CLIENT: National Audit Office
SECTOR: Independent Parliamentary Body
PROJECT: The Direct Programme
THEMES: Talent Assesment
AUDIENCE: Audit Managers
Our client has existed in its present form since 1983, auditing the accounts of government departments and agencies (as well as other public bodies) and reporting to Parliament on these bodies’ efficient and effective use of public money.
The Project Context
The project’s strategic aim was to enable staff to develop and apply their knowledge more effectively, increasing their influence so that clients would take action on raised issues. This would require significant development and a more consultative approach, and more movement in and out of senior posts to pave the way for new behaviours.
While a development programme for qualified auditors (Audit Principals) had been in existence since 2005, the organisation wanted to launch a development programme for Audit Managers with the potential to progress to Director in its Financial Audit and Value for Money specialisms. The programme’s aims were to:
- identify a higher quality pool of candidates for promotion to Director
- capture better data on their skills and competencies
- equip them to meet the changing requirements of the Director role
- present clear messages to candidates unlikely to progress further, helping to ‘refresh’ the succession pool
- enhance succession arrangements, clarifying roles and required skills, knowledge and experience
We designed and delivered a suite of leadership programmes for new leaders, leaders of teams and leaders of leaders, aimed at raising awareness and increasing skills in the management and leadership of people and performance.
We partnered with the Talent and Leadership Development team to design and deliver a comprehensive assessment and development programme that included the following key elements:
- Attracting the right people – an application process to ensure all potential candidates had the chance to showcase their abilities, including a bespoke emotional intelligence 360 degree feedback questionnaire, a written exercise and submission of a CV
- Assessing applicants’ potential – shortlisted applicants were assessed further through an interview-based 360 degree feedback process and a comprehensive assessment centre, including psychometrics, a filmed group activity and a presentation. Each candidate received feedback, coaching and interview with an Occupational Psychologist
- Select the right people – candidates were ranked according to performance and the most successful were accepted onto the Direct Programme
- The Direct Programme – designed to meet both individual and collective development needs, each candidate identifies specific areas of strength and development (through coaching, action learning sets and on-the-job experience), with common areas supported by masterclasses
- Promotion – participants’ ongoing performance was reviewed to determine suitability for promotion into available posts.
All participants are highly focused on the skills and behaviours necessary to change the culture, with unsuccessful managers seeking additional coaching support. We have also been selected to provide the Future Leaders programme for Junior Managers.
“I feel confident that I have selected the right behavioural goals. My feedback and personal reflection on my experience suggests that strengthening these specific behaviours would enhance my performance as an NAO Director.”
“My experience as a Director has changed the way I work – I am now comfortable lifting myself out of the detail where appropriate, and have developed strengths in identifying the bigger picture and shaping work.”
CLIENT: Major Investment Managers
PROJECT: Management Development Programme
THEMES: Leading Performance
AUDIENCE: Senior Leaders
LOCATION: Several UK Locations
Our client is one of the world’s largest independent investment management organisations. With over 5,000 employees in 55 offices worldwide, the company has a significant presence in the institutional and retail markets across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The Project Context
Much of the company’s growth has been achieved through the acquisition of a number of small to medium independent companies. A need was identified to bring the resulting disparate group of companies together into a cohesive whole to create a company with a shared vision, culture and leadership style.
Our client sought to implement a global leadership programme for its senior leaders to establish shared standards and common views on leadership, and to recognise the talent in its senior management cadre.
The programme also needed to help the company retain high achievers and build a talent pool from which its next generation of leaders could be selected.
For its participants, the Management Development Programme needed to:
- enhance their awareness of their personal leadership strengths and development needs
- develop their understanding of the impact of their leadership style
- increase their understanding of other people’s perspectives, expectations and needs
- help them to improve the performance of others
- identify key personal development goals whose achievement would impact on organisational performance.
Our implemented design for the Management Development Programme was a four phase, 30 week behavioural change programme using MBTI®, 360 degree feedback, FIRO-B®, transformational skills development and a rigorous re-entry process using our ground-breaking ‘follow-through’ technology to improve practice and support transformational change.
- Phase 1 (Pre-event): participants completed MBTI®, FIRO-B® and 360 degree feedback questionnaires and meet with their line managers to agree development priorities
- Phase 2 (Workshop): a high impact experiential learning residential workshop, drawing on diagnostic tools previously completed and providing opportunity for
- facilitated practice of key skills
- Phase 3 (Re-entry): participants worked through a structured re-entry process supported by our unique ‘follow-through’ tool and on-line coaching
- Phase 4 (360 degree feedback re-survey): participants re-surveyed their 360 degree feedback process to evaluate the extent of behavioural change.
