Kuala Lumpur-based Ulrika Brunner, who has already had a protracted profession in Asia, has simply climbed up one other step at her profession ladder: appointed CEO at Encourage Group Asia (a New Zealand firm).
Encourage Group affords bespoke studying options which might be partaking, impactful and that resonate, in an effort to assist remedy enterprise challenges and shift behaviour inside organisations. The Swede joined the corporate as Nation Director for Encourage Group Malaysia, to develop the enterprise for the market chief in customised studying in Malaysia and the remainder of Asia.
However earlier than delving additional into Encourage’s providers, a abstract of Ulrika’s 24 years in Asia is acceptable. It was her brother that enticed her to Asia, when he was working in Vietnam. Rising up in Portugal and travelling the world, being the son and daughter of legendary Börje Lantz, Sweden’s first and thus far greatest identified soccer promoter who was lively each in South American and in Europe, and in addition remodeled soccer within the dwelling nation.
“I grew up with soccer gamers residing with us and we travelled throughout Europe. It’s due to our father that my brother and I have been so open to depart Europe and actually check out one thing totally different. So I’m grateful how each my dad and mom have been open to that we should always check out new issues and never be afraid, even when it was on the different facet of the planet,” says Ulrika who cuts an brisk and light-hearted determine.
“My brother invited me to go to him in 1997, once I nonetheless lived in Portugal. Vietnam was a cool and thrilling a spot to go to. I returned again dwelling after some weeks after which out of the blue I used to be supplied a job in Vietnam, which was booming then; going full steam forward. I took the job at a agency promoting workplace furnishings. I used to be there for 5 years, then in China for one yr, after which returned to Vietnam for 3 extra years.”
Upon returning to Vietnam and Saigon, Ulrika labored for the Swedish beauty agency Oriflame as Advertising and marketing Supervisor for 3 years.
She met her Swedish husband whereas in Vietnam and it was due to his job that they moved to China, and afterward to Kuala Lumpur.
“We’ve been right here now for 14 years.”
As soon as there she turned the Basic Supervisor for Successful Perspective, 2009 to 2014. Successful Perspective is a Swedish firm distinctive on providing a web-based instrument which might measure perspective, explains Ulrika.
“With it you may run a web-based evaluation and on the finish of it you get a report on what areas you should work on, the place you perspective is true now. There may be nothing comparable on the market they usually have been very profitable in Sweden.”
“It went slower in Malaysia, as a result of it was so totally different and the market was not prepared. They do far more character checks and so forth. right here so measuring perspective was fairly totally different. and it was fascinating work.. For example, we did a number of pilots with the 5 largest universities on how lecturers can method instructing with a special mindset and perspective.”
Ulrika additionally had a stint with, amongst expats, the well-known relocation agency Asian Tigers Relocation. Then she labored for the Finance Accreditation Company (FAA), which was the place that led on to Encourage.
“FAA, below the Malaysian central financial institution, does accreditation of studying programmes for each larger training and the monetary providers business. For example, if a financial institution has an in-house coaching academy and roll out programs to their workers members they need to make sure the programme is accredited by a third-party for recognition and so forth. FAA coated the whole world, specializing in Islamic finance.”
“I took the licensed coaching skilled programme there, studying the best way to develop one’s personal programme and the best way to ship it to a bunch of members. And whereas studying that I realised that this was one thing that resonated with me, and it appeared I used to be additionally good at doing it, based mostly on my outcomes. I realised I wished to do one thing extra HR-focused.”
Future introduced her to an occasion about management options with the then CEO for Encourage Group Asia, James McCulloch (whom she has now changed) as speaker.
“I used to be utterly offered on it; the whole system they’ve constructed up throughout 20 years, with every thing based mostly on being contextualised, whereas on the similar time retaining it easy. It’s not just like the content-heavy kind of programs being supplied from western universities, together with a number of fashions that you must examine; that is extra experiential studying. And I had not seen something fairly prefer it in Asia throughout my years right here,” explains Ulrika.
