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Continental: Our people. Our culture. Our future.

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We have worked closely with Continental since 2007, and today designs and delivers five leadership development experiences for general managers, international managers, executives, and senior executives. Continental AG is one of the world’s leading global automotive manufacturing and technology companies, developing technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Playing an important part in the organization’s success, Continental’s Leadership Architecture – a series of development programs for all leaders – supports and equips leaders to unleash their potential, face increasingly complex challenges and embrace their role in “meeting the future”.

Continental AG: Keeping the world moving and connected

Founded in 1871 in Germany, Continental is a global success story. As an organization it has continuously evolved alongside a changing world, satisfying the demands of its customers, driving technological advancements such as automated, autonomous driving, and smart infotainment, and ensuring that digitalization, sustainability, efficiency, and cost-saving are as central to its business today as quality, safety, comfort, and convenience have and always will be.

Today, Continental operates in 60 countries at 554 locations and employs more than 243,000 people, each playing a vital role in offering people safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic, and transportation.

“Staying ahead of the curve, creating pioneering technologies, services and solutions, and bringing these to market faster than others is how Continental ensures its success. Continental the tire manufacturer, automotive supplier, and industrial partner has become Continental the manufacturer of leading technologies and services.”

Dr. Elmar Degenhart, CEO, Continental

A changing working world

For all the opportunities of digital transformation and globalization, there are major challenges. More is being demanded of management and leadership than ever before as the working world accelerates and change becomes more rapid. It is only by adapting to the new conditions more quickly and flexibly than others that competitive advantages emerge.

But innovation, pioneering solutions, and ground-breaking technologies can arise only in an environment that is inspiring, conducive to new ideas and initiatives, and that cultivates an atmosphere of personal responsibility and encourages collaboration, exchange of knowledge, working in networks, and agility.

“In this context, leadership development at Continental is a vital part of ensuring our future viability and creating value,” explains Bianca Schröder, Head of Leadership Development and Onboarding. “Our Leadership Architecture programs help our organization become more agile, innovative, and interconnected in the way we think and act. We concentrate on unleashing managers’ and leaders’ full potential – developing individual skills and talents – so that they can make the best possible contribution to Continental’s overall success and are supported as they face new challenges.”

The Leadership Architecture

Continental’s Leadership Architecture is an inclusive development opportunity for all leaders. It is underpinned by a carefully considered leadership philosophy that equips leaders to play their part in creating Continental’s future whilst also recognizing the balance between stability and agility/change, and the need to support leaders at times of both.

Blended, experiential, and reflective learning

Programs are blended learning in the fullest sense. Participants attending might therefore be involved with or experience:

“Throughout the programs, we blend impactful development, engagement, and empowerment techniques from the worlds of consulting, leadership development, and organizational change with those offered by digitalization and new technology.”

Anna Odumodu, Client Relationship Director, Hult EF

Impact

To cope with the many challenges of an increasingly complex, changing, and uncertain environment, the programs work hard to ensure that leaders at Continental can both lead change and drive innovation whilst also providing the necessary guidance and stability.

The programs have changed, developed, and expanded the capabilities and the mindset of a critical mass of leaders at Continental. As well as working on specific organizational problems facing the business – both today and in the future – the development:

  • Creates leaders who are self-aware, more confident, values-led, and transformational

  • Helps Continental build a culture that optimizes potential, gets the best from others, is empowering and collaborative

  • Increases leaders’ engagement, understanding of, and sense of ownership for Continental’s specific challenges

  • Supports and enables greater responsiveness and innovation

  • Broadens leaders’ global, external outlook

“The programs offer multiple ‘moments of surprise’ and, at times, extremely challenging tasks. An emerging market live case on the International Management Program, for example, exposes participants to a condensed V.U.C.A. world for 72 hours. It is extremely intense and powerful.”

Bianca Schröder Manager Group Learning Culture Development & Change Group Human Relations

Program evaluation average 4.6 out of 5

Through the development, leaders develop the ability to think and act in more complex, strategic and systemic ways and in some programs – via group projects and live cases – to deliver solutions for pressing live issues. This supports the business as it increasingly operates in a changing marketplace, with different customer needs and disruptive innovation.

Speaking specifically on the impact which the programs have on individuals, Bianca Schröder witnesses very visible changes, from the way leaders enter a room, communicate, and actively ask for feedback to how they bring people together and involve others in challenges. These are changes she describes as “seemingly small, but which have a huge impact on leaders’ effectiveness and our ability as an organization.

“The Leadership Architecture supports a deep-rooted belief that lifelong learning and collaboration gives rise to innovative ideas and the best solutions for customers. By creating an inspiring leadership culture, the enjoyment derived from commitment increases, spurring people on to perform well.”

Dr. Martina Michel Head of Group Talent Management, Organizational Development & HR Communications, Group Human Relations

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