Horizon talents cross finish line

From the online celebration

As you know, DFDS created the Horizon Programme in 2015 to develop and retain our future leaders and business critical talents. And now, we can congratulatHorizon Team 3 on their graduation last week.

It was no small accomplishment as Covid-19 made it even more challenging than it already was.

It started two years ago when 45 candidates were nominated by their managersAfter a very intense Assessment Centre test, including interviews with the members of the Executive Management Team, personality tests, IQ tests, individual tasksmany group tasks and very little sleep (see a video summary below), 24 talented candidates from all parts of DFDS were selected for the programme and an unforgettable training journey.

The article continues below the video.

After adjustments along the way, among others for maternity leave, 21 happy (and tired) graduates crossed the finish line last week.

Not a free ride 

The programme runs for 15 months, with three classroom modules of three or four days each, usually taking place close to a DFDS location. 

It may sound glamourous, but it is hard work.

Before and after each classroom module, participants are expected to complete pre-study, project work, individual or group reflection reports, and pass knowledge tests. They are expected to invest at least 10-15% extra time on top of normal work hours throughout the 15 months.

Participants learn from internal and external keynote speakers and facilitators, and go through various intellectual, emotional and physical challenges – and work in groups to solve real business issues relevant to the success of DFDS and present their results to the stakeholders. 

The three modules are organised around three focus areas: self-development, business strategy, collaboration. 

Throughout the programme participants are paired with a buddy to increase learning and support and receive individual feedback and support dedicated colleague in Training & Development, as well as regular sessions with an external, certified coach.

For 12 months following the programme, they get an internal DFDS mentor to guide and support them through their further development.

Covid-19 disruption 

At Klithuset participants learned about intrinsic motivation, setting goals, cross-cultural differences, change management and presentation skills. They gave and received feedback to each other, were pushed out of their comfort zone and – literally – walked on fire.


Horizon team 3 at Klithuset in June 2019

In Istanbul they learned about business strategy through lectures and games. Following six weeks of research, they made final presentationto Peder Gellert, Lars Hoffmann, Kemal Bozkurt, Fuat Pamukçu and Cenk Altun about BU Med’s intermodal strategy, pricing strategy, and potential new routes strategy. Peder says: “I was really impressed by the high quality of their analysis and recommendations, which helped the BU Med management in our reflections and decisions“.


Horizon team 3 on board Ephesus Seaways in Istanbul in November 2019

Due to Covid-19, the last module that was planned for late April on Pearl Seaways, had to be replaced by e-learninglive sessions in Q4 on topics like emotional intelligence, crucial conversations and preparing for the mentoring process.

Project work useful for DFDS 

Participants resumed their project work in September and on 17 and 19 November made their final online presentations to the EMT on business relevant topicselected by the People DivisionTalent Mindset, Integration after Acquisition, Workforce MobilityOnboarding and Collaboration across DFDS.

Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel supported each group with a sparring session at the beginning of their research and a debrief after their final presentation. She says “Congratulations to all graduates. I was very impressed by your engagement, creativity and the quality of your projects that gave us a lot of data and recommendations that we can use to improve some of our work in the People Division. You are role models in challenging yourselves and being active in your own learning. I hope you will continue this and encourage others to do so as well.” 

Torben Carlsen adds: “have been blown away by the quality of your work even under sometimes very difficult conditions. You have clearly shown what diverse teams with effective collaboration can deliverI hope you will continue to be curious, open-minded and dare stepping into the unknown. Congratulations to all graduates and a big thank you to the Training & Development team for running very professional programme and for caring. Thank you also to the mentors for dedicating their time and attention to this.” 

See the graduates of Horizon Team 3.

The mentors: Allan Bell, Anders Refsgaard, Eddie Green, Emma Leam, Fuat Pamucku, Jacob Andersen, Jesper Hartvig Nielsen, Jonas Nazarovas, Karolina Landin, Kasper Moos, Kasper Damgaard, Kim Heiberg, Lars Hoffmann, Henrik Tidblad, Pernille Dyrmose, Sarah Holloway, Sean Potter and Valdemar Warburg.

Are you next on the Horizon?

The next nomination process will be launched in the second quarter of 2021. Read more here.

December 11, 2020