Afterwards she contacted James to seek out out extra, when it turned out that they have been on the lookout for a rustic director.
“So it was excellent timing; I simply felt it was meant to occur, that I’d be there on that day. Then issues moved on very quick and I began working for them in July 2019.”
And in December 2020 she was appointed as the brand new CEO for the e-Studying and management options supplier.
“We cowl the entire of Asia and have delivered programmes in eight totally different nations all through Asia thus far.”
Conventional tried-and-tested (and in addition outdated) studying and growth is changed by Encourage Group with transformative studying that must be each private and transportable.
“The main focus is at all times on human behaviour change. That’s the place Encourage Group’s experience is, and based mostly on 20 years within the enterprise, so the knowhow that we convey to the desk is actually strong.”
Many studying interventions fail to ship a return on funding as a result of they don’t give attention to what actually drives lasting behaviour change; specifically context, perception and ease, based on Encourage. This skilled supplier’s easy level of distinction: focus first on the areas that may actually make a distinction by way of tailoring the answer to your exact want.
Encourage helps the consumer to develop the areas in a singular approach – “by way of a collection of blended options that provide the worth and comfort of product, however with the deep impression of a bespoke answer”.
“The way in which we begin working with purchasers now in Asia, is thru our management programme ‘Inspiring To Lead’ which consists in 7 totally different workshops. We begin with that for six months and fairly often the client comes again requesting: ‘I would love extra teaching, or have a bespoke workshop specializing in a specific matter.’ We construct the relationships; we don’t simply need to be a vendor, we need to be their studying companion. Once they subsequent consider: ‘I would like to deal with this problem with this group of individuals’, they discuss to us first,” says Ulrika. “It’s our door-opener in Asia however in a short time we’re in a position to additionally have interaction with a bespoke studying answer.”
“We’ve for instance, executed a ‘Mentoring to guide’ programme for one consumer who wished mentoring to be a lifestyle for its leaders. After rolling out the workshops which have been each digital and face-to-face they wished to have a train-the-trainer method. We then skilled their in-house trainers to make use of the kind of methodologies that Encourage Group makes use of: grownup studying, contextualisation, experiential studying. So what we do is an increasing number of centered, alongside management programmes, on several types of programmes.”
“Other than the workshops there’s a have to construct extra modules that help the educational by way of a web-based authoring instrument, be it for evaluation functions, or to reiterate the educational from workshops. In order that has actually exploded as a market,” she provides.
“One other one is that among the members will want further help. We then design a bespoke workshop as refresher, each three months for one more yr. So it grows organically, as kind of a pure step what they see the necessity for.”
“We additionally use e-Studying for instance for onboarding and induction. It turns into like a advertising and marketing instrument for the corporate to point out that is what it’s like if you come to work with us and what you’ll expertise. And that’s constructed on our personal ‘Chameleon Creator’ or different on-line authoring instruments,” she continues.
Chameleon their in-house totally responsive authoring instrument is commonly used for a blended studying method.
“There are others, however the focus for Chamelon is: simple, quick and exquisite. Anyone ought to have the ability to construct their very own modules to roll out content material that must be made obtainable on any gadget.. With a blended method we then not solely present an e-Studying module but additionally arrange bespoke workshops, as reference guides, so that you’ve a complete sequence of contact factors over a time period–as much as two years–to make sure that the educational sticks. Therefore, we roll out a complete programme which will final for six months as much as two years,” Ulrika elaborates.
For management programmes, beginning with a communication instrument to convey folks on board and co-design with all of the stakeholders is the make-or-break-it piece. “Group work takes place with sure teams of the organisation in several cohorts. After that you simply may need further studying modules, to speak the message and make sure that the educational sticks appropriately.”
The occasions of 2020 have additionally vastly modified office studying and growth, with digital studying exploding throughout Asia, and in a sensible approach that aligns to how folks now work and the platforms they have interaction with day by day.
