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
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
Introducing the Sales Development Program (SDP) How all of GAC can profit from more effective sales
Bowie, Group Sales Director, GAC, discusses the Sales Development
Programme (SDP), how it will be deployed in the GAC Group and the
"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
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
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."
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
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
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
A detailed description of both courses can be found on the GCA Website:
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.
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
"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
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"
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!"