Leadership Growth

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02:52Mars Pathfinder A Leader's Perspective
Mars Pathfinder: A Leader's Perspective, with Poul Weihrauch, President Global Petcare at Mars
Discover the Mars Pathfinder video, in which Poul Weihrauch, President Global Petcare at Mars, shares highlights and learnings from the Pathfinder Journey with IMD.
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Eighteen months ago, I was new to my job and I traveled around the world to look at the various units and found out that our normal pet care business was growing well. Our ROYAL CANIN® business was growing well, our veterinary business was growing well, but they weren’t really talking to each other and we weren’t really exploiting the synergies between them.

How it started


So I started talking to people. How do you tackle a problem like this? And then the honest answer is: three or four of us met with Tom Malnight, who I knew, in a brasserie in Belgium and we talked about how you grow a system and not just the individual components. And that's how Pathfinders was born in a brasserie in Brussels. We took 20 people from around the globe, a very diverse group of people from all functions and from all countries.

Then we took a decision that the senior management team was not allowed to get involved but had - as a job - to provide freedom and shelter for the 20 people to get on and learn. We also accepted if we are to create the pet care business 10 years out, it's probably not me. And the next generation is closer to the developments in society, closer to what is happening and better placed to tell us what the future looks like, so that we can take decisions. And that was really important.  In their learning, they have learned outside-in. This outside-in thinking has been a massive learning for us, and we have taken it to senior levels in the company, of course, to share it and has been really beneficial. And then there are the individual learnings for 20 people who will grow stronger as leaders, who will impact all the people around them and who will eventually run this company 10 years from now.

What's Next?

So what's next is for us to take the five work streams we have and embed it into test and learning. We iterate them so they become active in the way we do our business. So I think there's both aspects of running five different projects, but there are also new ways of learning that we need to take into the organization.

The measurement of success of this program will be in five years. How many of the projects generate revenue? How many of them have changed society? How have we impacted creating a better world for pets? How can I visibly see that we have impacted the world in the way that people live with their cats and with their dogs?

That's the ultimate measurement of it.