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How Foster Wheeler Keeps Their Facilitators Sharp

By Craig Irons

Craig IronsFoster Wheeler, the engineering and construction company and power equipment supplier, is building something critically important—a global talent pipeline. The centerpiece of this effort, a program called Learning to Lead, is being used to develop frontline leaders around the world.

In the most recent issue of GO magazine, I uncover the details of Learning to Lead’s origins and the importance of influence, collaboration, relationship-building, and sharing in driving its acceptance around the world—an approach Beth Sexton, Foster Wheeler’s senior vice president of HR, describes as “global strategy, local implementation.”   

As I learned when I interviewed Beth, the 29 internal facilitators who deliver the program worldwide are especially critical to Learning to Lead’s success. 

Beth shared the following for how she and her team ensure that these facilitators stay fresh, engaged, and effective.

  • Stress the need to keep improving. “Even though we have exceeded our expectations on the scores and feedback we’ve been getting from our managers, we are still committed to continuous improvement,” says Sexton. “That’s why we think it’s so important to identify and share best practices.”
  • Help them connect.  To help them make and maintain that connection, Foster Wheeler’s HR team created an internal facilitator network that provides a forum for facilitators to discuss shared challenges and new ideas, and examine the metrics associated with the delivery of the courses.
  • Keep them sharp. The Foster Wheeler HR team launched a “facilitator sustainability” initiative where a master trainer will co-deliver courses with facilitators and also use the Development Accelerator tools built into DDI’s new Interaction Management®: Exceptional Leaders series to help keep the facilitators’ skills fresh. This is especially valuable in helping facilitators transition back and forth between their primary job roles and the facilitator role they need to fill when delivering a course.
  • Emphasize personal development. “I think our own HR people would tell you that this is one of the best things that happened to them, and to their careers,” says Sexton. “I feel like we’ve been able to help them look at this as a big part of their own personal development, and it’s been a homerun in every direction.”

I invite you to read more about Foster Wheeler’s Learning to Lead program and explore the entire issue of GO

Craig Irons is managing editor of GO magazine.

Posted: 16 May, 2013,
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