Why LIXIL chooses OWP
IMD’s flagship program is helping the Japanese company go global
LIXIL is a Japanese living and housing solutions company. Having previously had a strong domestic focus, the company is now expanding internationally following a series of recent acquisitions—including Permasteelisa in Italy, American Standard Brands in the US, and Grohe in Germany. LIXIL has been rapidly growing, and the number of employees is up to 80,000 worldwide.
For the past few years, LIXIL has sent teams of participants to IMD's Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) program in Lausanne. It will do so again in 2015.
IMD spoke with Makiko Hamase, Corporate Executive, Managing Director of HR Strategy Division, LIXIL Corporation, about how OWP has helped the company.
Q: Why specifically does LIXIL choose OWP for its teams?
A: LIXIL is growing up fast to become a global company. So it's really important for us to develop people to become true global leaders who can do business globally—not only in their own countries, regions or business units.
We need a program with a broader perspective that looks at things from multiple angles and provides good insights to help us shape our new strategy. And OWP is not just academic, but very pragmatic too. The content is very high quality and is always updated, so you can see what kind of companies are facing what kind of issues. We want our participants to take advantage of what they learn at a top-notch business school and apply it to their daily work when they return.
IMD also attracts diverse participants to OWP each year, with about 450 people from all over the world. LIXIL's previous participants on the program have talked about the high-quality networking with other participants, the stimulating curriculum and the excellent facilities at IMD.
Q: Which OWP streams and topics are of most interest to LIXIL?
A: Often our Japanese participants have not previously learned a lot about what leadership means, because the focus in Japan has traditionally been on management. But in the future, LIXIL will need more leadership because it's a new company with a worldwide business. So the questions of what leadership is, and how to put what you learn into practice, are really attractive for our participants. In the OWP that I took part in, in 2014 in Lausanne, Professor Shlomo Ben-Hur's class on leadership inspired me a lot.
But OWP is not just about specific subjects. It's also about the comprehensive, holistic approach of the program. OWP offers a variety of faculty and an excellent curriculum that runs from A to Z—marketing, general management, leadership and so on. It's intensive, but there is also time for exercise and freshening up. It's a well-balanced program.
Each OWP class I attended in 2014 was stimulating. Participants exchanged their own experiences, and the faculty made good comments for the participants to consider. The sessions were interactive and inspiring.
Q: What specific benefits have LIXIL teams gained from OWP?
A: First, our participants come back recognizing the difference between what they are and the model of the global leader that they should be.
It's also good for LIXIL participants to see each other and get to know each other better, because our company has far more people than it did two years ago. If the connection is strong, it's easier for them to make things happen together.
Another benefit is the networking with other executives from global companies. This is an asset for LIXIL's people, because they can take the opportunity to connect with these contacts in the future.