Cultivating a sense of leadership

Givaudan is nurturing the next generation of leaders from within through ‘Leadership Senses’, an initiative designed to foster essential management and leadership skills – from self-awareness to the strategic competencies needed to lead a global organisation.


Begin, grow, evolve, enhance: the words call up images of nature, a biological cycle of growth and development. Not for nothing are these the names given to the four cycles in Leadership Senses, a programme created by Givaudan in 2014 to shape its leaders from within. It’s an integral part of the company’s holistic approach to sustainability that means giving people the opportunity to develop their talents in order to succeed and grow in their careers.
Leadership senses 

Characteristics of a leader

Two years after the birth of Leadership Senses, more than 275 early leaders have completed the ‘Begin’ programme. We wanted to get to know some of the graduates better and find out how the programme has touched their lives.

Karina is one of 20 employees in the LATAM region who completed the ‘Begin’ programme over six days in March and May 2016. Responsible for leading a team of six people in Fragrance customer care in São Paolo, Brazil, she found the training invaluable:

“I learned the importance of putting myself in the other person’s place. For me, empathy is perhaps the most important characteristic of a leader, along with good listening and communication skills. Each individual has his or her own limitations, strengths and weaknesses. Good leaders use this information to understand how to work with employees to get the best possible results.”

Building effective networks

May manages a small but busy team supporting a wide range of Flavours customer needs in China. At first she was hesitant to take time away from work for the training, but her manager convinced her it would be worth it.

“It was very worthwhile on many levels. What was valuable for me was learning how to give others effective feedback, not just at the mid-year review but on a continuous basis. Also, how to handle conflict constructively by taking into account different points of view. And finally, how to build an effective network both inside and outside Givaudan.”

It’s all about working together

“It’s easy to understand the theory but not always simple to put into practice,” says Byron, a Fragrance Commercial Manager who completed ‘Begin’ in Singapore in 2014. The programme came along just at the right time in his career, when his team was expanding to satisfy growing customer accounts. “Having to manage other people requires you to understand yourself and develop your own leadership style. That’s a big challenge but the key is understanding that it’s all about working together. You can apply the same tools to motivate your team members as you can to understand your boss.”

“For our early leaders it is all about self-awareness – in order to lead others, you must first know yourself and your own blind spots. Our ‘Begin’ programme helps our leaders with up to five years’ experience become more effective at driving work through others by looking at how people work differently to themselves,” explains Melanie, Global Learning Consultant.

She points out that ‘Begin’ is as much about getting participants to network across the organisation as it is an opportunity to learn new skills. “It’s also a real culture builder. Givaudan’s flavour and fragrances businesses are a rich and diverse source of learning and this programme offers a unique opportunity to share cross-functional experiences.”

As the next group of employees prepare to join Leadership Senses in 2017, the programme will extend its impact nurturing strong relationships within Givaudan, and providing managers with the tools and guidance to become inspirational and challenging leaders who act with heart and soul.