A global Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) provider operating multiple assets with employees from over 70 nationalities sought customized, coordinated leadership development at every level of the organization from frontline leaders to the executive team. The organization, renowned for technical and safety proficiency, had initiated leadership development programs in the past with mixed results, and sought to undertake a unified approach as they progressed from growth into production mode.
The objective was to build the leadership and people management capability of its approximately 1000 leaders, so as to deliver:
- A common leadership language and understanding throughout the organization,
- Baseline metrics for leadership capability, &
- Aligned and skilled leadership at every level of the organization.
Four program levels (Supervisor, Head, Manager, Executive) and an annual leadership event were custom designed based upon needs assessment research & strategic priorities. The modular, multi-day programs were comprehensive, fast-paced, insight-based, and interactive to create personal reflection and discussion with colleagues. Rollout began with the front line & executive leaders to create both momentum & buy-in. Each multi-day program consisted of a mix of classroom training, simulations, individual and group coaching, online learning and a variety of psychometric and behavioural assessment tools.
Over 1000 leaders participated within a 4.5-year period, some attending multiple programs due to internal promotions. The programs created an informal leadership community around the concepts deployed that was further reinforced through annual leadership events with keynote speakers and interactive sessions. Program feedback from all participants was heavily scrutinized by the Executive board for both effectiveness and engagement. Program continuation depended upon rigorous evaluation metrics.
Internal data showed significant positive swings in the bi-annual employee survey within the “My Line Manager” metrics and no realization of a retention concern previously identified internally due to the organisational shift to production mode. Qualitatively, the programs fostered more open dialogue across the organization.
Training attendance had been a challenge for a number of years; for these four programs, leaders requested to participate. In the final 9-day Supervisor program, one participant started the program saying, “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity…”
Some of the results were unexpected: using inquiry-based, highly interactive learning in a highly regulated, hierarchical culture and organization that included over 70 nationalities had a significant transformational impact on how employees listened to each other – from frontline leaders learning about and better leading their direct reports, to the CEO during a facilitated World Café session when expat leaders felt empowered to tell him about the fear they felt around losing their jobs and being deported.
For the Future
Fossil fuel industries are in the midst of massive, rapid transformation. In the years since this program, understanding of stranded fossil fuel assets and trends in sustainable investment as well as the urgency of climate action have changed the requirements of leadership and learning in the industry. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated an inevitable trend towards lower oil prices, devaluation, and transition to cleaner sources of energy.
As a result, our work with energy providers builds on this solid foundation of inquiry-based learning focusing on the humanity fueling business and combines it with research and roadmaps for the coming years. We are trained by both Al Gore’s Climate Reality Corps and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership and bring an interdisciplinary body of data to client work. Programs foster solid relationships and communication, and provide frameworks for leaders to steer conversations about what’s next for their organizations.
At APOGEO, we believe businesses can be grounded in humanity, not just profit and loss. Upon completion of the programs, the Head of Learning & Development reported:
I expected to get world-class teaching; what I didn’t expect to get was broader perspective on my business and to know my own people and how to lead them better.