Impact Story
Orkla custom program

Orkla customized learning solution

Impact Story

Orkla custom program

Orkla customized learning solution

The program focused on creating engagement and change and the many practical examples I learned have given me new insights into techniques I can apply and ways of doing things differently than I used to.

Patrick Axzell Sales Director Retail

Orkla: Business transformation program


Orkla is a leading Nordic/Baltic supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the grocery sector, specialist retailers, out-of-home and the bakery market with a turnover of NOK 33.2 billion and 14,600 employees. Over the past number of years, Orkla has consistently delivered organic growth in line with the market and EBITA growth of 6-9%. Not happy to sit back and rest on their laurels, the company came to IMD to explore how to optimize their organization further and create a more inclusive and change-agile leadership ready to embrace the future with confidence.


Direct competitors for Orkla include both large multinationals and local niche players which both aspire to capture market share from Orkla. Orkla’s challenge was to keep growing and to deliver value to shareholders by strengthening and leveraging their unique global/local position. Specifically, the company wanted to become more operationally efficient and drive new innovations to market.

Custom approach

Orkla and IMD created a 15-month customized leadership program for their top 200 leaders to prepare them to lead their desired changes. Combining 4 short and intense face-to-face modules with distance learning, the program offered participants multiple opportunities to explore how to make new concepts work in practice in the workplace before returning to the next step of their learning journey. The opening module set the stage for working towards the optimized model. Module 2 focused on leading towards higher performance, optimizing how functions work together and turning ideas into action. Module 3 then focused on leading others and managing conflict, while the final module focused on looking at the leadership impact and the long-term vision of the company. Throughout the program all learning happened in teams, bringing different functions and country units together. Distance learning was used between modules and took the form of very personalized leadership coaching.


The blended-learning solution used fostered impact at the individual, team and cross-divisional level. Each business unit created a learning community which kept momentum building well beyond the program, sharing new work practices and tools across teams.

Tangible impact communicated by employees as an immediate outcome of the leadership program:

  • Management team more open to new ideas, more approachable, better listeners.
  • Better sharing of the strategic ambition across the whole organization.
  • Better engagement on strategic issues (i.e. new monthly meetings focused on how we deliver the strategy in the company)
  • Improved cross-functional and organizational collaboration, sharing of knowledge and overall team work.
  • New enthusiasm, energy and passion for change across the organization.