Alpine trek leads Sony bosses to revamp talent management

An unconventional programme for senior managers has led to an overhaul of
talent management and fresh definitions of leadership at Sony Europe.

Speaking at the recent Impact Conference 2004 on Inspirational Leadership,
head of people and organisational development at Sony Europe, Mark Wilcox,
described how ‘The Leadership Journey’ led his department to redefine key
competencies and its own role.

Held in the Alps, the experiential learning programme was a radical step for
Sony Europe. Senior leaders trekked through the mountains and participated in
special-agent genre challenges. The hurdles of the physical journey were
designed to mirror the challenges of the business journey facing Sony Europe.

"The programme took three months to design, in terms of the physical
journey, the change model, the business change journey and the personal change
journey," Wilcox said.

A total of 150 executives took part, and the programme was credited with
kick-starting change across Sony Europe.

"The metaphors were unbelievably powerful," Wilcox told the
conference. "Engaging people in change is much more effective than when
trying to predict every outcome. Some nights these people didn’t even know
where they were sleeping."

Wilcox told Personnel Today that as a result of the programme, talent
development had become half the organisational development department’s job, to
ensure that it becomes integrated and aligned with the business.

"The programme has led to HR being reformed and less use of external
consultants," he said. "Now we are doing the work of HR consultants
for the business."

By Stephanie Sparrow

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