December 17, 2010,09:47 +0900(JST) Globalization of Sumitomo Electric’s Executive Training Program “Action Learning”
After the tree-planting ceremony, I attended the presentation meeting of the executive training program “Action Learning,” to listen to the trainees’ final reports as I do every year.
Action Learning was inaugurated in FY2005 as an SEI University program, so this was the 6th program. This practical training involves assigning management-related themes of current importance to groups of 5 or 6 up-and-coming executive officers and general managers within Sumitomo Electric Group, and having them draw up and present solution-oriented proposals to the Board. This is a golden opportunity for those chosen as Action Learning participants; they all work vigorously on their themes for six months. Since the members of each group come from different divisions and companies, the program is also effective in enhancing Group solidarity, generating synergy effects that positively influence the day-to-day work of the trainees and those around them.
Moreover, proposals deemed beneficial are incorporated into the Group’s actual business operations. Among past proposals, one on manufacturing capability reinforcement resulted in establishment of the Technical Training Center, while another on in-house revitalization led to the institution of the Group Global Award; yet another on improving responsiveness to business environmental changes resulted in the opening of the Risk Management Office. Just listening to the trainees’ reports, which discuss themes from fresh angles and present unique ideas and proposals, is a great pleasure; I always look forward to the final presentations.
In this last Action Learning program, the trainees included executives from Group companies in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Tennessee, USA, who formed a group and worked on the theme of manufacturing personnel development in American SEI Group companies. The team proposed the development of a manufacturing culture from the field perspective.
Naturally, the American team’s report and Q&A were conducted in English, while the Japanese groups’ reports were provided to the Americans with summaries in English. Although we also partially relied on interpreters, I would say that we could give it a passing grade as the first step to globalized Action Learning.
Diversity is now a key concept in corporate development, and for us it is already a reality, considering that our Group comprises over 170,000 employees working in more than 30 countries around the world. I hope that through such training programs we will further promote an environment in which diversity of personnel can be put to the most advantageous use.