“Become what you are!”

Alan Duke (Orcet, France)
Daniel Boulanger (Clermont‐Ferrand, France)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 28 September 2012



This article's aim is to demonstrate the pertinence and success of Michelin's worldwide talent and career management model, the purpose of which is to allow all employees to realise their full potential, or “become what they are”.


The article is an inside account of principles, career management methods, development programmes and measurement tools by two former international career managers with Michelin – one English, one French – responsible for policy design and application, career development for senior management, and identification and development of tomorrow's leaders worldwide. A comparative table demonstrates the stark differences between a “become what you are” and a “do what you know” approach.


In a corporate culture based on respect for people, successful development of employee potential requires a three‐way partnership between employee, line manager and an independent career manager who is ultimately responsible for appointments. Managers do not own their people and individual development takes precedence over short‐term operational needs. The model results in cohesiveness, loyalty and business success.

Research implications/limitations

This is a case study of one career management model as related by two seasoned professionals responsible for making it work worldwide.

Practical implications

The model can be applied in any national culture and across organisational barriers or “silos”. It is transferable wholly or partially to other organisations, both private and public.

Social implications

The result is an improved working atmosphere where employees are generally content to get on with the job and let someone else, calmly and impartially, plan their futures. This person is known, is independent from line management, and has the authority to act.


This is not a new theory, but a view from within of a highly successful career management model that has stood the test of time and can be applied universally.



Duke, A. and Boulanger, D. (2012), "“Become what you are!”", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 44 No. 7, pp. 416-423. https://doi.org/10.1108/00197851211268009

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