Nissan is launching a training and development initiative to increase the
skills and capabilities of 7,220 line managers worldwide.
The car manufacturer aims to boost line managers’ understanding of the
business at a global level, encouraging more openness and more widespread
sharing of best practice.
"We want to break down the cross-functional barriers and eliminate the
‘I’m alright, Jack’ approach, developing more rounded line managers so we can
shuffle the pack when we want to," said Steve Pallas, manager for training
and development at Nissan UK’s 4,600-strong manufacturing plant in Sunderland.
"We were previously guilty of being very functional, and the danger was
that we were becoming very parochial and not appreciating what is best for the
company. For example, it may be that something costs the manufacturing plant
£1m pounds, but saves Nissan £2m," said Pallas.
The training and development initiative will go live early next year,
following a pilot programme involving 60 or so high-flying line managers
worldwide, which was launched in January. Central themes will include clarity
of communication and innovation through empowerment.
The initiative is modelled on a competency framework which identifies common
core skills for line managers such as interpersonal, leadership, and business
and management skills. It also incorporates specific job-related skills such as
empowerment or production methodology in manufacturing, or sales and marketing
Individuals will be mapped against this blueprint to identify skills gaps
and their potential.
The length and level of training and development will depend on the
individual’s needs, but should take around two years at the most.
All line managers will be expected to develop certain basic competencies
such as leadership and team management skills. Line managers with high
potential will be given extra development in areas such as strategy
By Liz Hall