eNewsletter April 2011

Apr 2011

SDP: Stuart Bowie introduces the Sales Development Programme and how it can positively change selling in GAC.

Course Feature: Air and Sea Freight Operations– two learning pathways for higher sales and deeper understanding.

Debbie Nicol: GCA Governance Board Member and external consultant shares her insights and expertise.

Sights & Sounds: Vishal Ranjan on his experience of enrolling in IGW and GEP simultaneously.

The GAC Corporate Academy (GCA) has come a long way in just four years. Today, GAC’s corporate learning organization is a multinational network of facilitators across the GAC World, supported by a core team in Dubai. Last month GCA celebrated its 4th birthday at its quarterly Governance Board Meeting.

Four years ago, GCA was developed as a way for GAC to invest in the development of human resources throughout the company. This need was identified during the Group’s Vision X – Global Reach strategy, and has become part of the current strategic plan - Vision Y - Global Values.

GCA is entrusted with providing an enterprise-wide learning and development platform that combines work-based learning processes and social networking to achieve a common framework for the whole of GAC.

GCA General Manager Damien O’Donoghue says, "The vision for GCA is to create a learning infrastructure that connects the GAC World, and allows people to engage and interact with colleagues across the GAC World – irrespective of geographical boundaries".

Over the four years, the courses provided by the GCA have become increasingly aligned with GAC Group requirements. Today, there are four distinct streams:


  • Induction courses like the highly popular Introduction to the GAC World (IGW)
  • Business Operations courses covering Shipping, Air Freight and Sea Freight
  • The cutting-edge Global English Programme (GEP)
  • A portfolio of commercial courses designed to enhance our sales capability and profitability.

The newest addition to the GCA portfolio is the Sales Development Programme (SDP) which has been created as a learning pathway to ensure GAC is a sales driven organization. It is a comprehensive three-course program that is designed to promote excellence in sales skills, processes and profitable customer relationships.

Group Vice President - Jan Farnelid says of the future, "One of the intended goals for GCA is that it will continue to adapt itself and evolve according to the changing needs of the GAC Group – and its people. We are seeing enormous opportunities to align GCA with the ongoing business needs of the GAC Group. Now the infrastructure is built, we will see many new initiatives and opportunities for our people and our business as a whole".


The GCA Team (from left to right): Customer Relationships Manager Sherol Fernandes, Business and Operations Manager Waleed Jameel, Human Resource Development Executive Shani Induruwage, General Manager Damien O’Donoghue, Group VP– Human Resources Jan Farnelid, Strategic Business Development Manager Rehan Naeem, and GEP Admin Executive Aimee Dicdican

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Introducing the Sales Development Program (SDP)
How all of GAC can profit from more effective sales
Stuart Bowie

Stuart Bowie, Group Sales Director, GAC, discusses the Sales Development Programme (SDP), how it will be deployed in the GAC Group and the anticipated outcomes.

"In GAC having great products and quality operations is no longer enough. Customer expectations are constantly rising and it is increasingly necessary to be able to differentiate ourselves from our rivals. It is also a business reality that our rivals will seek to target our customers and that some customers will leave or seek price reductions.

We need to find new customers, be able to convince them to use our services and then establish productive and mutually beneficial working relationships. At GAC we have not always been good at this, and so we have developed the SDP courses to achieve these aims.

We have some great sales colleagues and sales managers around the group. However, effective sales requires more than a large sales force. It requires every colleague to understand the importance of pro-actively focusing on the customers’ agendas and meeting their demands, without of course disregarding our own. These three courses will give colleagues an overview of the importance of the sales basics, sales management tools and how best to proactively build a mutually beneficial relationship with an existing customer.

Effective sales people are seldom born, selling is a skill and like any skill it can be refined and improved. My hope is that all students will learn something new from this training and will then apply that new knowledge in their daily work. Clearly those less experienced may gain more, but I am sure that everyone will learn something and that will make us more effective in our sales efforts and customer satisfaction.

VYGV includes several major challenges, including financial ones. Unless we become better at selling, sales management and building productive relationships, we will not achieve these targets and these three courses will certainly help make us better in these three critical aspects.

