eNewsletter February 2008

New Year  
A Letter from the GM
A letter from Damien O'Donoghue, GM of GCA, on GCA's first-year anniversary. click here to read more!
Profile: Sherol Fernandes - GCA Human Resource Development Executive
Sherol is GCA's newest member and HRDE. Previously the Senior IT Trainer & Quality Analyst at IBM, Bangalore, Sherol's expertise in training are a welcome addition to the GCA team. click here to read more!
Waleed Jameel on Cascading Strategies
Here is the third in Waleed's three-part series on strategy- from its importance to its alignment, and now on to cascading the strategy down through every member of your team. Click to read more!
In a League of Their Own: The GLO Masterclass
The GLO Masterclass has brought together our GLO's from around world, to share knowledge, best practices and ideas on the GCA LMS. Click to read more!

Dear GAC World,

We’ve had a very successful first year – our offerings speak for themselves, our participants speak for us, and the caliber of our GLO’s speaks on our behalf. This success would not have been possible without your tremendous support, from the top management down, we’ve been very widely accepted – our flagship induction course IGW has been deemed critical by many and the demand is very high.

We’ve got a lot more outlined for 2008 – GCA is the transmission station for the GAC Spirit and the new 5 year Vision Y – Global Values strategy plan. Beyond 2008, we have ground breaking programmes in our major business areas, like the Graduate Shipping Programme and Vision Y Strategy Workshops, details of which we’ll be releasing soon.

We would like to thank our client operating companies who have participated in the training and development of GAC’s global values which are linked to higher performance – a much sought-out Vision Y trait. We would also like to thank our valuable GCA Liaison Officers who are our representatives in the many parts of the world. And finally, to our participants, without whom we have no purpose. Thank you for wanting to learn.

Best Regards,

Damien O’Donoghue
GM of GAC Corporate Academy

Profile: GCA HRDE Sherol Fernandes

As GCA’s HRDE, Sherol manages the GCA Value Chain, ensuring rapid client feedback, handling course nominations, scheduling, loading, and accurate outcomes.

Sherol’s previous position was of Senior IT Trainer & Quality Analyst at IBM, Bangalore, and her experience in training are a welcome addition to the GCA team.

“In my previous organization we would work with the Operations and Training managers to assess and evaluate training requirements for both, the existing staff and the new recruits. After putting all this in writing, we would have a module designed, content written, dates set and teams divided to carry this out successfully. This would be your regular classroom training with students ranging from a minimum of 3 to a max of 10 members. This way we could ensure individual attention as well.

My previous experience allows for me to introduce new ideas and approaches to convey effective and individual-specific knowledge. However, GCA goes a little deeper (I’d say closer to the roots). Previously, we would simply evaluate and specify what we would need to polish and perfect. Here, we actually design new training modules and introduce effective ways of launching them. Not to mention the Global audience we target. It’s definitely much bigger! I’m actually helping run an academy here!

Like any new idea in the business world or even in a community, if you will, there will be those who will readily accept and support. There will be more who will highlight the cons rather than the pros. Our challenge here is to explain how the pros that we achieve can easily overcome the cons in the business. I believe that understanding the clientele and the market along with establishing good relations, contributes a great deal to achieving such results.

My previous experiences have been in IBM and Dell, and both organizations exhibit an excellent blend of working individuals. I particularly liked the transparency that existed amongst associates and the effect of team work. I strongly believe that nothing can beat working together as one unit and I would like to sum it up this way, ‘Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.”

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Smart Moves: Cascading Strategies
By Waleed Jameel

In last month's column, we discussed the powerful outcomes that can be achieved when all company resources are aligned to the corporate strategy. In the process of alignment, the overall strategy is shared with all stakeholders, ranging from the Vice President of the company to the Sales Executive on the ground. The corporate strategy is the overall strategy of the company, however, each of the departments needs to have their own strategy that fits within the big picture- this is called cascading.

Cascading the strategy not only makes it seem clearer for the people working to achieve it, but also lends a sense of ownership and pride in its achievement.

Let's say we're addressing a company's strategy towards existing customers- at a higher level, this may translate into the number of customer needs fulfilled, as measured by percentages or services offered. At an operational level- this strategy applies to different people within the company differently. For Customer Service representatives, this may mean new processes to handle customer relations. For Marketing representatives, this may mean a more detailed campaign to inform consumers of what services are offered to those people already holding accounts. For Account Managers, this may mean a re-analysis of existing customer accounts to identify potential areas of service. All of these fit within the greater strategic goal, and these are all examples of how a larger strategy is cascaded down into smaller, more department-specific objectives.

When strategic objectives come from on high, people can sometimes see themselves as being imposed upon. Compare this to a more dynamic perspective on the situation- when met with general company goals, you view yourself as an interpreter rather than a victim. You have the option of plotting the objective to your resource map, specifying it to your skill-set or team, and essentially, making it your own. Whether as wide as a departmental level, or as specific as the team-level, determining how different parties with different skills can contribute to the overall end objective is essential to getting everyone involved.

Cascading the strategy not only makes it seem clearer for the people working to achieve it, but also lends a sense of ownership and pride in its achievement. On a very simple level, think of the difference in treatment when property is rented versus owned. Ownership bestows a sense of concern for the well-being and positive outcome, whether it be for strategy or property. In the case of corporate strategy, ownership leads to a more optimal design and implementation of the objectives at the local operational level.

Speaking on corporate strategy, a Fortune 500 CEO once noted how delighted he was that his entire country wide workforce would spend at least an hour each month reviewing strategy metrics via the monthly newsletter. He viewed this single hour as the most important hour of the month, which brought everyone together (alignment), allowed people to reflect changes at their local level (cascaded strategy) and work far more effectively and efficiently.

When you share your strategy with your team members, invite them to share their perspectives on how to successfully implement that strategy. By pooling these ideas, you will be able to create an operational strategy map unique to your resource and skill-set. And because your team helped create it, it will lend an element of responsibility in its accomplishments.

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In a League of Their Own: The GLO Masterclass

Fifty GLO’s from the GAC world are currently enrolled in the GLO Masterclass- an advanced learning community and forum for GCA Liaison Officers worldwide. In this unique forum, GLO’s have come together to share their accumulated wisdom in terms of best practices for training, evaluating nominations, and assisting GAC personnel in ongoing career development.

Vision Y- Global Values- GAC’s five year strategy plan, outlines a series of initiatives that include focused development of human resources throughout the GAC world. “GCA is a prime example of one of these initiatives,” said Tom Johnston, a GLO as well as facilitator for IGW- Introduction to GAC World. “The company has placed a very high priority on employees having access to GCA and using GCA to develop and enhance their skills to be able to meet the challenge of change in the future.”

Chiranthi Paranamanage, a GLO from GAC Sri Lanka said, “Transcending geographical boundaries, we can use GAC group synergies to strengthen our market presence in the regions we operate in; and GCA is the undisputed platform on which we can communicate in one language – the language of VYGV.

“For our GLO’s,” says Waleed Jameel, Operations Manager of GCA, “This means a global resource of knowledge, and for the rest of GAC, it means more effective, more in-tune, and more knowledgeable links to GCA.”

“Our first year we established the GLO’s,” Waleed concluded “And now, in our second year, we are taking the GLO community to a higher level.”

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