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Innovation, Mistakes and Psychological Safety: How Takeda Fosters a Growth Mindset

I’ve spent the bulk of my career in biopharmaceuticals and life sciences. Our industry has evolved dramatically over the years through sophisticated automation, innovations in gene therapy and vaccine technology, and complexities in government regulation. Throughout all this change, there’s been one constant: we always need amazing people.  

I joined Takeda in 2021 because I was looking for a chance to build a team. Takeda had begun an HR transformation and I came in to build our Global Talent Management function during a time of growth and change in the company. I was attracted to the opportunity itself, but the culture and people are what ultimately brought me here.  

Takeda’s culture is special in two key ways:

1. We are uniquely values-driven. We are guided by our values of Takeda-ism which incorporate Integrity, Fairness, Honesty, and Perseverance, with Integrity at the core. They are brought to life through actions and decisions based on Patient-Trust-Reputation-Business, in that order. Leaders and employees alike consistently reference this framework when making decisions. Patients come before profits, and we take the long view to ensure we are acting in the best interests of patients. 

2. We’re a genuinely kind and empathetic group of people. Everyone I’ve interacted with at Takeda brings understanding to the table each day. It’s a place where ideas are appreciated and people want to partner. We recognize we’re humans first. High-performing teams are better when they have compassion, respect and inclusivity.

Talent Management at a Global Organization 

Takeda is a global organization with over 50,000 employees across 80 countries. As Chief

 Talent Officer, my goal is to ensure that Takeda has the right people in the right roles with the right skills and capabilities to drive our business forward and improve the lives of patients around the world.  

Our Global Talent Management team champions this goal through several focuses: talent intelligence, people analytics, succession planning, learning and performance management innovation, to name just a few. I’m proud of the team I’ve built during my time here—we hired bright minds, established credibility with our business partners, and have delivered quality work in a short amount of time. We have high personal standards, a strong work ethic and sense of accountability, and a desire to achieve as a team. It’s this combination that makes us so successful.  

Managing talent at a large, global organization like Takeda and navigating different perspectives or behaviors across countries and regions may seem daunting. I firmly believe that across the diverse human experience, we have more similarities than differences. Employees want a core set of things from their workplace, including an inspiring people leader, a supportive team and the ability to learn and grow.  

My goal is to make working environments more equitable, but I don't have to do everything myself. First, we have a community of colleagues who directly support our different divisions – they are our key customers and I am thankful for their partnership. Based upon their input, my team and I create global frameworks, we agree on what success looks like and then I empower my team to make it happen, adapting to local conditions and input as needed. I trust them, and they deliver.  

Innovation Comes From Mistakes

Another core goal of mine as Chief Talent Officer is to create an environment of psychological safety among our teams. Studies have shown that making mistakes is actually one of the best ways to learn. When you slip up, you make it right, learn, and improve for next time. This idea really goes hand-in-hand with innovation and empowerment.  

Innovation requires diversity of ideas and failing fast contributes to the growth-mindset that allows us to innovate on behalf of our patients in such an impactful way. When we encourage input, are transparent about mistakes we make, and recognize when people are speaking up or challenging new ideas, we create an amazing team dynamic of structured risk-taking without fear of negative consequences.  

Everyone Can Be a Leader

I firmly believe that no matter the role, everyone is a leader. It boils down to two words: Positive Influence. Everyone at Takeda can influence the teams around them, inspire a peer, or deliver meaning in their work.  

Takeda has four core leadership behaviors (Think Strategically, Inspire Others, Deliver Priorities, and Elevate Capabilities). All four are important, but the two I believe are most important to us, right now are:  

1. Deliver Priorities – It's no secret the business environment changes at lightning pace. Agility is essential to pivot, reprioritize, and maintain the focus on delivering for our patients.  
2. Elevate CapabilitiesOur organization is evolving as we build out our digital, data and technology capabilities. It’s going to change and improve the way we do work, so it’s essential that we continuously learn and upskill as a company so we can deliver. 

Curiosity is also a behavior I encourage my teams to adopt. Takeda has this wonderful and rich history, beginning in Osaka, Japan. We’ve had so many changes, and in the past decade alone have truly rounded into a global organization that’s large, diverse, and presents opportunities at every level.  

Join Our Team and Lead the Way

My career at Takeda has been characterized by building programs and teams, and I’m so proud of what we’ve crafted so far. Talent Management can be a puzzle, but I relish the integration—when we can bring the pieces together in a simple and elegant way that transforms lives and demonstrates our impact.  

 If you get excited by innovation, want to build alongside empathetic, diverse coworkers, and are inspired by improving the lives of patients around the world, there’s so much opportunity for you here. Our work is not easy. But for those up to the challenge, you can create meaning in your work alongside a group of incredibly passionate and kind people.  

Come work for a team that places integrity and values first. Explore our roles today and become a leader. 

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