Decade of leadership development commended
More than 120,000 current and future leaders passed through these doors over the past decade.
For the past decade, over 120,000 current and future leaders have passed through the doors of The Leadership Center (TLC), the company’s in-house development center. Located in Ras Tanura, TLC offers an off-site development experience, while drawing on more than eight decades of proud Aramco history and leadership examples that make our company a leader in oil and gas, petrochemicals, technology, and renewable energy.
What the company gains from the programs of TLC is clear: world-class development prepares leaders for the unique challenges that Aramco faces.
True leadership is not a position, it’s a behavior.
— Brad Brewster, acting administrator of the Leadership Development Division (LDD)
“There aren’t many companies like Aramco. We have much bolder ambitions than a lot of our competitors, and that results in a different way of thinking and working. We continuously develop programs that will equip our leaders with the skills needed to achieve our ambitious future,” said Brewster.
Customized for Aramco
When TLC first moved to Ras Tanura in 2010, it mainly offered off-the-shelf leadership programs such as the “7 Habits for Highly Effective People,” the “Leadership Challenge,” and “Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results,” among others. But in 2014, faculty members began to develop their own content to make programs customized to Aramco. This was a pivotal moment for TLC because it took global best practices from well-known thought leaders like Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard, and added in localized programs that addressed the uniqueness of being a leader at Aramco.
The goal of each program, Brewster said, is to draw on the deep knowledge and leadership experiences of the Aramco employees and leaders in the room, lessons that employees can share with each other, and apply back at work.
“Story-telling and sharing experiences are so important to bring the lessons to life, and the Leadership Center has been the space for employees to do this for the past 10 years,” Brewster said. “But at the end of the day, the real learning occurs on-the-job. Our programs are the spark for something bigger to happen at the worksite.”
Another pivotal moment in TLC’s history came in 2019 and 2020 when digital learning was introduced. In 2019, TLC brought in world-class digital content from Harvard Business School and built it into every program as pre- and post-work. In addition, employees could learn critical skills through the 42 self-led modules offered in Harvard ManageMentor. In 2020, the LDD was thrust in the virtual world brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. LDD quickly converted all of its programs for virtual delivery to ensure there was no disruption of learning.
“The expectation for the Leadership Center is that learning becomes more dynamic. It is still a physical space to visit, but it’s also a virtual space where you can develop yourself in a variety of different ways. We have exciting plans for the future of leadership development,” added Najwa Azaimi, director of the Management & Professional Development Department.
To grasp the impact of this development at the workplace, The Arabian Sun spoke with Aramco leaders to find out what skills and personal lessons have helped them in their careers.
The leadership development workshops have had a positive impact to grow my knowledge of different skills, techniques, and wide alternatives to promote the organization. The materials, videos, and the support aids used are very beneficial for addressing and mitigating field issues related to employees or the business. Each workshop has its own methodology of learning in a very structured way and it gives you the feeling that those workshops are selected carefully to address the leaders’ need and facilitate their day-to-day work. What the Leadership Center means to me is simply this: “Great programs, great materials, and great instructors.”
— Mamdouh S. Therman, superintendent for Oil Operations at South Ghawar Producing
From a leader’s perspective, I have seen how these courses have helped and impacted employees, not only on the professional level, but also on a personal level. You can see the pride they get when they receive their certification. And when you have people with that sense of pride and motivation, it immediately impacts their performance, which in turn is reflected on their organization.
— Lamah F. Khayyal, administrator for the Management Development Services Division, M&PDD
The courses I took from TLC have really improved the work output and the morale of the employees themselves. One of my favorite courses was ‘Situational Leadership.’ That course taught me how to deal with each employee differently. You can’t deal with all employees with the same approach. Some you are able to delegate tasks to. Some you have to give more direction. Some you provide coaching to.
—Mishal A. Ansary, division head of Management Controls in Technical Services
With 10 years of history to lean on, TLC will no doubt make an even bigger impact in the next 10 years. As the company grows, Aramco’s leaders will need to grow with it, and TLC will continue to be there to support them every step of the way.