Two years ago I got the opportunity to be integrated as a mentor into the “Metro Potentials Programme”. Lenka Miljkovic was selected as a potential future leader for our company and some preparation was necessary to get her ready for her new role and responsibilities.

This program has a 360-degree approach that gives mentees a chance to open new doors, make new connections and get the benefits of shared experience. Apart from broadening their horizons, participants have the opportunity to learn more about leadership by connecting with senior management, understand the business better by working closely with managerial teams, and learn how to behave in different situations by being exposed to real business situations. Equally important, the programme gives mentors the chance to work on themselves, and that is how we all grow as a METRO team.

From a business’ perspective, the biggest loss is when we miss the chance to support and empower colleagues who strive to learn, and who are willing to give an extra effort. That is why I consider this programme priceless because it gives the opportunity to do what is best for METRO! We recognize young and talented professionals and give them the chance to grow themselves, to understand and work on development areas and enhance their strengths.

When I decided to be a part of the program as Lenka’s mentor, I knew what was expected from me - to contribute to the development of a young future leader, by opening myself to new ways of thinking and to understanding  the mindset of the new generations. With more than 20 years of METRO experience, I clearly understand that the world is changing. We need to be  more flexible, more dependent on technology and the younger generations have new views and a different understanding of the business. So, yes, I had a lot to share, but I was open to listening too!  And I was lucky enough to work with Lenka who really helped me!

Of course, we both understood this process as a long-term investment and hard work, so we devoted a lot of time in deep dive understanding of our wholesale business. We can agree that our business is complex and that it takes time to understand the processes, principles, and mechanism, but they can be fully understood only if supported by real situations. So, in those 2 years, we both learnt a lot and gained a new experience.

At the end of the project it was very rewarding to see Lenka giving an outstanding presentation in front of our top management and seeing her as a real future leader. And it was a day when I saw myself as someone who just 2 years ago was not fully aware of many interesting things!

Based on this extraordinary experience, I would encourage younger future potentials to apply for the programme, because it is a catalyzer for personal development. Yes, it is an intensive demanding life experience but it is an investment for professional, but also your personal future.

If you decide to apply, make sure that you have basic knowledge about our business and be open to change, confront yourself with your weaknesses and work on yourself in a multi-cultural environment.

I am sure that you will only benefit from this programme, if you are willing to be:

•       Open minded!
•       Hungry for feedback!
•       Put yourself on a permanent learning curve!
•       Do not pretend!
•       Stay tuned!
•       Be active in your role!
•       Remain authentic in the way you interact with others
•       Accept mistakes as an ingredient for further success! (design / try / measure / adopt or give up!)

Show your potential and good luck!

Jerome Briens,
Commercial Director - METRO Cash & Carry Serbia

Jerome Briens, Commercial Director METRO Cash & Carry Serbia

Jerome Briens (left) and Lenka Miljkovic (right)