IMD has recently won a 2018 EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award. Since 2011, the EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards (EiP) have recognized outstanding and impactful Learning & Development partnerships in the domains of Leadership, Professional, Talent, Organizational and Ecosystem Development. IMD was awarded in the Organizational Development category with its "Forward-Thinking Leadership Development" program.

James Henderson, Director of the Valmet Forward Strategy Program and Professor of Strategy at IMD, commented on the recognition: "We are honored at IMD to be recognized for this prestigious EiP award with Valmet. It has been such a deeply rewarding experience to be part of Valmet’s leadership development journey – in helping transform the company from a struggling company in a seemingly unsexy industry to a forward-looking technology front runner through real impact."

“We built our Forward Strategy and Fast Forward programs together with IMD to accelerate strategy execution and enable growth increasing the capabilities and competences of the organization. Through the meeting points concept, we’ve managed to leverage the talent of our high potentials and re-energize senior management with Valmet’s Way Forward," added Julia Macharey, Senior Vice President for Human Resources at Valmet.

In 2014, Valmet – a new organization born out of a de-merger in an unwanted industry of capital equipment and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries – sought to make the most of its leadership development programs. How? By turning the company into a confident, forward-looking technology front-runner where the leaders truly saw how they could execute their part of the strategy with real impact.

Valmet partnered with IMD, a top-ranked business school, to co-create a unique leadership development journey that helped it build capability and confidence at four levels: individual, interpersonal, cohort and organizational. This journey was developed around six critical design principles: creating two programs in parallel for senior managers and high potentials with connections between the two; mentoring of high potentials by senior managers; building around the participants’ individual business challenges; addressing or resolving these challenges in each session; ensuring CEO and Executive Team support and sponsorship; and measuring impact on all levels throughout the process.

The journey exceeded the expectations set out at the beginning, not simply based on impressions and testimonials but in terms of real impact. Not only were individual capabilities built, but also 62% of the mentoring relationships continued well beyond the end of the journey; cohort networks improved by over three times because of the program, and substantial financial impact was achieved (between 5 and 167 times depending on the definition). Overall, by early 2018 Valmet had outperformed the Helsinki OMX and Global Industrials index by 62% since the end of 2014, and it was on its way to reaching its stated 8%–10% EBITA targets by 2020.

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EFMD is an international, not-for-profit, membership organization of business schools and corporations, based in Brussels, Belgium, with offices in Asia and the Americas