Management Development in Hungary

GlobeIn March, our Hungarian partner Magda Csath launched a radical new development programme for the Raba Company. The company is a 99 year-old business making trucks, motors, axles and other vehicle components. It is having to deal with the privatisation policies in Hungary as well as a highly competitive, global market within which it has to operate. This led the company to identify the need to develop it’s senior managers to be able to cope in this new world.

Ian Cunningham worked with Magda Csath to design a programme which won a highly competitive tender process. The programme demands that managers work on real practical job issues rather than being taught in a classroom. Ian went over to Hungary in March to assist the ‘group facilitators’ to learn their new non-teaching role. (The facilitators are either internal Raba personnel and training people or external consultants.)

The first problem to face was that there is no convenient word in Hungarian to describe the new role. Using ‘set’ and ‘set adviser’ would have been confusing. In the end the preferred option was that the word ‘coach’ would be used during their development workshop, but in the actual programme they would just describe their role to participants without trying to find an apt Hungarian word.

The second problem is linked to the first. This kind of approach is totally new in Hungary. It challenges all sorts of assumptions about learning and development. So the ‘coaches’ had quite a task in getting over to managers what this programme is about. However, the approach does seem to be working. It is challenging the participants to think differently, which is the major need in Hungary. (They already have a well-educated work force, in terms of traditional knowledge and skills.)