Posten Norge Group

Posten Norge created a leadership community to succeed in a changing environment

We’ve all probably noticed that postal services and the logistics industry have been undergoing a series of transformations in recent years. As the amount of physical mail has decreased, but delivery obligations have remained in place, the cost-to-value ratio has worsened. Meanwhile, however, package delivery services have been on the rise due to the rise of e-commerce.

Posten Norge Group is a Nordic mail and logistics group, and its vision is “We make everyday life simpler and the world smaller”. Posten Norge Group, being ambitious about staying innovative and progressive, saw this as an opportunity rather than a challenge and decided to renew its strategy. Summarized, the new strategy focuses on three areas:

  1. Putting the customer at the center. This means being the best at customer experience, offering the industry’s most attractive services, and being the best at deliveries in urban areas.
  2. At the forefront of technology and innovation. This means being the most innovative provider of logistics, developing a data-driven business that innovates through insight and technology, and being a competency-driven and attractive employer.
  3. Best at sustainable value creation. This means being the greenest logistics provider and a responsible social player and employer, as well as creating an efficient cost structure that contributes to long-term value creation.

Posten Norge Group was aware, however, that a great strategy means little if it isn’t fully understood and implemented by the entire organization. This is why they decided to launch a company-wide leadership training program. Implement Consulting Group was chosen to co-create, design, and execute a powerful program together with Posten Norge Group. The project lead from Posten Norge Group was Eli Drægalid Andersen, and she and her team worked closely together with the consultants led by Cathrine Foss Stene. Eli is a very experienced organizational psychologist with a background in consulting and HR. Cathrine is an expert in organizational development and management consulting—and a strong believer in our tool Howspace.

“It was very inspiring to me as a consultant that Posten Norge Group really wanted to invest in their leaders at a time when the challenges faced by the industry could have easily made them save specifically things such as training. I see that as brave,” Cathrine says.

Posten Norge Group is a large company with roughly 13,000 employees with, terminals in 38 locations, and 7 000 distribution points in the Nordic region. There are 750 leaders working in the company on all levels, from the C-suite to the managers leading the teams of drivers and terminal workers. The leadership program had to be designed in such a way that it was relevant and applicable to all the leaders.

Peer feedback and prioritization at the core

When the leadership program started in the fall of 2019, it consisted of different elements run in parallel, including physical summits where 250 people got together at once, access to a data platform of webinars, tools, articles, and other resources, and also what Cathrine calls LeadershipLABs and formats for behavior sprints. Besides the physical summits, everything else was run in Howspace from the start. Asynchronous features such as polls and commenting functions were used to keep the process going.

“The objective of the behavior sprints is to strengthen or change your behavior. So, for a sprint, each learner assigns himself a goal—what behavior they want to strengthen or change and creates a situation-based or time-based ritual around it. For example, if you want to become better at asking for and receiving feedback from your team, every morning, you spend 5 to 7 minutes thinking about what the biggest difference you can make to achieve this goal today is. At the end of the day, you spend another 5 to 7 minutes reflecting on how it went—and WHY,” Eli describes.

Howspace offers the structure for the sprint that starts with a form you fill out to detail your objective. A sprint would last for 60 days because that is the approximate time it takes for a new ritual to become a habit that doesn’t need conscious work any longer. Then, for a further 30 days, it is observed to make sure it sticks.

“You can start a new sprint every 60 days, meaning you can make six changes in your behavior in a year. It’s a lot if you can think back and see that you really made all these changes, and they became permanent,” Eli says.

LeadershipLAB groups, then, are learning groups consisting of 5 to 6 people. They have their private environment in Howspace where they can share their learning, ask each other questions, and share the results from their sprints.

The innovative approach delivered results

The first physical summits were held in January 2020, and, as we all know, meeting in large groups became impossible a short time afterwards everywhere. At that point, even the 250-person summits were moved into Howspace. This quick move to the digital summits meant that the summit was postponed from May to November. But other than that—everything went forward as planned.

Cathrine describes Howspace as the very foundation on which the entire program is based.

“There are so many features that we felt really made things effortless. For example, we made a variety of webinars available for the 750 leaders to choose from, including topics like coaching, virtual collaboration, change management, or energy management. Everyone in HR, usually responsible for bookings, was so delighted to see how easy it was for people to sign up for webinars in Howspace. Everything is self-booking, so you don’t have to play with spreadsheets.”

Another thing Eli and Cathrine praised was the integrated video conferencing powered by Whereby.

“Jumping from one system to another is quite exhausting during a webinar or digital training. It really helps to have everything in the same place. Including documentation, by the way! It stays there, and you can always go back and read on it if you wish.”

“It really helps to have everything in the same place.” 

New kind of commitment and trust

At the time of writing this, the program is still ongoing, with the final sprints ending later in 2021. However, Eli foresees that the LeadershipLABs will continue on their own even after that. No facilitation is needed because the participants have committed to their shared learning initiative.

While the training has been going on, COVID-19 has come and caused another disruption to the logistics industry. The need for delivery services peaked in an unprecedented way when people moved to online shopping.

If anything, Posten and Bring have taken this to mean their leadership program is even more important.

Cathrine has observed that besides the changes in individual behavior, the digital summits, lab groups, and other interactions of the program have created a larger level of trust between managers in the different parts of the organization.

“Reaching out to each other with a suggestion or to ask for help has clearly become more common. And this ties in with the impact of COVID: the ongoing leadership program has allowed Posten and Bring to bring in their leaders to this massive change progress, meaning they are better equipped to handle those enormous volumes that are currently coming in.”

This proves in an insightful way how the right kind of leadership training can not only turn the company strategy into everyday action but also help the organization to adapt if the external environment changes radically quickly.

As a final note, Cathrine highlights the importance of permanence.

“Leadership journeys can sometimes be seen as something very event-based: there’s the preparation, the event, and the follow-up. What we really wanted to create here was a journey that is seamless with your work and daily life. Having a platform like Howspace to facilitate that journey is absolutely crucial.”

“What we really wanted to create here was a journey that is seamless with your work and daily life. Having a platform like Howspace to facilitate that journey is absolutely crucial.”

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