Developing leaders to navigate a challenging world
Company employs broad, holistic view of leadership as behavior.
Aramco has always recognized the essential role leadership plays in driving excellence and achieving success, especially in a changing and challenging business environment, where the energy industry is going through a transformation toward a more sustainable future.
The Management and Professional Development Department (M&PDD) coordinates developmental efforts, working with internal and external partners to develop exceptional, inspiring and forward looking leaders at all levels.
“We deal with a rapidly evolving landscape in the energy sector, where we have huge challenges ahead of us. Aramco is constantly growing, and has very ambitious plans for the future,” said Colin M. Sloman, director of M&PDD.
To address these challenges, and achieve these goals, we need to develop leaders at all levels with the right mindset and skills, to motivate individuals and teams, and drive organizations to realize the company’s vision.
— Colin M. Sloman
M&PDD adopts a broad and holistic view of leadership, where leadership is not just a position, but also a behavior. In a general sense, leadership is about motivating teams toward achieving a common goal. But this requires the mindset of all employees to be accountable for their own leadership behavior and stay focused on Aramco’s ambitious goals.
To develop this mindset, M&PDD offers a whole range of leadership programs, as well as assessment and coaching services that help to realize leadership potential, support growth, and drive performance.
World-class development experience
A key element of developing leaders at all levels in Aramco is the programs offered by the Leadership Center, which was inaugurated in Ras Tanura in September 2010.
Over the past 10 years, more than 130,000 participants have benefited from the programs offered by realizing their potential, and developing critical leadership skills.
The Leadership Center offers internationally recognized programs — as well as custom designed programs, which set to develop a variety of competencies that leaders at all levels require.
“Our mission at the Leadership Center is to develop leaders through world-class development experiences, which act as a spark for a greater change that occurs back at the work place,” says Bradley Brewster, acting administrator of the Leadership Development Division.
Brewster explains that all programs are linked to business needs, and are developed to be applied immediately back at work. “We ask participants to implement the learned tools and concepts, and we want them to be able to quantify the impact the program had on their work so they can see the value they’re adding to the business,” he adds.
The Leadership Center offers two types of development experiences: Professional and Leadership. Professional development programs focus on developing a specific skill set that helps employees lead themselves and achieve professional success. Skills targeted include time management, critical thinking, and project management.
One of the most popular professional development programs is the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Steven Covey, which has been offered at Aramco for nearly 20 years.
Leadership development as a journey
In addition to professional and leadership programs, executive programs are offered in partnership with world-class business schools, such as Harvard, Stanford and the London Business School, to provide developmental experiences for executive level leaders.
M&PDD also provides services that aid leadership development, to ensure strategic leadership needs are met across Aramco.
Services and programs provided complement each other to ensure that Aramco’s present and future leaders are more resilient, confident and capable of leading their teams to achieving the desired goals.
“Leadership development is not an event or a set of events, it is truly a journey,” says Paul Van Katwyk, a management development specialist.
“We need to have strong centers of excellence that in combination create the right journey for an individual to become the leader that the company needs,” he adds.
One of the most impactful interventions offered by M&PDD are the Assessment Centers. Most of the company’s senior leaders have participated in one of these Centers through the course of their leadership journey.
Assessments measure the readiness level of a participant to assume a specific management role based on the Leadership Competency Model that Aramco owns.
“The model is not about the educational background of an individual, it is about the ability and readiness to become a leader at a particular level,” expalins Dr. Suha K. Behaisi, management development advisor in M&PDD.
Identifying leadership readiness: The Leadership Competency Model developed and owned by Aramco.
All competency models revolve around four super-factors: Think Business, Engage Stakeholders, Execute for Results, and Self-Accountability.
Each super-factor contains a set of competencies specific to what behaviors need to be demonstrated at the targeted leadership level (e.g., supervisor, division head, or manager).
Uses evaluation tools, including testing, interviews, and simulations to assess the person’s readiness for the targeted leadership level.