How can we empower our staff to enhance their Leadership and Management capabilities in order to achieve our organization’s learning and development goals? In 2020 our Leadership and Management team, working in the Organizational Development Section of the UN Secretariat, embarked on a journey to find a learning programme that would be valuable to all UN Secretariat staff and help us strengthen our organizational learning culture.  

Choosing the right programme  

With the UN Secretary-General leading efforts to create a culture that is focused on results, innovation and risk management, we needed to find a programme that would build and sustain leadership and managerial capacity among senior, middle and junior managers, in line with the United Nations System Leadership Framework, which calls all UN personnel to lead regardless of their level, duties or location.  

Ticking all the main boxes, the Extended E-Certificate on Leadership and Management programme on the UNSSC’s Blue Line platform stood out to us as the most effective choiceIn addition to its content being specifically tailored to the realities of the UN, the Blue Line provided us with the option to set up a corporate subscription that would allow all UN Secretariat staff free access to the platform along with the learning material and tools available on it.  

Blue Line and our leadership development strategy 

An important step in encouraging our staff to use the platform was linking it to our overall leadership development strategy. To achieve this, we used Blue Line to complement our UN Leadership and Management Journey, which aims to build leadership competencies progressively in scope and complexity, adapting to the increased responsibilities leaders take on as they transition from young talent to senior leadership roles in the organization. As part of the milestones represented by formal training initiatives at each step of this journey, we managed to include many Blue Line modules and even worked with the UNSSC team on the design of a curated learning path for our First Reporting Officers (FROs), which has been incredibly well received.

Learner-centred approaches: a key success factor 

The success of any learning initiative lies in curating relevant content and programmes to meet specific individual needs. This is where Blue Line has really been instrumental. Staff have shown significant appreciation for the high-quality content on the platform, including the 40+ curated online modules on leadership, management, innovation and sustainable development, which have proven to be beneficial for personnel at any stage of their leadership journey, whether they are just starting out or simply want to refresh their knowledge and hone their skills to mastery. Staff have also gained from the tremendous flexibility of the platform, which allows them to customize a learning path by choosing modules that are relevant to their current jobs, needs and ambitions.  

Further, Blue Line has provided room for making learning a habit, notably enabling staff to continue learning at their own pace, from anywhere in the world with the support of dedicated e-learning tools and peer-to-peer exchanges with fellow UN colleagues. This has given us two critical wins: 1) It has helped us achieve our objective of extending leadership learning to all UN Secretariat colleagues 2) It has supported us in promoting a leadership culture aligned with the UN System Leadership Framework. 

With Blue Line constantly striving to innovate and make learning more accessible throughout the UN, we are certain that it will create a real opportunity for growth and transformation. For this reason, we continuously encourage colleagues to explore the wide range of tools and modules on the platform, to upskill and prepare to tackle the challenges that they face in their day-to-day work. 

Moving forward 

As we all work towards supporting leaders and managers to adjust to changing realities – our Leadership and Management team have a number of Blue Line related initiatives geared towards promoting a responsive, results-oriented culture in the UN Secretariat. We are confident that the platform will enable us to achieve this by creating a learning space for staff members who are driving their leadership development journeys to ensure continuous learning, high performance, creativity, and leadership excellence. 

About Stories from the Line

Stories from the Line is a blog series created with the intent to share individual and organizational stories about learning experiences on the UNSSC's Blue Line platform.