Mott MacDonald's emerging leaders


Mott MacDonald is a global engineering, management and development consultancy headquartered in London. They employ over 17,000 employees and have projects in over 120 countries around the world.

Since 2016 Lane4 have been working in close partnership with Mott MacDonald to create Emerging Leaders, a global programme designed to accelerate the pipeline of future leaders joining the Top 200 in the next 7 years. We caught up with one of the delegates, Technical Director Aine Martin, to find out about her experience.

How does it feel to be one of Mott MacDonald’s Emerging Leaders?

It’s fantastic! I’ve personally got so much out of the programme – it empowered me to take control of my career and push it forward. It also helped me form a global family and I enjoyed learning and practising the training with my colleagues from around the world. We got to know and trust each other and build great relationships. I’m now looking forward to working together to push Mott MacDonald’s new strategy forward.

What were your stand out moments of the programme?

There were so many! I really enjoyed the very first event where everyone on the programme got together for four days of intensive training. During those four days we were pushed out of our comfort zone and encouraged to look at our lives and our careers in a different way. I particularly enjoyed the laser shooting activity which was part of that. It was designed to teach us about focusing the mind and controlling stress whilst trying to hit the target. It was a fun way to bring some key leadership lessons to life.

What did you learn about leadership?

For me it was understanding about the different types of leadership and how your focus changes when you go from being a leader of individuals to a leader of leaders and a strategic leader. For example, no longer leading from the front, but taking on a role of leading from the middle to get everybody across the line and achieve through others.

Another key moment for me was the ‘honest conversations’ webinar. It gave me the tools I needed to deal with feedback effectively, how to speak honestly about an issue and deal with a situation in a grown-up manner. One of our own senior leaders shared their personal experience in the webinar, it was a very honest reflection which rang true to us all.

What did you learn about yourself?

The High Performing Leader diagnostic we did was a fantastic way to learn about ourselves. It was a 360-degree feedback tool which collected feedback from our line manager, direct reports and peers and also from our family which I had never experienced before! We completed the diagnostic at the beginning of the programme before we enrolled and that helped identify what we needed to work on during the course. At the end of the course we repeated the process which helped us see the change in ourselves. I was very pleased to see I had improved across the board, but most interestingly, the second time around I had scored myself down on some of the items that I had scored myself highly on at the beginning! I think that demonstrated that I had gained a greater self-awareness over the course of the 18 months and I feel confident I now know exactly where I need to improve. That insight is going to be key for me to take forward in my career.

Have you noticed a change in your day-to-day life?

Absolutely. It’s changed my mindset and I think one of the biggest influences it’s had is that it’s made me braver. The programme has helped me identify what it is that I want to do and go after it. As soon as I came off the initial event I went to see my line manager because there was an initiative running in the company that I wanted to be part of. That’s subsequently led on to other opportunities such as leading a thought leadership programme for the company. I don’t think I would have been bold enough to go for those opportunities if I hadn’t been part of the programme.

What’s next for you?

We’ve recently been on a springboard event which drew the formal training to a close and helped us plan the next steps to move our careers forward. I’m already enjoying putting what I’ve learnt into practice and getting involved with wider projects within the business. We’ve all been challenged to identify at least two mentors to help us develop over the next couple of years - an internal mentor and an external. I think it’s going to be really valuable to have an external perspective that can link to the business and actually make more connections outside for Mott MacDonald.

Find out more about the Emerging Leaders programme here

This programme has been shortlisted for CIPD People Management Awards 2018 for Best L&D Initiatives!


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