Why train leaders in just one country, when you can simultaneously cover six?

Six degrees of separation

Over 165 years, Siemens has grown to 370,000 staff in 190 regions. Today it holds leading technology and market positions in health, energy, industry and infrastructure. Much of this success stems from an unswerving commitment to provide and leverage superior training.

The company offers a global curriculum for its staff, with programs such as S4 (Managing for Success) and S5 (Prospective Managers) taking a year to complete.

The programs are delivered via a blend learning modes: face-to-face workshops, print and computer-based distance education and online interaction.

The most innovative feature is the use of a Business Impact Project (BIP) for assessment. This Siemens initiative illustrates the firm’s determination to derive maximum value from intellectual property it creates.

Siemens managers who start S4 or S5 must complete a team-based BIP within a year. The project must be outside the manager’s normal area of expertise and deliver real results at work. Successful BIPs are listed on Siemens’ database and used to map future projects worldwide.

In 1999 Siemens Australia chose DeakinCo to design, develop and deliver management training for its S4 program (for middle managers with significant operational responsibilities identified as having senior management potential).

As we began development, Siemens companies in the Asia-Pacific also approached us. They wanted DeakinCo to explore how the S4 and S5 programs might also be delivered to a consortium of five countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia).

Our dual challenge was to adapt a global curriculum to meet staff needs in dramatically differing countries and align S4 and S5 with an accredited university program.

Global citizens

After successful negotiation with Deakin University, it was agreed that staff who successfully completed S4 and S5 would receive credit points towards a graduate certificate (and thence an MBA).

Content of both programs was closely aligned to units in the Australian Competent Manager Program (ACMP) with BIPs required to demonstrate achievement of ACMP underpinning competencies.

Delivery of S4 and S5 combined instructor-led, self-paced and online modes, with senior Siemens staff helping to plan the program, customise it to local needs and lead some of the workshops. Other innovative features included:

  • an electronic workbook downloaded from Siemens’ intranet
  • online discussions on key topics from the ACMP
  • online materials assessment, class announcements and project team collaboration
  • real-time videoconferencing between workshops in different countries.

A world of difference

The feedback from Siemens staff was that they were delighted at the chance to learn while they earned (both money and credits). This pivotal project let us demonstrate that we’re not only proficient at training, but also skilled at system adaption and integration. As these are also Siemens hallmarks, we found this partnership a particularly gratifying fit.