Nobody needs to be reminded that the world is much different than it was merely 12 months ago. At Mattel Inc., the impact has been to focus on "deliver" - our watchword for the year - and that means deliver in support of key goals and metrics. There are many significant new cost reduction programs at Mattel, but the core strategies remain the same.
One of the core corporate strategies is "develop people." In 2009, there has been a change in priorities at Mattel, with more emphasis placed on individual development, functional areas with direct product impact, and those who can deliver more.
Staffing and succession planning reviews are an institution at Mattel. Reviews are conducted across the globe from the individual contributor level up to the CEO. With the "deliver" theme, the focus of the reviews is on the unique placement and developmental actions that can be committed to by senior management for the company's high-potential employees, not just on group training experiences. The Leadership Development Center, the corporate university based at Mattel's headquarters in El Segundo, California, continues to conduct value-added group training programs worldwide.
An example of this is the product design function, which was singled out in 2009 as a program that brought together senior people in the design, engineering, and marketing functions for a week of presentations and experiences on innovation. Also, the Mattel Brands group will be the focus of a talent review looking across brand areas, such as Hot Wheels, Barbie, and games. The programs important to other functions will also continue in 2009.
A LEADER (leadership, engagement, assessment, development, execution, and results) program of business simulation and individual feedback for employees of significant capability was funded to increase short-term skills and develop bench strength for the future. This program brings together key leadership that enables people to connect, engage, and learn how to be smarter about running the business and about their own leadership strengths and opportunities.
Another development effort we have launched in these tough economic times is a program called TOP CAP. TOP stands for Talent Optimizing Potential and CAP stands for our annual Career Action Planning process. The goal for this new program is to optimize existing development tools and programs by applying them on an individual basis in a more tailored and focused way to select groups of high-potential director-level talent - those who can deliver more.
Although some initiatives were delayed in 2009, the resources for developing people were not appreciably reduced. Many companies would have eliminated these experiences in difficult economic times. However, Mattel believes in investing in innovation today for new products tomorrow, and in focusing on its people - developing processes and systems that allow those who deliver products to reach their potential.