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Anna Wilhelmsson

Loomis global leadership program: “Catalyst – leadership delivering business results”

Loomis program "Catalyst - leadership delivering business results"

In 2023, Loomis launched its first global leadership program, “Catalyst – Leadership delivering business results,” and Gaia has been Loomis’ partner in this program. In a company that has truly lived by the motto “business is local,” they had previously avoided large joint initiatives. However, Loomis is now in a situation where the company is evolving, and a global business and leadership program is needed. We spoke with Mårten Lundberg, CHRO/CMO at Loomis Group, and Elisabeth Stjerndorff, the project manager responsible for developing Loomis program “Catalyst – leadership delivering business results”.

“There was a strong demand from several senior managers: we need to create a business education to continue evolving.”

“There was a strong demand from several senior managers: we need to create a business education to continue evolving. And that’s when we started developing Catalyst,” Mårten explains.

Loomis is in the midst of a transformation where they aim to succeed on a new level in two major areas. They want to expand their portfolio and offer more products and services to existing and new customers. Where they currently offer services such as cash handling, they want to provide customers with other types of payment solutions and automated digital services. They also aim to evolve from a service provider to a proactive partner using the customer data they have.

“Our managers need to be able to lead in a more complex world.”

“We have skilled, often internally recruited, managers who have grown with the company. Now, as we broaden our portfolio, leadership needs to include broader perspectives, strengthen collaboration across borders and functions, and develop the business. Our managers need to be able to lead in a more complex world,” says Elisabeth.

“Loomis has been involved in transporting gold and cash since 1852. The company’s development means that our employees have had to complement their skills with a range of payment solutions on many platforms, new digital products, and thus meet customers in new ways,” adds Mårten.

The target audience for the program is managers who have worked for several years and have made progress in their careers. Through the program, they have had the opportunity to see different aspects of their leadership and delve into how they lead the business and its development. It was also important for participants to be able to apply their knowledge directly in their daily lives so that it wouldn’t become theoretical and quickly forgotten.

In the program, group coaching has been employed, and participants have formed business case groups where they have worked practically with real needs and opportunities.

Naturally, a crucial aspect has been how to involve employees so that what the company aims to achieve reaches all the way, while insights and knowledge from those who meet and serve customers every day also contribute to the overall success. Since many employees are value transporters who leave the office when performing their duties, managers really need to find ways to capture, involve, and meet them.

“The reason we chose Gaia as a partner is that we shared a vision in integrating business and leadership.”

“The reason we chose Gaia as a partner is that we shared a vision in integrating business and leadership. That alignment was crucial. Equally important was the experience of running programs in international environments,” says Elisabeth.

Are you seeing any effects already?

“We see that the knowledge of how to prepare, present, and even scale up a business case is incredibly strengthened in the group that went through the first program. There has also emerged a network of managers from different continents, making collaboration and knowledge sharing easier,” says Mårten.

What have you learned so far?

“It is extremely important that we make participants feel safe in the program. To help them grow, they need to feel a sense of security, dare to open up to learning. We really succeeded in creating that, and it was a crucial success factor for the program, for the participants, and thus for Loomis as a company,” explains Elisabeth.

“I see two important lessons from the pilot. The environment around the participants is crucial. How do the participants’ responsible managers take care of a well-educated employee? We don’t quite have that tradition in place, so we will continue to develop it. The second lesson is that a very professional handling of a global program is needed, from the practical aspect to getting top management on board. We have succeeded well in this aspect, and it is crucial that we maintain it,” adds Mårten.

Loomis program “Catalyst – leadership delivering business results” has become a winning concept, leading to a continued significant investment in leadership within Loomis. The pilot was conducted in 2023, and there is now a decision to also implement the program in 2024. They have hired a Head of Leadership Development, Claire Screaton, to drive the program forward.


Gaia interaction

What is interaction? Inter – between. Action – doing, acting. The middle ground.

We often long for interaction. A real meeting where we focus on something we have between us.

And at the same time, we talk a lot about the need for collaboration. Many organizations are struggling to increase collaboration, build collaborative cultures.

Several buzzwords here: collaboration, co-creation, cooperation.

Sometimes it is interesting and clarifying to look in to the actual meaning of a word. Especially to look at what sets it apart from other words that we might use as synonyms.

Co- as a prefix means something that is common, shared.

An interesting difference compared to the prefix inter-. Inter as a prefix points to something that is between us.

