Powder Metallurgy Leaders Programme (PMLP)

GKN Powder Metallurgy comprises GKN Sinter Metals, the world’s largest manufacturer of sintered components, and GKN Hoeganaes, which produces metal powder used in the manufacture of these components.


We were requested to design and deliver a leadership development programme for identified talent at senior management level across the Powder Metallurgy division of GKN. An initial cohort had already been through a programme delivered by another company but it was felt a fresh approach was needed and we were invited take responsibility for this.

The Challenge

To design and deliver a multi-modular development programme for senior managers identified through the organisation’s talent review process. These would be individuals with the potential to progress to executive level.

Working closely with the client and interviewing key stakeholders enabled us to understand their specific needs and design a bespoke programme that fully aligned with their internal leadership competencies.

The Solution

A programme that consists of 3, one-week modules over 18 months. In between each module participants receive coach via telephone sessions with the programme facilitators and undertake business project work plus social projects within their local communities. The participants work in teams on the business projects and individually on the social projects that are relevant to their local community.

The modules each have a specific focus and the learning builds iteratively over the programme’s 18 month duration. In addition, there are consistent themes that run throughout.Programme prep - GKN

One such theme is an observed activity on Module 1. Participants work in teams to design, deliver, and market a rover/buggy for use on Mars. The observers are a mixture of HR managers and senior leaders from the business. At the end of the exercise, participants receive feedback from their observers. This theme is picked up again in Module 3, with a day of observed activities, with targeted feedback. This always the opportunity to assess how people have developed during the 18 month development process.

The three modules consist of:Module bullet points- GKN

The first 3 cohorts have now completed the programme for over 70 participants. During the programmes we have been delighted that a significant number of participants have been promoted to more senior positions.

Sample of Participant Feedback:

“Best training programme I have been part of. No negatives. Instructors were terrific.”

“The best Leadership training I have been involved with.”

“Thank you for all your support. It was an impressive experience and the best training, with the best facilitators I have ever had.”

“The programme was good for me to understand different characters of persons I work with and to learn how to approach them appropriately.”

“I think that getting feedback on how you’re leading is very useful. We interact with others every day, but we don’t very often hear how we’re doing!”

“Coaching was a great refresher and I saw that many times my approach was less than effective. I really need to allow the person I am working with provide more opinions and step back more”.

“The change management section was most useful for me. Learning by doing in the simulation was extremely beneficial, plus it also helped me see the value of having thorough plans for communication, change agents, and the entire process of implementation. It’s more than just making people aware in a meeting and holding training sessions”.

“The ChangePro exercise was the most useful: I believe this exercise combined multiple real world issues into an interesting and attention grabbing format that allowed us to experience different attitudes and relationships that are very real. It opened my eyes to the different forms of communication required in order to gain the most positive way forward.”