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Developing Fit for Purpose Leaders for the Future

Hosted by: ABB

ABB-imageHosted at the Zurich headquarters of ABB, The Chapman Consulting Group bought together HR global and regional leaders to discuss how to develop ‘Fit for Purpose’ leaders for the future.

Sylvia Hill, Chief Human Resources Officer from ABB and members of her leadership team including Prasad Swaminathan, Cherry Sheng, Volker Stephan and Andy Wild shared their recent experience of their business and HR transformation. Our guest presenters, Jasmine Keel from Swiss Re and Itee Satpathy from Sulzer explored the topics of ‘leadership from every seat’ and ‘learning for leaders of tomorrow’.

This topic provided engaging interaction amongst the group including representation across multiple industries from companies such as Bayer, Credit Suisse, Barry Callebaut, Zurich Insurance, Mars, UBS and Givaudan, CSL Behring Gategroup and others.

Here are some key takeaways from the session:

  • During a period of immense transformation, ABB has taken inspiration from George Kohlrieser’s ‘Care to Dare’ book which explains how becoming a secure base leader releases extraordinary potential in others. Their initiatives aim to secure base leadership bringing a philosophy to live and breathe the principles and values and create a common identity for the business. By letting go of programmatic interventions and relying on a more systematic approach they feel better positioned to face the future.
  • Last year (as hosts of a roundtable in Zurich), Swiss Re introduced us to their take on an agile HR team. We heard from them again, one year on and learnt more about how their journey to leadership from every seat had evolved. This was the key frame of reference for developing their culture and people to be successful in a disrupted and dynamic environment. The program encourages employees to be courageous by taking personal accountability, create joint movement and adapt at speed to shape and drive the business. Adult development stages and leadership maturity levels are considered, and processes have been adapted to a rating-free continuous performance management system and a regular employee engagement and agility pulse survey so that they are able to gauge outcomes.
  • How should leaders of tomorrow learn? Sulzer shared a learning success story about how giving autonomy to employees to select their own training modules from a best of breed content platform and giving them the freedom to do courses in their own time led to a phenomenal engagement rate. Viral promotion by learners sharing their own experience over internal collaboration and social media platforms also provided powerful and free hype for the program. Having simplified their formerly complex multi-level leadership competency framework to one that focuses on simple behaviours and understandable outcomes, they are shaping their learning and development experience around this core approach.

We look forward to connecting with attendees soon to hear how these initiatives have further shaped their leaders of tomorrow.



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