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Clientcase: Leadership Program for Akzo Nobel - Schouten China

In close cooperation with Akzo Nobel DCE, Schouten Global designed a Leadership Program based on central objectives and aiming for local results. At the start of the project, both a Dutch and an international pilot were delivered by Schouten Global to check the programme on content and cultural fit.

AkzoNovel is one of the world’s leading industrial companies. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the company produces and supplies a wide range of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals. As a major producer of specialty chemicals AkzoNobel supplies industries worldwide with quality ingredients for life’s essentials.

The approach

In collaboration with AkzoNobel DCE, Schouten Global designed a training program that allowed translation of their vision, mission, values and the set of instruments that were developed centrally, to the local people, culture and situation in all countries. This was all done in consultation with local trainers, professionals and HR managers”.

For the design of the program, the following specifications were taken into account:

  • Consistent program throughout Akzo Nobel DCE, linked to the vision, mission and values. Variations on the basis of: group managers, language and culture, primary process. 
  • Modular set-up: basics and special elements. 
  • Local implementation in the national language and suitable for the local culture. 
  • Content linked to daily practice, delivery close to the workplace. 
  • Suitable for the RGM management style.


The scheme was offered in 2 forms: a basic version consisting of module 1 – 8, and an extended version. Each module (a 4-hour session) was preceded by homework assignments and concluded with the determination of personal actions. 

  • KICK OFF  
    In this module, the scheme was presented to the participants, partially by representatives from within the organisation. This module also focused on identifying personal development and associated learning goals. Finally, situational leadership was discussed and practiced.

    Attention to individual formulation of SMART aims, result-oriented management and making result-oriented agreements with staff. 

    The basic feedback rules and especially a great deal of practice in giving informal feedback. 

    Exercises in conducting evaluation interviews.

“We think about the future, but act in the present. We’re passionate about introducing new ideas and developing sustainable answers for our customers. That’s why our 60,000 employees – who are based in more than 80 countries – are committed to excellence and delivering Tomorrow’s Answers Today.”

    Possible career development was viewed in various ways in terms of employability and the use of career anchors. This was followed by discussion exercises 

    The ‘team effectiveness model’ was used to study the optimisation of cooperation between departments from the perspective of personal situations and relations with other departments. 

    How, when and where do you inform your staff about important events? The model used to explain processes was the drama triangle from the Transactional Analysis.

    This interview was practiced with the aid of the STAR method. Reference was also made to Competence Management and the use of competences in this type of interview.

    An analysis of current Succession Plans. “Have both the functional and personal options of the department been included?” The interviews were also practiced.

    How can you be entrepreneurial your department? What works and what needs change is studied with the aid of the Quinn layout – ‘what does this change look like and what must I do as a manager to achieve it?’ 

"We see a first step in changing behavior. They have started using their new skills and they reflect on their own people management skills.”

-Paul Woldendorp, Director of HR at AkzoNobel Decorative Coatings Europe

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