Growth Academy – Revolutionizing Internal Training

Imagine this: A firm is facilitating a training session for its employees. This is not a unique scenario, and actually it is rather boring topic, I admit, but only if it is done in a traditional way. What if, the training would not be done by a trained keynote speaker or even not in your continent? What if the major goal would be connecting, networking and learning from your colleagues overseas all while increasing your sales competence? What if the information flow would be reversed and the managing director of country X would instead learn from the sales manager of region Y? What if we revolutionize the in-house training?

I bet quite many of us have been taking part in one, two, or twenty internal trainings arranged by the employer. Score of people, all fueled by free coffee, and packed in a conference room with a beamer hot and ready to spit out Power Point slides one after another while an undoubtedly qualified suit in front of the crowd is sharing his experiences and Post-it note exercises.

Oh, those were the days I could never remember.

Don’t get me wrong, these internal trainings are important, and valuable, and useful but at the same time not the most exciting way of learning. Do you remember all the people you were participating with in that last sales training? How many of them did you stayed in touch with afterwards? What kind of ideas did they share with you? I guess the answer to all of those questions is “not many”. There must be a more inspiring way to do that.

And there is: We at Lindström are calling it “Growth Academy”.

Growth Academy brings annually together 80-90 most passionate sales Lindströmers across the Globe to learn from the best and the most inspiring sales minds of the company. The simple goal of the academy is to increase the sales competences, but it is not restricted only to sales managers. The competition is fierce and every year dozens of qualified candidates fail to pass through the demanding filtering system. The ones that are selected meet up for a-week-long camp hosted in one of the Lindström’s operating or co-operating countries. The camp itself functions as a thrust to a full year campaign. During this period the student works and collaborates with his or her personal mentor on multiple various projects and implements them in every day practices.

What is actually happening at the camp and what is its secret? What makes it so revolutionized?

The cornerstone of success is that the coaches and mentors of the academy are the same students that took part in Growth Academy previous years. This does not only ensure that the participant’s development curve continues after the event, additionally it provides challenging new angles for the coaches to use their skills and learnings as well. Coaches, who shares their knowledge in classroom type activities during the academy, are combined with mentors who assists students with regular online sessions after the camp. This ensures that students continue learning and challenging themselves even after the actual internal training is finished.

The twist of all of this is that the internal firm’s hierarchy is thrown into the trash and even the highest level of executives can participate as pupils and learn from a mid-level manager who graduated previous year. That is a tremendous opportunity to build two-way trust and for both parties to learn new ways of tackling challenges. Not to forget that the method also promotes flat hierarchy which encourages networking.

Other reason for Lindström’s success on in-house training is the international atmosphere at the camp. As a Global company, Lindström has a priviledge of picking the brains of numerous different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, thus widening everyone’s horizon. Growth Academy does not only allow everyone to share their best practices but also introduces new insights and skills. I know, that sounded a bit cliché, but at the camp this truly happens: The camp is split up in smaller workshops, each dedicated to their own type of customer segments which the students are working with in their daily lives. This means that every member of the group is facing more or less the same challenges but during the camp they share, train and push each other’s ideas and skills to infinity and beyond, just like mr Lightyear.

The ripple effect of the event is remarkable and is seen and felt at every corner of Lindström Group. After the event-ending black-tie Gala Dinner is over, students return to their home offices as ambassadors of the event and put their increased sales competences in use. They do not only spread their newly learned skills and knowledge but also share their network of Lindströmers to their colleagues at home. Right away after the academy, there is noticeably different vibe at the offices, almost like raw energy flowing in the air just waiting to be unleashed. You can only imagine how it feels to sit in a meeting with someone who is with glowing eyes sharing his or hers new ideas and innovative ways of tackling old challenges that just few days ago felt immoveable. That is what Lindström’s in-house training is all about. That is Growth Academy.

This year Growth Academy is held in Bled, Slovenia between 22nd and 25th of January. I will be participating the event and filming and interviewing students, mentors and organizers all the same. You can follow this years event with the hashtag #growthacademy or at Global Lindström’s LinkedIn.

 

 

Mikko Suutari, Brand Manager, Lindström Group |

Branding and marketing maestro with team full of people with tons of communication skills and keen eye for details. Aiming to breach the cultural and operational gap between distant Finland and rest of the World. Tough task, one could say, but in modern digital era there are countless opportunities to succeed. And if nothing else works, just keep on trying and pushing through, you can achieve incredible things. One can even learn to fly, just need to avoid the ground after jumping in the air.

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