BASICS in International Management

Facts and figures

    • 69 cohorts of the Basics In International Management Programme, in Europe (Germany), the USA, and the Far East (Shanghai) between 2003 and 2015.
    • Approximately 30 participants on each cohort, totalling 2,070.

The organisation

Henkel is a truly global FMCG company with sales in excess of €9.4 bn, affiliates in more than 70 countries and over 45,000 employees. They have been building brands for more than 125 years and today have three active and highly successful divisions: Home Care, Personal Care and Adhesives, Sealants & Surface Treatments. Their brands include market leaders such as Fa, Persil, Pritt, Loctite and Schwartzkopf.

The business issues

A huge, global organisation such as Henkel, competing with equally sophisticated and successful players in virtually every market where they are active, must always be looking to the future. Talent Management is a central part of Henkel’s forward planning. A planned programme of management development exists throughout the organisation, starting with an International Junior Managers’ Programme and culminating in a Business Strategy Programme for those with 15+ years’ experience with the organisation. Within this structure, the BASICS programme, aimed at those with 5-7 years’ experience and perceived high potential, has a central role. These people, the senior managers of tomorrow, on whom the company depends for continued success, have developmental needs which Henkel take very seriously.

The challenge

Henkel is a leader with brands and technologies that make peoples’ lives easier, better and more beautiful. Their high potential people, wherever they are in the world, need to understand the way in which Henkel measures itself and the strategic way in which it operates as a global, brand-led organisation. The objective for the event, agreed with Henkel, is that we help attendees develop the strategic and marketing skills appropriate for a global, marketing-led organisation. The outcomes were identified as:

  • Understand Henkel’s competitive position
  • Be able to make informed strategic decisions appropriate to their position and role in the organisation
  • Be able to understand, evaluate and express decisions in a financially appropriate and astute way
  • Be able to understand and implement appropriate management behaviours.

Cranfield was tasked with designing and delivering a process that would enable a high-potential, diverse and multi-cultural group to attend a stimulating, rewarding and informative seven-day event. The attendees would be from across the Henkel world, and the event would be delivered in Henkel’s business language which is English. The event would facilitate the exploration of the following:

  • Henkel’s global R&D strategies
  • Henkel’s approach to HR management
  • Henkel’s global strategy
  • Henkel’s financial reporting methodologies and business measurement metrics.

The programme

Culminating in a sophisticated Merger and Acquisitions exercise, the week is very full. Days are long, with a number of input sessions intermixed with periods of interactivity and of reflection and discussion. The evenings are also structured, with a mix of social events and classroom work. The evening work is invariably experiential and high impact. Input from Henkel senior figures is scattered throughout the week, and is much welcomed by delegates, especially those whose opportunities to meet such senior figures are limited by their geographic location.

The event takes place four times a year, with thirty attendees at each iteration. The majority of the events are staged in Germany, in order to facilitate attendance by the senior figures who are providing input. However, a recent event was successfully run at Cranfield, an experiment that will be repeated.

Measuring success

Henkel measure the responses of attendees to this programme very carefully. There are eight metrics relating to course content and delivery, each scored out of a maximum four. The target score is three. Our courses to date have all scored 3+ across every one of the eight dimensions, with an average score of 3.4

The approach

  • Experiential, high energy and involving.
  • Providing a networking opportunity.
  • A mix of Cranfield and Henkel expertise, with presentation from very senior Henkel management figures.

Why Cranfield?

The School of Management won a competitive pitch by showing the clearest understanding of the needs of Henkel, and responding to those needs in the most imaginative and sustainable way. Cranfield’s expertise in the fields of strategic thinking, finance and marketing was central to the decision, but their experience in managing key relationships with clients and project managing complex, global events was also vital. The relationship, and as a result the programme, has developed over the last two years to the point where an invitation onto the BASICS programme is seen within Henkel as both a compliment about current progress and an indication of future potential.