The programme used our unique ‘follow-through’ technology to monitor progress and measure results. At the end of the programme, participants were asked to rate their change in leadership effectiveness: 91% considered themselves ‘more effective’ and the remaining 9% rated their performance as ‘much more effective’. In terms of business impact, 96% of participants said that – as a result of their efforts following the programme – there had been ‘some’ or ‘significant’ impact on their business.
Six months after the workshop, participants also repeated the initial 360 degree feedback survey and assessed five of the reviewed six leadership capability areas as having improved.
“I felt the various tools providing different perspectives on how I behaved were more interesting than a single approach – it provided a more coherent and rounded view of me.”
“… the programme gave me confidence to take actual action to improve my leadership throughout the daily job. Follow-through was also helpful for me to carry on what I should do consistently.”
“The value of focusing on the people is as important as getting the task at hand completed. Taking more time and using more patience to make others comfortable with decisions has great long term benefits.”
“All of this work is challenging and time consuming but hugely rewarding. I have come to realize that there are many important ways to add value to our organization, not just by completing important project initiatives.”
Industry: Government Agency
CLIENT: Executive Government Agency
SECTOR: Government Department
PROJECT: Leadership Development Programme
THEMES: Culture Change
AUDIENCE: Senior Managers (Grade 6 and 7)
Formed as a result of a Cabinet Office report, our client organisation came into being in 2008 as a result of the merger of the roles of an existing agency with two functions from a separate government agency (whose work continued). The agency has a total staff of 25,000 people.
The Project Context
In the context of a newly formed organisation that incorporated existing functions from another public sector agency, the Leadership Programme was a key component in delivering the new organisation’s leadership and management development strategy. It focused on developing the leadership capability of Senior Civil Servants in order to better deliver the agency’s business objectives.
The Leadership Development Programme needed to create a greater sense of accountability among senior managers, build on their capabilities and experience, and focus on the development of critical leadership skills and behaviours, including:
- self-awareness and personal effectiveness
- taking responsibility and carrying risk
- leading in transition and leading change
- strategic thinking – and making the space for it
- innovation and creativity
- engaging teams and partners
- communicating better with teams, customers and stakeholders, the public, Ministers, Parliament and the media.
The overall Leadership Programme was a 10 month development journey, to which participants dedicated an average of 2 days each month.
In addition to workshops, personal Breakthrough Challenge projects and Board Level presentation, the programme included 1:1 coaching, the use of MBTI® and FIRO-B®, and a bespoke 360 degree instrument around the agency’s Leadership Behaviours conducted both before and after the programme.
Team Coaching was provided via Action Learning Sets, each of which worked on a group project to influence key stakeholders and present recommendations for a strategic change across the whole organisation.
The effects of improved leadership saw productivity increase by 35% in some areas, with operational teams reaching their targets. This was achieved through introducing new processes, greater team cohesion, use of coaching techniques to empower staff and communicating a shared vision.
New recruitment processes resulted in a reduction in recruitment turn around times and improved capability planning provided consequent savings in staff costs. Three staff successfully applied for new Grade 6 posts within the organisation. One staff member directly attributed the Springboard Leadership Programme to his development of the skills and self confidence he required to progress.
“Very helpful to step back from everyday tasks to analyse performance/developmental areas.”
“The most beneficial management programme against all others I’ve attended; I was able to use the elements immediately in the workplace which supported me with the changes I was experiencing.”
“I have really grown in confidence; this has been demonstrated in meetings and was shown on my 360 by my peers and direct reports.”
“A fantastic eight months during the most challenging months of my working life. I feel happier to come to work now.”
CLIENT: International Construction and Consultancy Company
PROJECT: Engaging Leadership
THEMES: Leadership Development
AUDIENCE: Senior, Middle and First Line Managers
Our client is an international consultancy and construction company that employs over 3,000 people across 65 countries, with a turnover of £850m. Its core business activities include programme and project management, cost consultancy, construction delivery and facilities management.
A 2010 Employee Engagement Survey, although positive in many respects, showed room for improvement in the way that individuals were motivated, engaged and led by their managers.
We designed and delivered a suite of three leadership programmes aimed at raising awareness and increasing skills in the management and leadership of people and performance. The programmes were aimed at new leaders, leaders of teams and leaders of leaders.
Specific activities to improve engagement included regular 1:1 meetings, setting clear expectations, showing an interest in development and career aspirations, encouraging new ideas and treating people as individuals.
The programmes raised awareness of the difference between managing and leading, of diversity in work styles and preferences, and of leadership impact, and provided leaders with practical tools to use in setting objectives, coaching, addressing performance gaps and influencing stakeholders.
