Stena Stories

Leadership training is a three-course meal

During 2015, 120 managers and specialists in key positions in shipping have taken part in the Stena Leadership Programme. These six programmes, each with about 20 participants, have the same goal – to ensure that Stena's leaders have the right skills and development, which in turn creates the conditions for Stena to successfully deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow.

There is always room for development and improvement, in order to successfully deal with challenges of today and tomorrow.

At the beginning of each programme, Dan Sten Olsson talks about episodes in his life which have laid the foundation for the business acumen that developed Stena – experiences that made Stena the company it is today.

“I was quick to learn that the company's success affects how we live. If things went badly for the company, thrift was called for and we could find ourselves having cold showers at home,” says Dan Sten Olsson.

Eva Hansdotter, HR Director of Stena AB, is the driving force behind the design of the Stena Leadership Programme.

“We want the different companies to have their own unique business models to enable them to stay ahead in their industries. At the same time, we want leaders to learn from each other’s experiences and develop stronger networks among themselves,” says Eva Hansdotter.

Management and leadership

The programme is divided into three parts. The first three days are focused on management skills and then, two months later, three days are devoted to leadership skills. In the period between the skills training, the participants conduct group projects on different strategic topics.

“We base the training on the same logic that generally develops people in their leadership: 10% training, 20% coaching and networking, and 70% learning from work situations. Very little of the Stena Leadership Programme is about instruction – virtually everything is based on implementation and reflection, linked to realistic work challenges,” says Eva Hansdotter.

The Stena Leadership Programme is the first leadership programme that has been delivered, and is one of the steps in Stena’s leadership maturity ladder, which is under development.

The first step in Stena’s maturity ladder is learning to lead yourself – by being able to structure, plan and deliver on time, for example.

Enhancing individual leadership skills is a matter of solving tasks – but even more of reflecting on the results.

Licence to Lead

The next step is when you become a manager of others. The programme under development here has the working title “Licence to Lead”, and is a kind of driving licence to lead people.

“Nobody would dream of letting someone drive a car or vessel without training. We want people to go through this training programme to lead others at Stena.”

The third step in the ladder is a challenging step that is often underestimated – leading other leaders. The fourth step is about managing a business.

“The leader may have previously had responsibility for a very large number of people around the world. But this phase encompasses the challenge of managing a complete business logic – which requires people to have understanding of, for example, the dynamic between sales and production,” explains Eva Hansdotter.

The last step is called “To Manage an Enterprise”, with the preparatory training aimed primarily at company managers.

Introducing the Leader’s Menu

In 2016, “Grow”, the next newly developed leadership programme in the ladder, which is aimed at the middle management level, will be launched at Stena.

Stena is now introducing the “Leader’s Menu” concept in parallel with this structure. The menu includes areas where Stena has identified a general need for leaders to develop and improve. Spring 2016 sees the launch of the first four dishes on the menu: basic business economy, negotiating skills, business law for managers and coaching.

“If the Stena Leadership Programme is a complete three-course meal, then the Leader’s Menu is more of a smorgasbord of easily accessible activities that develop the leader's ability to lead.”

A focus on leadership development is crucial for Stena

“Each generation of leaders must see themselves as the first generation. All leaders must respond to the challenges of their time in their own way, and build their teams in their own way. Through the programme, we are creating the best possible opportunities for the leaders to do this,” says Eva Hansdotter.


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