Companies grooming leaders for global roles: With global ambitions flying thick and fast, some of the best companies in the world, including Indian firms, are investing serious resources to create a pool of global leaders. These leaders, who already hold key positions, are being groomed to take up top-level responsibilities across geographies
At the forefront of such an initiative are Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M ), Infosys, Satyam, Schneider Electric, Calyon and UTi, to name a few. Scores of firms are roping in HR consultancies like Right Management, Leadership Management International (LMI), Hewitt Associates and HayGroup with a mandate for the job. While some have global leadership programs, others deliver solutions customized to the need of organizations.
M&M, for instance, is making conscious effort to groom leaders at the global level. It has already sent 11 individuals for Global Leadership Program (GLP) run by a US-based HR consultancy Right Management. M&M Sr VP, who was a part of such a program says, “It was a great experience that gave a global perspective.
Networking and bonding with peers from different parts of the world helped. In its quest to groom talent at the global level, M&M had put up Cross Functional Teams (CFTs) two-years back and has three such CFTs in place. The training programs for ‘high potential’ candidates include strategic training for soft skills and cross cultural sensibilities. These programs give perspectives on global marketing, branding and strategy, apart from mentoring.
Similarly, IT majors like Infosys and Satyam are taking steps to groom global leaders their own way. Infosys has a segmented approach to develop leadership, Tier-I, II and III. Tier-I mostly reports directly to the board of directors and is also mentored by them. It comprises of 52 individuals and handles global responsibilities to prepare them for the future.
At this level, the mentoring is one-on-one basis. The company believes that people at the top rung need personalized approach and can’t be grouped to go through a standardized program. It also has an assessment centre that evaluates these experienced and high-potential candidates. Those who train them at the assessment centre are professional psychologists. Leadership Institute head says this helps them to understand themselves better.
Satyam too has identified 400-500 people to contribute to its global talent pool. It has several competency-related programs including strength-based leadership and people management. In addition, associates at this level are offered personal coaching and mentoring. In case of cross-functional movements, functional training becomes more personalized based on specific individual needs.
With the leadership development fast gaining currency in the corporate world, specific and dedicated programs are becoming popular. Right Management has one such GLP. The GLP works for a consortium of corporations headquartered in Asia, Europe and North America working with Mesa Research Group and GrowTalent to deliver an executive development program on three continents.
The program is aimed at helping participants to learn how to respond to a new environment. They generally include people one rung below CEOs. Every batch is hosted by a company that throws open the platform to discuss its own strategy, problems and participants draw a future strategy for the company that can be implemented.
Two of the companies that became a host since the program started two years back were Lafarge and Los Angeles based logistic major UTi. The program not only helps participants to work on live projects at that level , but also the companies that throw themselves open to scrutiny to the some of the best minds. It’s an important aspect of grooming leaders globally.
Little wonder then, UTi has been active on the program. It has sent approximately 10 of ‘brightest’ executives to the GLP programme so far. UTi has undergone much change, especially when the topic of growth is discussed and this was one of the best programs for us to embrace.