IMD has won a 2022 EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award for its custom program, co-created with Moroccan state-owned mining and fertilizer firm OCP and Africa business school. 

The case follows OCP, which in 2018 was a decade into a far-reaching transformation from an industrial phosphate mining giant into a customer centric agriculture company. To achieve its growth ambitions and diversify into new businesses it needed to develop new talent and skillsets. 

The result was an 18-month talent development program called Beyond which alternated between off-the-job academic learning and on-the-job action learning. The program was so successful that OCP launched a second cohort and created a separate program, Learnin’Pact, to expand the concept of interweaving academic and action learning to all of its 23,000 employees. 

"The tight link between the strategic work with OCP's top management and the talent program's emphasis on learning and delivering strategic initiatives fueled OCP’s transformation to the next level and can be scaled through the entire organization" said Bettina Büchel, Professor of Strategy and Organization. 

Yasmina Lamtiri, Director of Custom Programs at Africa Business School said: "The Beyond program – given its strong connection to the field - has disrupted both how custom programs are designed and the purpose of these programs, which addition to upskilling employees, has become a powerful driver of change within the company.” 

Building a culture of collaboration

IMD also received recognition with a Silver award for a customized learning program for Norwegian financial services group DNB.

The bank entered the 2020s in strong position having notched up its best-ever annual result. To maintain this performance in an increasingly complex financial services market, DNB realized that it needed to foster stronger internal collaboration to develop world-class, end-to-end consumer experiences and anticipate its customers’ needs. This meant working as ‘One DNB’. 

Working together with DNB, IMD came up with a 10-month action learning journey based around cross-functional shadowing for the company’s top 230 leaders. Broken down into four stages, the program involved a self-awareness stage, a half day of shadowing a peer from another department, and individual and group coaching sessions to debrief and share perspectives.  

“Together with IMD, we have created a whole new culture of learning across the organization,” said Katrine Kalelic, DNB Senior Vice President - Head of Leadership, Talent & Team Development. “The combination of action learning methodology with virtual sessions and internal/external coaching has produced new ways of learning – efficient, creative, exciting.” 

The program developed a renewed sense of empathy across business units and allowed them to better understand how their actions affected other parts of the organization. Two-thirds of participants said the program contributed to a more effective end-to-end customer journey, while 91% said they collaborate better as a result of the shadowing. 

“Partnering with DNB was a very rewarding experience for the IMD team. DNB made a bold choice by opting for an unconventional learning design that included cross-functional shadowing, which took place virtually for 230 leaders. This was a more challenging but ultimately much more impactful learning journey,” said Ina Toegel, IMD Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change. 

EFMD is the largest international network association in the field of management development.  IMD has previously won EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards, which celebrate impactful learning and development partnerships, for case studies on Valmet, Stora Enso and Siam Commercial Bank