ABB is a global leader of technology for energy and automation. It is present in over 100 countries and employs approximately 150,000 people. Its mission is the development of projects and applications of crucial importance to the well-being of humanity and for the protection of our planet. It is characterized by a strong propensity for innovation and a strong sense of social responsibility, coupled with a marked vocation for the enhancement of multiculturalism and valuable professional skills.
The partnership between ABB and SDA Bocconi first started in 1991, with the aim of supporting and reinforcing the organisation in the wake of the Group's growth after the merger between the Swedish ASEA and Swiss BBC (Brown, Boveri & Cie).
In light of this situation, the Group has a constant need to spread and establish roots for instruments and skills essential for tackling all the competitive challenges typically faced by a a global organisation, while also forging a common managerial culture and a strong sense of belonging.
Target people within the group are young, recently hired resources, followed by growing talents, with an eye to developing continuous training that guarantees constant updating and stimulations.
ABB and SDA Bocconi tackled the dual challenge of developing a project coherent with the company's values, while also capable of starting a process of high visible impact change, at an individual and organisational level, with extensive support at all levels both from the School and ABB.
"When we started up this strategic project dedicated to future managers of the group, we chose the best Italian business school with the strongest international appeal, SDA Bocconi. Year after year, the partnership between ABB and SDA Bocconi has increasingly consolidated and enhanced itself, enabling constant course updates in hand with corporate organisational and business scenario evolutions.
Thanks to the excellence of teachers and the School's international approach, the transition from a national programme to its extension to the entire Mediterranean area seemed like a natural thing".
Silvia Parma, Country HR Manager ABB Italy
“The cultural challenge, implicit when faced with a team of 30 people from all over Europe, was one of the best experiences I have ever had”.
Giuseppe Morimondi – MED Passport 2010 - Group IS Service Manager
Starting from identified training requirements, a Steering Committee was established, including company figures (HR and different business unit managers) as well as SDA Bocconi project managers, which designs all-embracing action. After extensive surveying activities involving different productive and staff roles, the first project was developed: ABB Passport, a year-long managerial training programme (consisting of contact time, on field projects and international assignments), aimed at twelve rigorously selected graduates.
After the programme's second edition, ABB realised that managerial skills are also crucial for young talents who have been operating within the company for some years now. The need emerged for a training programme with similar contents to Passport, but which facilitates the conciliation of programme participation with work commitments. A second project was created, once more in partnership with SDA Bocconi: ABB Lean Passport, a more concentrated Passport version, in terms of duration as well as contact time requirements, which aims to reinforce the impact on the organisation as a whole.
However, the Group's increasing globalisation also required a new approach to multiculturalism and a new integration policy, as perceived in companies located in the Mediterranean area. Based on the tried and tested Passport formula, ABB MED Passport was created, a programme developed in 9 southern European countries, now in its eight edition, with approximately 200 participants, which aims to train talents capable of being instruments of integration and of spreading ABB culture to local contexts. Its value is based above all on the right blend of theory and practice, strategic vision and operative skills, as well as specific skills for managing new scenarios.
In the Passport formula, project work is a moment of "on field" training and constitutes the fulcrum of the execution phase. Participants are required to tackle challenging assignments requiring specific skills as well as the ability to work as part of a team. The objective of projects (selected by the company and implemented after development), is to consolidate personal responsibility, planning skills, critical thought, effective communication, intercultural understanding and orientation towards results.
The ABB Passport formula range has had a high impact on the organisation's development. In 25 years of partnership, approximately 700 managers have been trained and approximately 200 individual and group projects have been completed, all this across 9 European nations. Some participants have been appointed to top international management positions in virtue of their recognised managerial and leadership skills.
The formula's success confirms that the secret to every tailored training project that is characterized by long term effectiveness and which is worthy of being described as truly "mind changing", is a solid alliance between the School and Customer, focused on objectives and strategies for their achievement. This implies a pact of trust and a collaborative relationship which recognises the complementary nature of two entities, grounded in an understanding and respect for different roles.