It is also important to mention the personal impact of more effective sales. Sales may look glamorous but ineffectual sales can be demoralising for the individual and can drag an entire team down. The good news is that effective sales is uplifting for the sales person, their colleagues and the financial wellbeing of all concerned. We all profit from more effective sales."

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Air Freight Operations & Sea Freight Operations –
Next Generation Business Courses

The Air Freight Operations (AFO) and Sea Freight Operations (SFO) courses are both part of the next generation of business operations courses that cover freight forwarding operations through a GAC commercial context.

The course enables GAC personnel to enhance their understanding of freight operations and how they can make a positive difference to the bottom line of the business. This ranges from basic terminology, equipment and freight process to advanced concepts such as smart consolidations.

GAC business is dependent on effectively controlling operational costs. Operational errors such as inadequate documentation and delays may result in GAC losing business. Our commitment to making operations more efficient leads to better lead times and ultimately higher profits.

Both the air and sea freight courses are designed to ensure our people understand the basic freight operations process, and where profits can be enhanced through better planning and use of operational resources.

A detailed description of both courses can be found on the GCA Website:

AFO link
SFO link


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Profile: GCA Governance Board Member Debbie Nicol
Debbie Nicol

In her capacity of External Consultant for the past four years, Debbie Nicol's support to GCA includes a variety of roles, including GCA Governance Board member, Instructional Designer and also a facilitator in both online and face-to-face environments. In other ventures, she is the owner of business en motion, a Dubai-based consultancy and learning organization, as well as the creator of embers of the world, a personal and social development concept.

"My career has been devoted to learning, leading myself and others beyond our former selves. This translates into Change Management from an organizational perspective; and a great way to change is to build a change the way you wish before it takes you to a place of reaction.

Vishal Ranjan

Vishal Ranjan, Operations Executive at Mutrah Shipping & Trading Agency is currently participating in the Global English Program and also recently completed the IGW course. He talks of his experience of doing the two courses simultaneously.

"GAC Global English Programme is exceptional and I have learned many things from this course. The course module and programme is easy to understand and learn. This course helped me to become more efficient and capable for my job. As a result I won the best employee award for the month of Jan 2011.

Recently I have completed the IGW course at the same time as working on the GEP. The IGW course has helped me to come to know about the GAC group and how we are operating in international business. This course gave me an understanding of GAC success and how we are leading the world.

It was very interesting for me doing these courses at the same time because GEP gave me the support I needed to understand everything in the IGW course. The GEP team gave me the continuous advice I needed to successfully complete the IGW. I would suggest all employees to utilize this big opportunity of GCA to take our company ahead.

To me, the main secret I would like to share is to set your target and work on that until you achieve it. The most important things for me in doing the two courses together have been time management and eagerness of self-knowledge. I would like to share my motto which is:

"Success is never permanent and failure is never final so don't stop trying until your victory makes history"

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I see the future of any industry success is in people leadership - firstly in self leadership and secondly in leading and enabling the environment of others through approach, empowerment, rewards, investment in them, providing an operational context which mirrors a business-enabling capability – GCA covers all of these.

My years of experience have brought many insights, helping my personal and social development model 'become' a reality. Many of these insights align and integrate with the GCA priorities:


  • Much reflection and ability to ask the right questions – with Balanced Scorecard supporting GCA well, it relies on 'the right question' – in the context of 'there is no right or wrong, just different consequences...' A learning organization is one that questions assumptions – what assumption might you question to take GAC to the next level?
  • A curiosity towards 'how much of our life in GCA is on a transactional level and how much is transformational' – after all if GCA is a transmission station of an evolving corporate culture, is it all about 'doing'
  • Healthy discussions about competencies for mechanical and compliance work vs business-enabling skills for knowledge or cognitive work
  • Understanding people's natural and adapted behavior to be key for opening doors to successful interpersonal skills
  • An organization is like a car – it has an engine (organization design), a driver (the leader) and the passengers/co-drivers (the rest of the team). Organizational culture is what holds the car together, so what is the impact if the organization’s cultural priorities are not known by all, if behaviors lead the culture in different directions, and if some aren't even driving the same car?
  • People will never wish to change, until they know the reasons for a change, or the consequences of not changing.
  • Nothing in business can work in isolation

What a rewarding and fulfilling 4-year journey it has been, with my ultimate reward being GAC being positively impacted from the efforts of GCA. Thanks to all!"