Why Nokia is taking leadership training out of HR’s hands

Nokia is introducing a new philosophy for leaders allowing the company to react quickly and encouraging the empowerment of staff – but this process will take time to complete.

Rather than telling teams what to do, leaders should be giving them freedom to work using their skills to their maximum.

The global technology giant is also attempting to give leaders and line managers more responsibility for training and development – taking it out of the HR team’s hands.

Speaking exclusively to HRD Connect, Nokia global head of leadership development Joel Casse explained that he was keen to see less reliance on HR to deliver this programme.

“I would agree with Marshall Goldsmith that the component for HR is too prescriptive and is not enabling the organisations,” he said.

“I sense that sometimes we’re too much into our processes, rather than try to let the leaders take ownership and make sense. I brought in the learning agility and so far this learning agility is too far in the HR domain.

“But I see it when line managers take it on board and start to use it – they see the reward it brings to them when they’re bringing in the right potential into the right position, when they are promoting the right people because they are displaying the learning agility. And therefore they are minimising the cost of the business flopping or the person getting burn out because they’re making better decisions,” he added.

Download the full interview with Nokia’s Joel Casse


Casse believes in this so much that he is trying to get it embedded into line manager leadership programmes.

He hopes that line managers will see it as a tool that is worthwhile for them and brings value-added.

“There’s no better reason why for instance learning agility should remain in the HR domain,” he added.

The leadership development is particularly important to Nokia which has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last few years as the technology industry continues to be thrown upside-down.

Reports from within the firm show that leaders core highly on drive for results and customer focus, but not so high on motivating teams, developing team members and creativity and innovation.

Casse needs people to be able to react quickly in the fast-changing technology world.

“We’re living in a world where things are changing so fast we need leaders who are helping us seize opportunities, spot opportunities, and execute on very good ideas fast,” he continued.

“We have no luxury to go through lengthy processes and steering groups or bodies or have to make people go through decision processes – we can’t do that. We need leaders who are enabling embracing and engaging employees as much as possible.

“And our leadership framework is all about that, so it’s not only knowing the business, it’s about developing others,” he added.


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