IA develops global leaders for extraordinary results
Agilent delivers critical tools and technologies that sense, measure and interpret the physical and biological world. The company's innovative solutions enable a wide range of customers in communications, electronics, life sciences, and chemical analysis to make technological advancements that drive productivity and improve the way people live and work. Agilent has facilities in about 30 countries and develops products at manufacturing sites in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and the U.K.
Agilent's pioneering spirit was kindled more than 60 years ago, when two engineers — Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard — invented the future in their garage. In 1999, Agilent was spun off from Hewlett-Packard Company, and they have continued to support the values so important to the two visionary founders. They have also continued the spirit of innovation, blazing trails in the fields that are shaping the modern world.
Interaction Associates spoke with Leslie Camino-Markowitz, AIM and LEAD Global Program Manager, about Agilent's Next Generation Leadership Development programs and how Agilent links leadership development to the organization's objectives.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: Tell us a little about Agilent.
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: Agilent is the best-known measurement company in the world. We have the broadest line of products, a worldwide footprint, and phenomenal technology capability. Our company is involved with drug discovery, developing tools that allow scientists to understand DNA and protein. We provide capabilities for the next generation of aerospace and defense equipment, and help monitor and assure the quality of more than 70 percent of the cell phone calls made in the world. We provide leading-edge capability to engineers, scientists, and service providers in almost every major technology field.
In FY06, Agilent is focused on being the world's premier measurement company, on the electronic side and the bio-analytical side. By focusing on our core strengths, we will create long-term sustainable value. This focus has been the result of our efforts this past year. We had a very dynamic year with a new CEO, Bill Sullivan, whose direction has led us to exercise our flexibility and agility in carrying out our strategic intent and contributing to shareholder value, including the successful divestiture of our SPG division, while performing well financially. This has meant significant transitions, during which our Agilent leaders and employees have performed very well.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: Can you tell us about your organization's values?
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: Agilent's culture is based on uncompromising integrity and accountability. Anyone who works with Agilent folks gets a very consistent impression — when we say something, we do it. It's a culture that is focused on teamwork, on technical contribution, and on innovation. Agilent employees have the opportunity to make a difference for our customers in everything that we do.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: What leadership behaviors and practices do you perceive as critical to succeed in your industry today?
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: It is our CEO's belief that our company's focus sets the stage for an environment that truly engages our employees and builds their confidence. He expects every Agilent leader to set a compelling strategy, to build organization capability, and to get results.
Teamwork is critical. When teams of people are led by a clear, focused and enthusiastic manager they believe in, and they are infused with the excitement of winning, being on a winning team builds incredible confidence and momentum among employees. Engaging employees is driven by people's experience when they come to work as part of a team. Part of Agilent's global learning organization contribution to this is reflected in our efforts in developing next generation leaders.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: Tell us about Next Generation Leadership Development at Agilent.
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: We have two next generation leadership development programs at Agilent: both target enterprise-wide high potential employees who would benefit from accelerated development, LEAD, and AIM, which is geared to senior leadership development.
Our LEAD program is focused on hi-po individual contributors, supervisors and operating managers who are perceived as having the potential to contribute in a bigger way toward Agilent's success. They may take on what we call an "integrating manager position," or they may take some other kind of expanded leadership role, since career paths may differ.
Christine Landon, Director of Executive Development at Agilent, and I talked with Bell Zeidman and Marybeth Tahar about our objectives and intentions for the programs. Our leadership development program was inherited from our Hewlett Packard days. It included 360° surveys, coaching, mentoring by Agilent leaders, workshops, and conferences. While 2004 program evaluations had been extremely positive, we wanted to add focused content that mapped to our competencies and the Agilent leader framework, which would, in turn, tie in with our 360° survey.
Strategic Leadership Skills (SLS), an Interaction Associates leadership program, mapped very closely to our competencies. We identified strategic agility, interpersonal skills, business acumen, personal mastery, and global leadership as content areas that would give our leaders a high likelihood of leading well at Agilent.
Over the course of the program, participants not only acquire solid tools to lead effectively, and expand their strategic thinking skills, but they directly experience the satisfaction of getting business results through a high performance team.
We partnered with Interaction Associates to supplement our AIM program with high-performance team practice and a teaming skills development module. The AIM program uses project teams to provide senior leaders with an opportunity to develop and practice strategic leadership skills and to accelerate the implementation of key initiatives. Teams learn a methodology for rapid execution of strategy, through our Strategic Leader Forum, which they apply on a project team to address a key business issue.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: What is it like to work with Interaction Associates?
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: From the moment we connected, it was very easy to work with Interaction Associates. It was evident that IA understood our language, our business challenges, the competencies we had identified, and the work that needed to be done to develop them in our leaders.
Our 2004 program was very successful and highly rated, so it was risky to introduce change. Interaction Associates was receptive to our history, and what had been successful. They knew how to amplify the core learnings. Building on our past success helped minimize risk.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: Is there a skill, practice, or model that stands out for you?
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: It's a more holistic answer than naming a particular skill. With the focus we have on strategic intent and results, getting Agilent's next generation leaders and managers to think strategically and exposed to strategic agility helps us ready them to produce results faster. Interaction Associates has done a great job in bringing strategic thinking skills into our leaders' awareness. LEAD participants get the chance to apply the thinking skills in the SLS business simulation. We are convinced that Business Acumen is a critical capability for leaders — so they can make an early connection on how to impact the bottom line of running a business. This is what Interaction Associates brought to Agilent.
We wanted to have a seamless link between the 360° survey and the program. There are clear linkages and connections between what participants need to develop and what they learn and practice. This knowledge is then applied to business projects over the year.
INTERACTION ASSOCIATES: How has Interaction Associates' material been received?
LESLIE CAMINO-MARKOWITZ: Overall, the LEAD Workshop was rated 4.9 out of 5.0 by our participants. The Interaction Associates consultants performed extremely well with a global audience. We have participants representing Agilent throughout the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This is not an easy thing to do — to deliver a complex development program and ensure that English as a second language is not a barrier. We were very pleased.
Our AIM Workshop also received stellar marks. Over and above the evaluations, we observed the participants who operate in teams — how they engaged with each other, and how they performed. AIM participants report having an incredible connection to their colleagues that makes their team engagements more satisfying. A participant from outside the United States explained this by saying that in his country they are used to "working very hard," but now he knows a new possibility "working hard AND having a lot of fun", resulting in increased employee satisfaction. The teaming aspect anchored the specific tools and set the stage for how high-performing teams work together and how to engage with stakeholders and project sponsors.
For more information about Agilent, visit www.agilent.com.
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