As the global leader on the front line of clean energy research, technology, and commercialization, Masdar recognizes the importance of their middle management to the company’s success and the need to transition them to high-performing leaders. Masdar has a lot of responsibility, serving the strategic priorities of the UAE leadership, and helping fulfill the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. A recent company employee engagement survey made it clear that self-improvement was a high priority goal to improve throughout the company, specifically at the middle manager level.
To address that goal, Masdar partnered with Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning to co-create a leadership development experience designed around Masdar’s values and sustainable goals for the future. What makes this program work so well is how Harvard Business Publishing customized this program, “Pioneers of Success,” as an 18-month flagship for middle managers to “Reach New Heights.”
“[The] course was tailor suited to our needs, and perfectly complemented our usual work responsibilities. The balance between each module and our work responsibilities was excellent, and I would recommend this program to all of middle management at Masdar,” said Nabil Lazazi, manager of product delivery.
The program consists of four main topics: strategic thinking and execution, driving operational excellence, leading through influence, and leading self and others. In addition to the modules, which include case studies, Harvard Business Review articles, videos, simulations, and application exercises, there is a unique one-on-one coaching system supporting each participant’s overall learning journey. In line with Masdar’s sustainability values, the program makes maximum use of virtual technologies like webinars, to reduce its carbon footprint.
Harvard Business Publishing’s unique learning design of “learn, practice, reflect” deeply resonated with participants, as it not only exposed them to opportunities to apply their learning from the modules in their day-to-day work activities, but also allowed them to reflect on the learnings together with their peers in a safe, academic environment. In addition, the participants greatly benefitted from the learner-centric approach; they led the program by exchanging and debating viewpoints with their peers, which allowed them to take ownership of their own learning and enjoyed connecting with their colleagues on a deeper level.
Many employees, like Nabil, also appreciated the benefits of the coaching process within the program. He said the lessons were, “a life changing experience, benefitting me as a Masdar employee, and in my own personal life.”
“I examined a lot of case studies and bridged theories to real world practice by communicating how to implement these strategies at work. Pioneers of Success rewards employees’ contributions while increasing their overall commitment to the company’s short-term as well as long-term objectives,” said Nadine Abou Ghali, associate in the Office of the CEO.
The program has significantly impacted the ways in which leaders carry themselves as employees and as people. Subtopics in the modules that revolve around communication resonated heavily with the group: networking, soft skills, and creating relationships. In fact, a module focusing on emotional intelligence expanded one participant’s mindset on the concept of leadership: “[It] made me realize how important it is to be emphatic in your role as a leader. [Our] job is to manage people, and technical knowledge becomes less important at that level.”
From this experience, Masdar has certainly developed some pioneers of success, as well as an outstanding group of leaders to influence the workforce of the future.
To hear directly from participants in the Pioneers of Success program, please watch these two video testimonials: