Impact Stories

Developing talent in the strategic evolution of WINDTRE

The impact

“A people-centric organization is the prerequisite for sustainable success.” These are the words of Sergio Gonella, Director of Culture, Development, Inclusion & Talent Acquisition at WINDTRE. “Putting people at the center is truly the mantra of our company, guiding the phases of integration following the merger that led to the creation of WINDTRE in late 2016, and drives the growth of our organization in an extremely intense market and competitive scenario. In this context, investing in the growth of our people is a strategic move, and that means placing more emphasis on growth paths for talents. The executive education program Stretch, organized with SDA Bocconi, is effectively supporting us in the challenges we’ve set for ourselves.”


This marked the conclusion of second edition of Stretch, which once again enjoyed an enthusiastic response.

The numbers behind the story


Partner: WINDTRE

Sector: Telecommunications

Founded on: 31 December 2016

Customers: over 20 million

Pivoting in the market approach from volume-centric to a value-centric, concentrating on customer loyalty and quality. With these corporate objectives in mind, in 2019 SDA Bocconi and WINDTRE developed Stretch, a learning pathway dedicated to middle management.


WINDTRE came to be in late 2016, the product of one of the biggest M&A deals in Italy in the past 15 years, and a major challenge in human resource management. With over 20 million customers, today WINDTRE is the top mobile phone service provider in Italy counting human SIMs, and one of the leading players in fixed connectivity.

Because of the evolution of in-house assets and the challenges in the sector, the company had to rethink its internal competences and expand its market prospects in such a way as to set in motion virtuous growth processes for the medium-long term. So in 2019, with the commitment of executive management, fifty managers from various functions and offices took part in the first two classes in the Stretch program.

 “We are committed to preparing all our people and managers for the changes taking place in the world of work, and this commitment is the central focus of our company’s HR strategies,” says Gonella. “In fact, we’ve included this in our sustainability plan as well, with the objective: ‘100% Future Ready People.’ For us it’s especially important to give our future leaders the skills they need to face the new challenges stemming from the digital transformation. We are extremely satisfied with the solid partnership path we’ve forged with SDA Bocconi in this direction.”

One of the winning ingredients of the initiative is its transversal structure, making it essential for every professional profile to share the new growth path, as well as the language and the common objectives. And this same philosophy applies with the second edition, which launched in Fall 2021 and concluded in Summer 2022. The aims are still the same as well: to contribute to developing the managerial competences of professionals with a strong technical background, expanding their overall view of the organization and encouraging internal collaboration, focusing on growth potential centered on value for the customer and the vital role of trust and innovation as drivers for seizing new strategic opportunities in a hyperconnected world.

The program consists of five 2-day modules, plus a final 3-day module. Many of the sessions are held on campus, but any participants who need to can also follow classes remotely. The courses alternate between face-to-face lessons and opportunities for active learning with exercises, role play, case discussions and business simulations.

Starting with the foundations of the corporate strategy, the first module takes a deep dive into the challenges facing the telecommunications sector in the digital era, with special focus on platform models, multi-sided markets, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). The second module is all about understanding business performance and analyzing internal data, a skill that has become an indispensable form of support for managerial decisions. The central role of the customer is the theme of the third module, where participants learn the basics of the customer experience, customer journey management, customer loyalty and advocacy, all of which are essential to generating value.

Once the strategy is clearly delineated, implementation comes to the fore, as well as dealing with new challenges from an organizational perspective. So modules 4 & 5 are dedicated to project management, developing effective leadership and managing internal change. During this stage of the program, participants get a learning experience that revolves around a multimedia simulation called H.E.L.P. (Hopeful for the Environment while Leveraging on Performance). This allows learners to actively put their innovative abilities to the test in the company through the simulation of new organizational models inspired by sustainability, energy savings and team work. Although this might look like an easy choice, in reality there are many potential pitfalls, and the only way to handle them is with leadership oriented toward change and innovation, and decisions that keep pace with the momentum of the organization.

The final module involves a business game, with participants playing on interfunctional teams. The aim here is to combine the learning in the various stages in the training path, and provide a further opportunity to align the language, the framework and the tools. The ultimate goal of the simulation is to maximize the medium-term financial results. But the starting point is an enhanced ability to read the needs of customers, the internal data and the market opportunities, without overlooking competitive dynamics and structural limitations of the company.

So now what?

In summer 2022, fifty more WINDTRE managers toasted with us at the end of the second edition of Stretch, marking another success. Year after year, the new value-centric approach will be consolidated with determination and perseverance, throughout every business activity. WINDTRE has done a brilliant job tackling the organizational complexity of a major merger, and is equally effective in facing the challenge of the markets, while consistently staying customer-centric, focusing on people to build a winning business model.