Growth lab nurturing business leaders of tomorrow

Growth lab: Nurturing business leaders of tomorrow

Hiring the best talent is a prerogative. However, only a handful walk the extra mile to ensure that their own employees become business leaders of tomorrow. Wärtsilä’s Growth Lab Programme aims to do just that.

Text: Ziko Ray Photo: Wärtsilä

Something interesting is happening at Wärtsilä. Its Growth Lab Programme is gaining traction. The programme aims to transform a host of Wärtsilä’s employees into self-driven business leaders who can propel the company’s growth, in the coming years.

This one-year-old programme has not only received an encouraging response from Wärtsilians, across the globe, but has also successfully created the first batch of future business leaders.

“Everyone in the first programme has made a steep curve in their personal growth and gained a much broader and better perspective of our business and the market environment we operate in,” says Elly Wassenaar, Director - Learning & Development.

While learning and development initiatives for employees are a norm in the corporate world, what really differentiates the Growth Lab programme is “the commitment and involvement of Wärtsilä’s Board of Management during the entire tenure of the training programme,” explains Wassenaar.

The programme includes three strategic projects such as identifying new business opportunities, developing new solutions to cater to future demands, and creating new innovative business strategies. Interestingly, the projects change for every new batch, making the Growth Lab a truly dynamic initiative.
“Once I realised this wasn’t another ‘superficial’ training course, my next thought was “how did they know about me all the way in South Africa?” says Wayne Glossop, a participant from the first training programme.

“But I must say, it feels good to know that the senior management recognises and acknowledges even the most distant employees across the organisation,” adds Glossop.

  

Cross pollination of knowledge and ideas

The first Growth Lab session was completed this spring and lasted for about eight months. It witnessed a gathering of Wärtsilä’s employees selected from across the globe working together in teams to accomplish their projects.

“Our team probably couldn’t have been more diverse in terms of culture, location, and job function but once we learned how to navigate through our diversity, we really started leveraging our respective strengths,” says Glossop.

“Knowing how to tap into the diversity potential is a critical skill to possess,” says Glossop when quizzed about his most important takeaway from the experience.

For the second programme, an application process was initiated. Nicolas Leong, a participant of the second batch, describes the Growth Lab programme in three simple words – learn, improve & share.
“It was great to learn about the experiences of the first participants and I have a few tips from them too. Every one of them said it’s a lifetime experience and that we should enjoy every second of this learning journey. This is something that I will definitely do,” says Leong.

  

Promoting a sense of leadership

Promoting out-of-the-box thinking and encouraging participants to come up with new ideas that can then be developed both by them and the company are the two pivotal pillars of the Growth Lab programme.
The participants, upon the completion of the programme, accumulate not only a vast pool of business insight, but also accomplish personal development coupled with leadership and networking skills.
“I found huge personal growth in the network I had developed, the high level of senior management contact that I was offered, and the appreciation and learning of how to make a team excel,” explains Glossop.

The initiative also allows participants to stay in an environment of knowledge sharing, test some ideas and listen to ideas.

Wärtsilä has partnered with Cranfield School of Management and React who provide subject matter expertise and dedicated learning related to the projects as well as leadership development and self-improvement.

This is crucial primarily because competition is growing. There is a pressing need for leaders to spearhead growth in their respective domains by adopting automation technologies, exploring new revenue streams, and looking for innovative business strategies.

Ingenious initiatives like the Growth Lab Programme help them identify curves ahead and buckle up for future. Now that’s what many call, a vision.

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