83 leaders participated in the first year. In the post-programme follow-up, 94% assessed the programme as having a positive impact on their leadership performance. Improvements in giving feedback, delegation, coaching, frequency and quality of communication and career development were highlighted.
“There has been a change in the way I now manage individuals. The programme allowed me to develop tools that can be applied to different people and different scenarios. I learnt that it’s the little gestures and feedback that make the difference.”
“Management of my own workload through empowering those around me. It seems I was underutilising them and was not fully aware of or realising their potential. I now encourage others to take ownership of specific tasks which allows me to take ownership of other things.”
“The tools and techniques introduced on the programme have been very useful, but these are not necessarily in day to day use, so the most useful aspect of the programme has been the increased awareness of how my attitude and behaviour can impact on the people around me. I feel that I have become more professional in the way I do my job – this can only be positive for the business.”
Industry: Construction Materials
CLIENT: Major Construction Materials Company
PROJECT: The Effective Leader – Leading Through Influence
THEMES: Leadership Development
AUDIENCE: Senior Managers
LOCATION: UK and Northern Europe
Our client is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of building and high-performance materials, providing solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection. In operation for over 350 years, the company is represented in 66 countries and employs 180,000 people worldwide.
After successfully delivering a leadership programme for regional and country managers within transversal or line management positions across Northern Europe for nine years, we were commissioned by our client to transform the programme in response to their request for a more innovative, dynamic and engaging approach to learning, integrating digital content delivery and online discussion forums, and using a ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ approach. In parallel, we were asked by the regional HR team to recognise that there had been a fundamental shift in business leaders’ development needs, corresponding to the complexities associated with influencing and collaborating in culturally diverse virtual and remote teams within a matrix organisation.
[A more detailed description of our programme design and solution is provided in the PDF version of this Case Study]
We worked closely with the Northern European Regional HR Team to design and deliver a 16-week blended learning leadership development journey – Leading through Influence – that addresses how to be influential within a matrix organization when one may have no line management power nor physical presence. The pilot programme consisted of the following phases:
Line Manager and Learner Engagement
To ensure Line Managers were fully involved and supportive, they were expected to attend a 45-minute webinar, which introduced the programme objectives and explained their role in supporting the development of their reports. They were also provided with templates to use when agreeing learning objectives with and coaching their learners.
Learners were fully briefed on the programme through an engaging online video session, designed and delivered by our programme facilitators.
Weeks 1 – 7: Online learning
Learners completed seven weeks of online learning using the CrossKnowledge interactive digital learning platform, spending approximately 90 minutes a week completing activities on topics linked to the programme’s behavioural objectives. Learners also used a CrossKnowledge online discussion forum, led by our facilitator, to interact with their peers throughout the online learning journey In Week 1, they also completed a customised 360 degree feedback questionnaire, and subsequently received 1.5 hours of facilitated feedback with an ASK facilitator. At the end of this phase and before the Workshop, each learner had a coaching conversation with their Line Manager, reviewing their Personal Development Plan in the light of their online learning and 360 degree feedback.
Week 8: Experiential Workshop
The 3-day workshop gave learners an opportunity to practise the skills acquired from the online learning. Working together face-to-face, learners were encouraged to share their knowledge, skills and experience, and received rich feedback on their performance. To make the workshop an interactive and enjoyable experience, learners were offered collaborative recreational activities to enable them to engage with each other outside the learning sessions. As a result, learners felt a greater connection to their colleagues and felt more confident to interact virtually during the subsequent programme phases. The workshop culminated in an opportunity for learners to reflect on their learning, review their Personal Development Plan and refine their individual learning priorities.
Weeks 9 – 15: Online collaboration and support
Learners then undertook seven weeks of workplace-based informal learning, using the online CrossKnowledge forum to share and discuss knowledge, tools, experiences and challenges. An ASK facilitator moderated the forum to continue the learning momentum, support learners in practising and embedding skills, and encourage social learning.
Week 16: Virtual Action Learning Sets and Line Manager Meeting
In the final week of the programme, facilitated Virtual Action Learning Sets enabled learners to present their progress to their peers and facilitators and receive rich feedback on their performance. Learners were subsequently required to discuss their progress with their Line Manager, providing evidence for their key accomplishments and identifying key development milestones they had reached. On completion of the programme, each learner received recognition for their commitment to the programme and their success towards their learning goals.
- 100% of learners agreed that the workshop enabled them to develop their skills to lead through influence
- 91% of learners rated the programme as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, further agreeing that they would strongly recommend the programme to colleagues
“Excellent course and very professional. The openness on Day One created a very good bond with the teams. The interaction during Influencing styles descriptions was enjoyable and made you realise how the different styles work.”