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Bell Canada’s Mary O’Hara Connects the Workforce to Learning
Additionally, O’Hara said the rest of organization must develop one rallying point to anchor everything to leadership-edge attributes, such as partnering, simplifying, creating outcomes and having a winning mindset. “Every single person in our company is evaluated on those leadership-edge attributes, and they form 50 percent of your performance rating,” O’Hara said. “They’re inculcated into our annual performance cycle and linked into our annual incentive program. We’ve also done a lot of work specifically inculcating that set of attributes into our leading curriculum and building that into action learning—the dialogue that we have very specifically in those leadership programs, communication and coaching skills so that others can learn how to teach others these kinds of behaviors.”
This holistic, integrated talent management strategy or people strategy flows directly from Bell Canada’s business strategy. “That’s the hinge pin,” O’Hara said. “The business strategy is really about transforming the company, fundamentally changing the way that we operate.”
O’Hara has made definite changes. Nancy Nazer, director of organizational development for Bell Canada Enterprises Corporate Services, was a part of people development before O’Hara became a vice president, and can point to specific programs implemented since she joined the team, such as Leadership in Action, which launched in January 2004. “Mary has played a key role,” Nazer said. “It has been her vision to establish this program and many other initiatives, such as Leadership Essentials, but this one has been getting quite outstanding feedback from our employee base. The target audience is manager/director-level employees. The design of the program was Mary’s insight: to combine and use a model of Bell leaders teaching other leaders. Every month she’s very engaged in kicking off these sessions. It’s a two-day forum. She’s there teaching the various components in combination with other experts that we bring in who have expertise in areas such as coaching, change management and shifting mindset. We also engage other Bell executives who come in and share their personal leadership stories. The program is not just designed to shift awareness. It’s to shift behavior, and when she starts the sessions she really reinforces the ‘how’ we need to get there, the behavioral changes we need to make, and not just focus on the end results. How do we push people to the edge and take them to a different level of awareness to shift their mindset and bring about change in the organization?”
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