SECTOR: Media and Publishing
PROJECT: Experiencing, Leading and Implementing Strategic Change
THEMES: Change Agents
AUDIENCE: Divisional Heads and their Teams
LOCATION: US, UK and Mainland Europe
Founded in 1880, our client publishes a wide range of medical and scientific publications and journals in both printed and electronic/online versions. It has a presence in 24 countries and employs 7,000 journal editors, as well as 70,000 editorial board members and 200,000 reviewers.
The Project Context
The company produces high quality publications to inform the medical profession, including doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical and nursing schools, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. It now faced the challenge of fully embracing the electronic age, necessitating significant changes in working practices and in the skill sets required to remain a continuously innovative global market leader, able to develop and apply specialist knowledge creatively and profitably. This significant shift required senior level commitment to develop the change strategy and drive it forward within each leader’s business area.
The business required support to work with the management population globally, initially in the US, UK and Europe. The key deliverables were to help to identify ‘live’ Cases for Change to support the overall global change programme, and to ensure that managers had the requisite change management skills.
As a key partner/deliverer, our perspective on change and transition drew on our experience of working with client organisations’ change and transition requirements. In this instance, our client required us to focus on a core group of 400 Leaders of Change. Follow-through activity ensured the understanding and buy-in of their direct reports. The project’s diagnostic and development phases enabled us to develop a blended model of Webinar, Workshop and Coaching support, resourced internationally.
Objectives for managers included:
- understanding the strategic impact of change
- developing emotionally intelligent responses to people issues
- recognising their responsibility to encourage their people’s commitment to change
- identifying the challenges and opportunities for leadership when delivering change
- agreeing the Action Plan to deliver the desired outcomes from business specific Cases for Change
- agreeing on follow-through support activities.
Programmes were delivered as both a strategic and an operational intervention, designed to ensure that participants gained a clear view of available change management approaches. Highly participative and interactive workshops incorporated change facilitation diagnostics and models, as well as exercises enabling participants to explore models of change theory. Participant outputs included a clear personal change action and development plan, and a greater understanding of their own leadership strengths and development needs.
The agreed approach provided our client with a valuable opportunity to assess how to pragmatically apply acknowledged best practice to ‘close to home’ change and to transition issues relevant to Managers in support of their implementation strategies and plans.
Feedback from the Leadership Team has been very positive. All participants are focused on the skills and behaviours necessary to change the culture and meet company and client expectations, and leaders now demonstrate a greater appetite for development and change. Team and Individual Coaching assignments are continuing, and ASK® has been approached to roll-out the programme in AsiaPac.
“The Anglo-Dutch business has embarked on a slow-but-steady transformation from a company associated with a hotchpotch of trade journals and events to one providing professional information services.”
“It has definitely opened some minds in terms of their reactions to change and it was great that we got to experience it as a group.”“Slowly but surely, there has been a “sea change of perception”, as one analyst called it, as the business has regained its status as a solid [organisation] to invest in.”
CLIENT: Semiconductor Manufacturer
PROJECT: The Leadership Journey
THEMES: Culture Change
AUDIENCE: Senior Managers
LOCATION: USA, The Netherlands, China
Our client is a worldwide semi-conductor manufacturer and supplier, created as a separate company by its owner in 2006. In addition to supplying semi-conductors for use in domestic appliances, vehicles and identification systems, they also manufacture and market contactless card technology used by many major transport systems.
The Project Context
The company was seeking to build an organisational development programme that had its heart in leadership development, structured around the company’s own specific values.
Our client’s specific requirement was to move the business culture – and its leaders’ behaviour – from a task focus to a task and people focus, from directing to engaging, from using capability to developing potential, and – most importantly – from managing to leading.
The behavioural change programme to deliver this objective had an in-scope audience of over 450 leaders in a number of global locations. The goal would be to establish a forward behavioural strategy that would demonstrate the link between behaviours and results, and embed the company’s values within the behaviours of its top leaders.
Supporting a change of culture from critiquing to encouraging, the programme would also need to engage the whole leadership team and improve dialogue to optimise learning. Mindful that cultural change is a long-term challenge, rigorous support of the transfer of learning back into the workplace would also be essential.
The Leadership Journey was an innovative six-month behavioural change programme comprising of four phases – Check-in, Boarding, Travelling and Landing – at the heart of which were two workshops. The process was supported throughout by 1:1 executive coaching, and implementation of learning driven through online follow-through technology.
The programme was designed to uncover participants’ current habitual leadership behaviours and the personal mindsets that underpinned them, and to explore the ways in which the business has been moulded and shaped by these personal, corporate and cultural value systems.
By demonstrating the link between behaviours and results, it enabled participants to experiment with new ways of thinking and working to enhance personal leadership skills, create clarity around the difference between management and leadership skills, and connects individual career and life stages to the flow of the organisation.
The development of Personal Development Plans, with benchmarks to evaluate progress, developed a forward ‘behavioural’ strategy that improved the dialogue between people to optimise learning and engaged, both directly and indirectly, the entire leadership team, including the CEO.
After the project was launched as a pilot, 30 cycles were run in three locations: the Netherlands, Shanghai and America.