When the meeting and what we are going to do together are placed between us, instead of it being immediately shared, it might create more space for action. And perhaps even more important: a space for seeing more clearly, seeing the different perspectives and degrees of complexity.

And that space can also allow for a meeting between independent parties, where different perspectives can create movement and new insight.

Sometimes we might be helped by choosing interaction rather than collaboration. That we choose, as a mindset, to not make the task at hand shared. Instead we can choose to place it between us and work in that space, in the meeting between our perspectives.  Then it creates a better arena for the collaboration, co-creation, and cooperation that we always need to engage in, sooner or later, to create results and value.

To read more about our thoughts in the need for co-creation and collaboration, read about Gaia Mindset.

Creativity in three steps

Gaia creativity

We humans have an amazing capacity for creativity. We base it on our unique ability to imagine things that don’t exist. Imagination – what a thing! We use it all the time. When someone tells us about their morning, we see the cereal in front of us. When one of our loved ones does not answer the phone, we can see the most horrible scenarios in our mind.

But what separates creativity from fantasies, imaginings, and worries?

The word creativity obviously comes from the Latin. Specifically, the verb crere, to create. With a fancy reference to a French guy who died in 1650 due to the chilly castle in Stockholm (but also point out something important): Creo ergo sum. I create therefore I am.

When we talk about this in Swedish, we tend to talk about creativity or being creative rather than about creating. Creativity is then a noun and creative an adjective, created from that old Latin verb. Which is kind of interesting. It immediately becomes something you have or are, not something you do.

And here we come back to what separates creativity from imagination. You have to do something with your imagination, pick out what you imagined inside your head and actually create something on the outside. And seen that way, being creative is a three-step process, each of which uses strong human capacities.

Or no, there is clearly a step 0, namely the fact that we are constantly receiving impressions that can inspire, worry, arouse new thoughts. This is a continuous flow of multitudes of impressions. The trick is, of course, to manage to catch the gold nuggets that glimmer. Or maybe it’s the grain of sand that feels a bit annoying. Or the unexpected, elusive, which perhaps neither glimmers nor annoy but actually touches us. What we usually just call inspiration.

The first step of creativity is about taking that inspiration, that seed into a more active inner process. After all, we have a strong cognitive ability to imagine things mentally that do not currently exist in our concrete, manifest surroundings. It can be about objects, events, situations, experiences that we fantasize about, whether we worry, daydream, or solve problems. The basis here is therefore the imagination, something that can also be cultivated and taken advantage of. Then it is necessary to allow oneself to play further with one’s idea or thought. Let your imagination take it further, make it bigger and explore what possibilities you experience.

The second important step taps into our capacity to realize, do, solve, and create in the external. It’s about taking hold of some of all our fantasies, ideas, dreams and picking them out of our inner self and beginning to form a manifestation of some kind on the outside. The usual images of this are perhaps the artistic ones, to see a image inside your head and paint a picture, to hear music and sit down at the piano or write down the notes, to catch words and write them down on a piece of paper. But also, to see a need for clarity and create a new excel sheet with flexible formulas and macros or to draw attention to a bottleneck and form a new routine.

And finally, our creativity does not reach its full potential if we do not share and transmit what we have created to others in some way. Humanity’s capacity to help others dates to our earliest history, when one of our strongest success factors as a species was our ability to cooperate and help each other. And in this I think our longing to share lies. We want and need to be in contact with others even when it comes to our ideas, stories, what we create. And it is also only here that the full potential of creativity is reached, when ideas, work, stories flow and are shared between us. It is in this that we ourselves develop and grow and in turn develop the context we are in.

Of course, the transitions between these steps are sliding. One way to spin one’s idea is to associate in words or images and that is where the external manifestation begins to take shape. Playing or co-creating with someone else is a way of shaping and sharpening the form you give your imagination on the outside. And with this, we start transmitting and sharing.

Another aspect of the transitions between the three stages, imagination, manifesting and transmission, is that it often comes at a cost for us to take that next step. It can feel scary, difficult, unfamiliar to go from having a mental image to a form on the outside and perhaps even more so when we have to share it with someone else. And here we need to both grasp what it is we want and what it is we long for to actually move forward in the process, because it is actually only in the third step that our creativity reaches all the way. The support we need to give ourselves here is our courage and our self-compassion. To equally challenge ourselves and remind us that our worth is not in our achievements and that the task is not to succeed but to seek meaning.

Try it! You create (all the time) – therefor you are!