ED&F Man is an employee-owned agricultural commodities merchant with 7,000 people in 60 countries. They source, store, ship and distribute agricultural products including coffee, sugar, molasses and pulses. They then trade these products around the world, and with some, they process and brand them for industrial customers and the supermarket shelves. ED&F Man also help customers manage price risk through hedging, and provide access to commodity and capital markets through their financial brokerage business.
Our client’s needs:
ED&F Man was looking to introduce a development programme for a group of employees who had been identified as the next generation of leaders. There was a need for a bespoke programme that was built on the ED&F Man leadership framework and organisational values.
Specifically, ED&F Man wanted a programme that would enhance their leaders’ effectiveness in their current roles, and further develop their all-round leadership and business potential.
To achieve this goal, we needed to create a programme that would increase participants’ self-awareness of their current strengths and areas for development, and enrich their leadership style and skills. It also required support for the broader organisation in the form of creating opportunities for teams and individuals to drive for greater business success, and building a network of senior business leaders for mutual support, challenge, and knowledge sharing.
We created a leadership development programme aimed at the top 100 leaders in ED&F Man. This group were below the level of the executive leadership team and had been identified as ‘top talents.’
The programme included 360° feedback, strategies to promote diversity & inclusion, executive presence and impact, a look at neuroscience and its link to behaviour as well as actor-led sessions. We used several case studies involving external organisations so that participants could apply their learning to the real world.
Participants were from all over the world, with most being leaders of large functions and teams. Therefore, to cater for and challenge this group, the programme was experiential and included many guests and external speakers to engage participants and stimulate discussion.
We received some amazing engagement and feedback from the participants, Learning & Development team and the HR Director. For participants who were new to their leadership role, the programme supported their onboarding and reduced the time taken to be fully effective in their position. A significant number of participants have now progressed to more senior positions with increased responsibilities, which is a fantastic outcome.
The programme has had a longer-term impact too, contributing to business achievements with ED&F Man’s leaders now feeling better equipped and more confident to take commercial decisions in a complex operating environment. They are more focused on developing talent within their teams, which has led to increased individual performance and engagement. Already, new successors have been identified, and new opportunities have been created for individuals to showcase their potential.
The programme has also been a catalyst to promote and raise awareness of other important organisational initiatives such as diversity and inclusion. Overall, the programme is driving the professionalism of management and leadership.