Brigitte E. Gubler is a well trusted and respected Organizational Consultant and Coach, having 25+ years of experience in Leadership Development and Adult Learning, with a passion for people and their growth. She believes in the power of diversity and is seen as an inclusive business partner. As a leader, she is well known for someone who is saying what she is doing and doing what she is saying, ‘you’ll get what you see’.
She is seen as someone who people can trust, who takes responsibility for her doing/not doing and who you can have a good laugh at, even in tough times. She respects and welcomes other opinions and sees this as an opportunity to learn herself. To her, it is important that people are reliable and willing to develop. She leads with trust and nudges people out of their comfort zone, as she is convinced this unleashes their power. Brigitte E. perceives it as a gift when she affected people’s development and growth.
Here are the highlights from what Brigitte E. Gubler, Global Head Novartis Learning Institute, Regions at Novartis shared about the true value of investing in oneself and more from our recently concluded L&D SEA Conference 2021 last week
True value of investing in 2021 is investing in yourself
With COVID-19 turning the world upside down, there have been a lot of questions in the way we work and live. There might be skills that were relevant earlier, might not be relevant today. When this disruption hit, many business models needed to change and demanded to be combined with technology and other business disruption tools. We need to unlearn so many things and relearn so many things in order to become an agile organization and individual. So there is a constant need to reskill and make oneself fit for the future.
At Novartis, they have a strategy to unleash the power of their people and they very well ensure that when it comes to tackling a difficult challenge, their people are very well ready to take the driver’s seat to control the situation. They have always thrive to provide their employees with opportunities to know about their growth and overall development via 360 degree feedback, other assessment tools and more, which helps them target their learning where it matters the most to oneself.
Transition from the physical to virtual space: Journey of Novartis Learning institute
As a global company, Novartis is used to virtual distributed teams already. They have been offering a wide range of tools such as Microsoft Teams, learning offerings in a form of virtual team development, virtual meetings, how to connect with people, how to lead remote teams to work successfully together. Their IT team has done a seamless job in creating that connectivity to help employees stay connected and productive. They had also introduced ‘Choice with responsibility’: A program designed for the associates to discuss and decide where an employee wants to work from. An associate is no longer required to ask their leader/ manager if they can WFH. It is the other way around. It is the choice of the associate to pick his/her location from where they feel comfortable working and just inform their leader. In the end, all that matters is how connected one is with their team.
Key skills in focus
Apart from developing oneself for the virtual tools, Novartis focuses on virtual wellbeing of their associates and staying connected along with staying resilient in ever changing times. They have introduced ‘Energize for Life’: A program with a wide range of offerings on building resilience, getting your mindset to stay focused and how one wants to show up everyday. They also focus on enabling leaders to be the best role models.
Novartis does everything to avoid demotivation at work for their people. If you know what is your contribution, if you know your purpose, then you are motivated. The major question is what can one do to keep hold of this motivation and keeping their people away from demotivation.
Enabling leaders at Novartis to create value-investments in themselves
Novartis offers not just for its leaders but all their associates ‘Time to Learn’: a program designed to invest in one's learning and development, so that they can add value to their personal growth. This amounts to 5% of their career growth at times. They help their leaders understand what they are good at. Who they are to self discovery and bring them along on a journey to constantly breaking on their competency and developing skills. Novartis have been creating a culture of continuous learning through developmental sprints, opportunities to learn from their peers and receive constructive feedback and getting adapted to the changed environment. They aim to bring learning in the flow of the work which is not isolated but rather conceptualized and contextualized 24X7, on their tip of fingers, no matter who they are or where they are. They have also changed their performance management systems from a top down approach to an aligned approach. They have removed performance ratings which focuses on numbers to shift focus to impact and inspirations, enabling qualitative conversations in a safe environment. This supports the overall learning culture.
Novartis focuses on leaders and associates who are:
- Un-bossed, which means that you unleash your own power to take decisions and come up with the best you can everyday.
- Inspirational leaders who discusses the purpose openly
- Curious people. As learning ignites curiosity and without curiosity there will be no development
- Leaders who ask questions to learn rather than telling people what they have to do along with high level of Integrity and compliance
Resistance to learning
Leadership is changing. It's no more about giving directions and delegating people about what they have to do. It is a shift towards unleashing the power of your people. Novartis has implemented Coach to Grow, where leaders and associates can learn how to coach each other. Feedback to feedforward is something that Novartis is rolling out right now. Creating a culture of supporting the leaders and making themselves comfortable with failure is a major part of Novartis’ learning culture. Their one of the KPIs is 100 hours which help them understand how they can experiment with learning through various ways.
Enabling learning for the virtual distributed teams: Challenges and Mitigations
- Technology. Ensuring that people have easy access to learning, Novartis came up with various learning technologies which helped their employees get the right kind of learning on their fingertips. Novartis is introducing an App, which can be accessed via laptop, cell phone, Tablets and get oneself into the learning mode, anytime and anywhere.
- Cultural Diversity. Challenges wherein it becomes difficult to come up with the right kind of learning culture as it might be different for one team.
- Moving out from traditional learning culture
- Language barriers