Forward Together – Valmet’s strategic leadership program

Feb 16, 2024

Forward Together is Valmet’s strategic leadership program. The program brings senior management and future leaders together to co-create, learn and develop Valmet Forward. Valmet kicked off the program in full in 2023 with nearly 200 participants attending one of the five programs run during the year.

Forward Together is a global training program run in partnership with IMD business school. The program content is strongly focused on customer centricity, strategy execution, leadership development and, like the name implies, developing Valmet forward with colleagues from around the world. The content is delivered in many ways, in the classroom, on-the-job, through customer interaction and via coaching relationships. At 4.6 out of five, the feedback for the program is considered extremely good.

Forward Together is Valmet’s strategic leadership program. The program was designed together IMD and is tailored for Valmet. Forward Together is being run at a time when change is the norm, which makes for very interesting discussion and, at the same time, puts a little pressure on the program team to make content adjustments all the time. The goal is to use the insight of the group to develop Valmet faster and serve our customers even better moving forward,”

- Hanna Heikkilä, VP, Talent Management


Micro-experimenting, personal development and customer deep dives

The program is centered around the two in-person modules, which are held on the IMD campus and spaced roughly 3 months apart. Program participants are kept busy during the ‘down-time’ with additional learning modules focused on leadership development, micro-experimenting and customer deep dives – some of which are done in groups and some individually with support from coaches.

I really enjoyed the concept of Micro-Experiment's and continue use this in my daily work. We tend to overthink or analyze too much, instead of running a micro-experiment to test your hypothesis and gather data to make an informed decision. Even if the experiment didn't turn out as you expected, you can still take away key learnings and make knowledgeable decisions going forward. I've found running micro-experiments allows me to constantly re-assess my initial hypothesis and continue to make progress in my daily work activities,"

- Program participant Ryan Long, Director of Sales, Automation Systems North America Area


Networking and personal growth

Leadership development is a big part of the training. A considerable amount of time is spent in teams working together on a task and then breaking down the behaviors that emerged in the group. Coaches are present into facilitate the discussion, which deepens the personal development aspect of the training. The coaches are there to help identifying and facilitating discussion about leadership behaviors.

Forward together has been an amazing experience for me both learning from the trainings but also working together and listening to my senior colleagues. I think the composition of both theory and possibilities for discussions among colleagues created an open environment for deeper insights of how we can develop as a company and about myself as a leader. The training has inspired me and given me great tools to use both in my daily work but also how to work better with long term targets,” 

- Program participant Johanna Pihl, Project Manager R&D, Paper business line, Tissue business unit


Another important aspect of Valmet’s global programs are the networking opportunities they bring. Valmet’s global training programs are designed for maximum interaction, bringing people with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to learn together. Nearly every aspect of the program involves collaborating with colleagues and the working groups are mixed at various points in the program so that people get to network with as many people from across the organization as possible.

Participating in Forward Together training program was not just a learning experience. It helped me to navigate the path of excellence through various activities and the knowledge with other Valmet employees,”

- Program participant Sung il Cho, Global Manufacturing Engineering Director, Flow Control business line