Based in the U.K., Heli Helanummi-Cole of Nokia spends her workdays immersed in the luxury mobile phone industry, laser-focused on the selling of her company’s innovative and exclusive Vertu brand of personal communications products. “We have six different sales teams around the globe and I consult with them pretty much on a daily basis, looking at how we’re going to sell, what we’re going to sell, and how much,” she said.
To continue growing as a manager in this dynamic industry, Helanummi-Cole takes advantage of a range of learning opportunities Nokia extends to its employees. One of the high points of her development came at the Leadership Development Program (LDP)® in Brussels. It was a week made memorable by the diversity of her class.
“Nokia is very good with training and we do a lot of it internally, and it’s always interesting meeting with your colleagues from different parts of the company,” said Helanummi-Cole, who is channel planning and implementation manager for the company’s Vertu subsidiary. “At the same time, one of the bonuses of attending LDP is that you meet so many people and they come from different industries and you get the chance to take a look at things from different viewpoints.”
Fellow participants at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)-Europe program included an executive from the perfume industry and the manager of a chocolate factory. “I found it fascinating to hear them talk about their industries and their jobs and how they deal with particular issues,” she said. “It was enlightening and also good fun.”
The program was an opportunity for Helanummi-Cole to refresh her feedback skills. “I give feedback regularly at work and find that it’s easy to give people ‘good’ feedback. It’s more difficult when you try to use feedback in order to motivate and push them forward. The roleplaying exercises helped.”
Feedback from her boss, colleagues and subordinates at work helped her to tweak her management style. “Areas to work on revolved around the fact that I’m a very focused individual,” she said. “I am, in fact, more an analytical person and an introvert rather than an extravert, but I’m consciously trying to show a more casual side now with my team.” Another goal involved what is today a common challenge for committed executives: juggling time between work and personal life. Since LDP, she said, “I have managed to find some balance that I didn’t have before.”
In-depth feedback leading to attainable goals is a signature of CCL® programs, and Helanummi-Cole said she fully appreciates the value of it. “It definitely helps you in understanding why things are going as they are going and what you can do about it,” she said. “I would recommend LDP for the self-awareness factor alone.”