Enabling and empowering people managers to effectively lead

Akamai has, over the last decade, challenged itself to invest in innovative and targeted ways to develop leadership capabilities. Their driver has been to equip its people managers with the skills and abilities to effectively manage in an ever-increasingly complex environment. 

The Challenge

Akamai partnered with PotentialSquared 5+ years ago. Together they created the award-winning Leadership Academies and Advanced Leadership Academies programs. Then their goals changed, and they needed to shift to a blended learning approach with short, highly experiential virtual development sessions to reach a wider number of leaders.

With a multi-year focus on manager enablement, Akamai wanted to ensure all people managers receive consistent support and learning opportunities to effectively lead their teams. The programs needed to play a role in their wider retention strategy. 

The Solution 

Working in collaboration with Akamai’s Global Talent Development Function, PotentialSquared designed the LEAD program to improve people leaders’ presence and confidence, learn coaching techniques, best practices for giving and receiving feedback, and find ways to create an engaged and inspired team.

The program was made up of four modules: 

  • Impact – What is leadership? How can the 3C’s of Leadership (Connection, Confidence, Conviction) help you hone your leadership impact?
  • Coaching – Review the three fundamentals of coaching, reflect on the benefits and challenges of adopting a coaching leadership approach and practice coaching conversations.
  • Performance – Uplevel your coaching skills, learn how to motivate your direct reports, and give actionable feedback. 
  • Team – Improve engagement, inspire your team, champion collaboration, and create a culture of experimentation.

The content was delivered live, in 3-hour virtually facilitated interactive sessions, supported by pre-work based around videos and activity guides. This was hosted on their internal People Manager Essentials (PME) site and Learning Management System. The program expanded the participant’s professional network across geographies and divisions throughout Akamai. 

The Impact 

The LEAD program won The Brandon Hall Learning and Development Awards 2023 – Best Advance in Competencies and Skill Development – SILVER – Excellence Awards. 

Impact stories from participants: 

“The LEAD program was a phenomenal learning experience! The program provided an opportunity to learn and grow with my peers in a collaborative environment. It taught me new techniques and best practices for engaging with my team. And it introduced me to different perspectives and provided alternative approaches on how to handle difficult situations.” – Global Sales Management, Ops and Enablement Team 

“LEAD program was one of the best learning experiences as it gives an immense opportunity to work, interact and collaborate with other functional managers across Akamai, I had lots of learning to take back and started implementing all of them from the training into my day-to-day managerial life.” – Finance Team

Colin Hunter, CEO of PotentialSquared;

“The need was to meet leaders and their learning needs where they are.  The People Managers Essentials gave them the tools to meet their challenges when they faced them.  The LEAD program gave them the four tangible skillsets to tackle the conversations with their teams.  Easily accessible and engaging – the two key factors for leadership development content.  The team from Akamai and P2 nailed the content, the channel for delivery and the engagement!”

Lauren Rollins, Manager, Global Talent Development, Akamai; 

“The success of the LEAD program is more that we could have hoped for as an organization. We pivoted from an extremely sought after nomination program to an open enrollment approach to broaden our reach and positively impact more leaders across the globe. This transition has paid off in dividends. We continually hear from our leader population that they appreciate the opportunity to engage and collaborate with other leaders throughout Akamai, the facilitators and content are top notch, and that they appreciate Akamai giving them the time and resources to better themselves and their teams. This program will have a positive long-term effect on our retention strategy, building our talent bench internally, and recruiting top talent. Kudos to the teams at P2 and Akamai!”