Investing in our people
Raytheon Australia’s Leadership Continuum develops new leaders
Effective leadership is more than just getting results; it’s also about inspiring your team's development and growth. And that's exactly what they're aiming for at Raytheon Australia.
The company has established a professional development program called Raytheon Australia’s Leadership Continuum, which is helping create a pipeline of talented leaders at every level of the organisation.
“The concept of the Leadership Continuum was inspired by my experience in the Army,” said Michael Ward, Raytheon Australia's Managing Director. “An army is only as good as its people. You can have the most technologically advanced army in the world but if the people in leadership roles do not continue to develop their skills then it may still fail to meet its objectives. The same lesson applies in private industry; you must continue to grow professionally and personally in order to remain competitive.”
The Leadership Continuum was first rolled out in 2010, and there have been 652 graduates so far; almost 10 percent of the Raytheon Australia total workforce—with some 30 percent of the senior leadership having taken part in the programs, and almost all of the Executive Leadership Team and deputy positions within the company being filled by graduates. Likewise, many graduates of the programs have been promoted to more senior roles within the company.
The Leadership Continuum is informed by a number of strategy, succession planning and human resources programs. The curriculum includes structured learning, external academic expertise, ongoing development activities and Raytheon’s talent management tools and processes.
Ward set three key goals for the program: succession planning, increasing the effectiveness of people in management or leadership positions, and to sustain an enduring competitive advantage.
“We established the Leadership Continuum program to better invest in our people, and allow them to develop, and enhance, their leadership skills,” said Ward. “It also creates a succession pipeline for the senior leadership of the company so that when a senior leader departs, a suitably qualified and experienced candidate is ready to step into the role and succeed.”
When the company set out to create the Continuum program the intention was to design a series of programs that were tailored to its unique circumstances in a structured manner. Ward was very clear that the Continuum had to be aligned to the company’s values, strategic direction and customer base, or it would fail.
“We didn’t want an off-the-shelf training product,” said Ward. “It had to fit us.”
The Continuum is composed of three elements—the Frontline Leadership Program, the Management Excellence Program and the Business Leadership Program, with the curriculum for each informed by the company’s human resources and business strategy initiatives, and with each element corresponding with a different level of management. Each program runs for between three days, to one week.
Tait Gregson, project manager for the LAND 19 Phase 7B program, has completed each course on the continuum successively. He will soon be heading to Norway to become Raytheon’s liaison to KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace—Raytheon’s partner on the LAND 19 Phase 7B program, which is a beyond-visual-range, ground-based surface-to-air missile system for the Australian Army.
“Undertaking each course on the Leadership Continuum has been excellent for my career,” Gregson said. “Each level prepares you for the next role that you are going to undertake—it does not merely open further opportunities for you, but it sets you up to succeed in them too. It isn’t about where you are, it’s about where you are going.”
The different courses have different focuses. The Frontline Leadership Program focuses on practical leadership behaviours and their application in the workplace, the Management Excellence Program focuses on mid-level leaders who are in a position of influence and have a responsibility to shape the leadership culture of the organisation, while the Business Leadership Program targets senior leaders from across the company to accelerate the development of organisational leadership behaviours through all levels of the business.
“I really enjoyed the way that the focus shifts as you progress through each course. You start off learning how to manage yourself and really get the most of your time at work,” said Gregson. “Then in the next course you focus on how to manage your staff, and their different personalities and motivating behaviours, and then the BLP shifts focus to the big picture, and really helps you operate at a strategic, global level where you look at the entire industry landscape, and the company’s position relative to it.”
Another Raytheon leader who has taken the continuum courses is Rebecca Atkinson Manager of the company’s Internal Program Management organisation.
“I completed the Management Excellence and Business Leaders programs. They gave me the opportunity and skills to develop my own leadership style, and to learn how to get the best out of my team, and myself,” said Atkinson. “A significant lesson for me was that managers all face the same challenges, and can learn from each other about how to deal with issues as they arise. It has really encouraged me to reach out to other leaders to get advice, support and to draw on their experience. It has been invaluable.”
There have been a number of positive developments for the company since the program was introduced. Company staff surveys have shown that confidence in the company leadership, morale and motivation has improved since the program was established, and company effectiveness and efficiency has increased over the same period.
“I consider these factors to be a strong indicator that the company is focusing on the right things to drive the business—including proper management and leadership,” Ward said.