for how we respond to situations. It has put our attention on really understanding that we aren’t victims of our situations, because we can control ourselves and get the best out of our situations”.



  • Increased maturity and self-awareness. The team members now understand themselves better, and the impact they have on others. In the team there is now less friction, with more understanding and tolerance. The quality of communication has improved as a result of the training, encouraging greater dialogue and understanding between colleagues.
  • Emotional intelligence. Team members are able to translate their self-awareness and the tools they have been given into improving customer relationships. Having the confidence to help their customer find the best solution for them, even if this is not always a Janssen product, gives them greater credibility. 
  • Building trust. Janssen Romania now has the tools, ability and understanding of how, and why, to build long-term relationships with their customers, in order to become trusted advisors. 
  • Personal growth leads to increased performance. Inspired and valued members of staff are motivated to work together to deliver the business’ strategic aims. They can see the value in their role and take pride in being part of a winning team.  
  • Culture Shift.  By multiplying the impact of individual learning throughout the sales team, Janssen Romania has started to benefit from the change in organisational culture.



Janssen Romania has started on a journey to transform their sales team into genuine trusted advisors. Christian Rodseth explains, “When people are more resourceful and have a deep understanding about themselves, they are able to interact a lot better with the customers. They stop wanting to sell and start wanting to help solve problems for the customers. If you can go into a customer, really understand what their need is, and then help them come up with a solution then it is incredibly rewarding.”

It also has a huge impact on internal customers within the team. “You know that when a team works well together that’s when you achieve results. When they are aligned and able to understand what the other is saying then they are able to build on each other’s ideas. That for me is a clear indicator that things are moving in the right direction and there will be greater success as a business because of the training we have done,” says Simona.

“I think Open Water are true professionals that know how to integrate with the team they are training. They know how to switch between techniques to make sure the audience understands what they really need to understand. And they make it practical, creative and fun.”

Simona Bucur


If you would like to find out how to get the very best out of your team, and build trusted relationships with your customers, we’d love to talk to you.