The CEO elaborates: “An enormous a part of digitalisation, digital transformation, may be very usually to have the ability to do on-boarding or induction just about. We’ve been doing this already for twenty years; for instance the net authoring instruments, the place you truly construct modules the place the particular person becoming a member of will even have the primary induction executed on-line. That is normally step one in digital transformation, the place folks realise: ‘Oh, my goodness, we’ve tons of of individuals becoming a member of us yearly, how will we make this scalable now after we can’t get everyone to return to the pinnacle workplace?’In order that’s a pure first step; to make use of on-line authoring instruments, like Chameleon, to construct these modules to make the induction course of work as much as 80 % on-line. You continue to have to have some bodily features by way of receiving supplies, the laptop computer and so forth. This has exploded by way of the necessity to switch the onboarding workshops which have at all times been executed face-to-face to on-line.”
As for his or her management options, the motto adopted is: ‘Management is a Means of Being’, with these three key beliefs: ‘Development Mindset is important’, ‘Direct and Encourage’ and ‘Lead Self earlier than others’. Encourage Teams subscribes to that you simply can not actually lead others with impression till you’ve mastered main your self with nice consciousness, drive and a development mindset.
And in these difficult occasions, true leaders are outlined much more by not simply what they do, however HOW. “Why must you give attention to ensuring that your management is the very best it may be? As a result of it impacts the well-being of everyone else within the organisation. Your chief, or boss, has an even bigger impression in your well-being than your physician. So it’s so essential that the leaders perceive the accountability that they’ve throughout this time. It’s extra essential than ever that leaders can dwell as much as the position they play within the organisation the place they work.”
“On the similar time you should maintain issues easy and never overcomplicate issues, as a result of you’ve got to contextualise it and make it related for the folks within the organisation. As a result of no matter you current to them, no matter you ask them to do, the questions is at all times going to be: ‘What’s in it for me?’ So when you don’t reply that I’m not going to be engaged if I don’t see how that is essential; be it a studying programme or a job that I have to do in initiatives that I’m engaged on,” Ulrika explains.
“So these three beliefs are what we give attention to with all our management growth programmes. And it’s based mostly on doing this for a few years and in addition realizing that it’s so essential, particularly now, to not over-complicate issues. Contextualise it, maintain it easy and perceive the scenario that persons are in round you. Empathise, and don’t be afraid to be susceptible. This can be a enormous problem I feel in Asia, possibly extra so than for our purchasers in Australia and New Zealand, the place leaders really feel they must be stoic and powerful to have the ability to help their groups. They’re placing this extra stress on themselves throughout these occasions.”
“We at Encourage at the moment are specializing in how can we help leaders to recollect to additionally handle themselves and never be afraid to say: ‘I’m truly not O.Ok’, and to have the ability to be susceptible and to really have these conversations. If we don’t discover a approach to take care of this for ourselves, for our personal well-being, how can we lead others?”
Covid-19 has additionally impacted the best way Encourage conduct their enterprise, having to cowl the markets just about.
“At first of the yr we needed to shortly adapt all our face-to-face workshops to ship them just about. So we work in a really agile method. The crew in New Zealand designed all our workshops inside three weeks to be digital. In any other case we favor to run our management programmes head to head. We additionally do a number of teaching and that’s extra regular to do just about in order that has continued to develop all through the area.”
The one different problem in Asia in comparison with Australia and New Zealand is that off-the-shelf programmes, with a whole lot of give attention to content material, has been customary. It may be demanding if that’s what purchasers are used to , after which out of the blue Impressed Group comes alongside presenting one thing very international and totally different, the place we discuss to you about contextualisation, co-designing along with you and you’ve got by no means seen something prefer it,” smiles Ulrika. “So we are likely to work with firms which might be used to having a development mindset, that means that they’re ready to strive new issues.”