Cristal Global Academy brief LD to deliver learning around a range of competencies using simulations to accelerate learning by experiencing.
Cristal Global with over 4,000 employees on five continents are leaders in manufacturing titanium dioxide products.
Cristal was designing a graduate program to be piloted with 12-14 graduates in 2013 that would expand over time. For the 2013 intake the program operated in the USA and Europe and from 2014 onwards it was extended to the Middle East and APAC countries. Initially the program ran with science and engineering streams with a business stream being added later in line with identified business needs.
The graduate orientation program runs for three weeks in Baltimore, USA, in order for senior managers in Cristal to visit the program and provide specific company inputs and insights.
Learning Dynamics was briefed to:
- create an integrated graduate induction over 6 days of the program
- Integrate project management frameworks, tools and skills into the program using a project management simulation
- Build commercial awareness and business acumen using a business simulation
- develop a range of competencies that are appropriate to graduates in Cristal
- raise awareness of how career success would depend on graduates building these competencies to complement their technical skills in the future
- Graduate recruits from engineering and scientific backgrounds joining the world’s second largest producer of titanium and titanium-based products
- Graduates were from the USA, UK and India in year 1 and from these countries plus Saudi Arabia from year 2
Solution & Method:
The program was designed to:
- deliver learning around a range of competencies using simulations to accelerate learning
- give the opportunity to applying learning immediately
Simulations included in the program design:
- project management simulation
- business acumen simulation
In addition to the simulations, the use of a mixture of inputs, exercises and reflective learning included input sessions on the following topics:
- Understanding your personal learning style
- Personal development planning
- Managing your learning
- Working with Coaches & Mentors
- Reflective learning
- Action learning
- Getting yourself organised
- Planning and Prioritising
- Managing your time
- Using planning & organising tools
- Effective Communications
- Effective Presentations
- Effective Meetings
Creativity & Innovation
- Critical thinking and creative problem solving
- Innovation and creativity in the workplace (Six Thinking Hats)
- Use of models and techniques to deliver team-based solutions to complex problems.
Desired Learning Outcomes:
Project management simulation: knowledge and use of project management frameworks and tools: Start-up, planning, execution and close-down.
Business acumen simulation: understanding and experience of the financial impact of business decisions, financial literacy and commercial awareness.
Development of highly effective team players having experienced six days of working in diverse teams.
Development of a range of competencies that would fast-track their effectiveness/value to the business.
Build a strong sense of community amongst the Graduate Intake in order to retain them and build strong international networks amongst the senior managers of the future.
“I most enjoyed effective meetings, critical thinking & problem solving, being productive-planning and organising – really useful for the future.”
“I have not had a lot of experience working in teams so learning about the different roles people take was very useful. I think the amount of presenting we had to do was also very beneficial. It gave us practise in a relatively informal environment.”
“I think understanding that people are inclined to take a certain role within a team is very helpful. I am sure I will think back to this learning when I am undertaking team projects in the future. The different tools learnt through critical thinking/ problem solving was also very useful (force field/cause and effect diagrams etc.)”
“Really enjoyed Project Green Dragon. I thought it was a great simulation and it gave us good experience with decision making under a time constraint and allowed us to implement what we learnt through project management.”
“I think project start- up was most useful. We learnt how things like determining your scope early on are crucial. Certain tools available in the project planning stage are very useful also (Power vs degree of interest, risk plans, etc.) and I am sure I will use these further on in my career. I think being able to implement the various stages through Project Green Dragon and the community project was a great experience.”
“The Business Acumen simulation was really interesting because we have seen that each decision that we take has an impact on the market and also on the other groups.”
11 months on:
Learning Dynamics was tasked with developing an 8-day program that would enable the Grads to revisit all the learning from their induction week including the project management tools and frameworks and to apply these to delivering a project for Cristal.
Two teams were formed: US and Europe and each person in each team was given a specific role for week 1 and week 2 of the program which would ensure that each aspect of the Induction program would have an “expert” team member for that week. Roles included: Project Manager, Creative Problem Solver, Team Roles and Teamworking Facilitator, Planning, Organising and Time Manager, Presentation Skills Facilitator, Action Learning Meeting Facilitator.
Eleven months after joining the business the Grads had the opportunity to review their learning and apply it to a real project. Working in teams allowed them to cement relationships. The project itself allowed them to build new relationships within the business and to apply their knowledge of the business to delivering something of real value to Cristal.