On completing the follow-through process, 87% rated themselves ‘more effective’, while 61% said the programme had made a significant impact on the business. 97% of delegates’ learning goals were either completed or being progressed, and 80% had specific measurement processes or targets. Hard impact data supported these assessments: staff turnover – at 5% – was 75% lower than anticipated, while productivity had increased by 50%.
Feedback and Reviews
An Employee Engagement survey – conducting during subsequent restructuring after a change of ownership – showed a drop of only 2.5% against an industry benchmark of 10%, while the People Management Index continued to rise.
“Humbling, challenging, exciting, touching and hugely beneficial to my personal growth and leadership development.”
“It was really great to work in a creative and inspired team for 3 days. It was intensive, but worthwhile to invest in.”
“Exceeded my expectation – well structured, intense, challenging. Forced me to stretch and look at my performance in new ways.”
“It has been a real learning journey. I was able to understand myself better and how others perceive me.”
CLIENT: UK Bus Service Company
PROJECT: UK Bus Leadership Programme
THEMES: Culture Change
AUDIENCE: Directors and Senior Managers
Our client had acquired a number of regional businesses in the previous decade and built a UK network of 70+ bus depots, employing c. 20,000 people and turning over in excess of £1bn pa. The company successfully met profit targets by reducing costs from merged acquisitions and a relentless focus on KPI management.
The company realised that ten years of cost cutting had evolved a management culture that emphasised KPIs and micro-management but was not conducive to the required customer-focused culture. In particular, it recognised that a behaviour shift at senior and middle manager levels was required to deliver a culture of:
- building strong teams
- engaging and empowering people
- inspiring great performance
We were asked to partner with the Chief Operating Officer to design and deliver a culture change programme with the following objectives:
- to communicate the need to ‘up the game’ of local leadership to create a culture with a greater focus on customer service
- to develop a better awareness of best practice in both leadership and customer service behaviours for Bus Leaders, and close personal gaps against this new awareness
- to provide tools and techniques – through experiential learning, practice and feedback from skilled coaches – that would deliver the required behavioural changes
- to provide greater empowerment to local management teams to enable their people to bring ‘Better Journeys for Life’ into reality in their local markets.
The programme was designed for multiple learning sets of 5-7 people, each working with a coach who also provided each set member with individual telephone coaching after the workshop. In addition, a Lead Facilitator provided learning inputs during the workshops and liaises with senior sponsors, who were invited to support the programme.
The company started to see changes in its business performance within six months of the beginning of the programme. These changes included an increase in the number of depots assessed as delivering the required standard of operational performance, and an overall growth in customer numbers.
At the end of the follow through period, participants were surveyed to assess their views on the value of the programme. They reported the following average responses for the overall view of the impact on them as leaders (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being ‘excellent’):
The programme has helped me improve my effectiveness – 4.1
The programme helped me to take ownership for my own development – 4.6
CLIENT: Energy Facility
PROJECT: Leadership Coaching
THEMES: Cultural Change
AUDIENCE: Top 250 Leaders
Operating a range of facilities and services on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, our client has been building the largest concentration of nuclear expertise in Europe since the 1960s. The workforce of 10,000 includes apprentices and graduates as well as many of the world’s most experienced and highly regarded nuclear workers, meeting the organisation’s needs from conventional business functions to highly specialised decommissioning and engineering activities.
Following the introduction of key leadership behaviour expectations across operational areas, we were invited to continue this work by coaching leaders in all functional and operational areas of the business.
Having received regular reviews by the National Audit Office and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) that urged our client to embark on a significant culture change, the outcome of our coaching was to enable this change.
The focus of our coaching activity was on supporting leaders in living the values of the organisation to enhance its capability as a leading commercial and cost effective business. We worked with the organisation’s top 250 leaders across multiple sites, providing executive coaching, ‘in the moment’ feedback and coaching skills training.
The coaching was greatly sought after, enabling individuals and teams to actively apply their personal goals within the context of the organisation. There was a measurable shift to new ways of working, with leaders taking active responsibility for leading by example and role-modelling the necessary behaviours to create a high performing workforce.
Client Feedback and Reviews
Regular client discussions and reviews showed significant progress against the project objectives, with visible differences being seen within the leadership population.
As a result of our work, we were asked to attend regular executive meetings as objective observers, provide feedback to the wider organisation of emerging themes in terms of both effective and ineffective leadership behaviours and activities, and offer guidance on subsequent stages of organisational development.
Following the completion of the two year coaching contract, we were asked to support the on-going performance improvement of staff across the organisation.
In response to a survey questionnaire question, ‘In which of the following areas (if any) did you achieve positive results?’, coaches responded as follows:
- Coaching and developing others – 74%
- Effective communication – 68%
- Leading by example – 68%
“For me it was the expertise of the coach in taking the feedback from the 360 and helping me to understand it and work through to identify my own action plan.”
“I gained confidence/clarity that I am generally doing the right thing, it helped me focus on areas which will/have made a significant improvement on my work.”
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.”
Industry: Executive Government Agency
CLIENT: Criminal Justice Service
SECTOR: Central Government
PROJECT: Leaders in Transition
THEMES: Leading Change
AUDIENCE: Senior Managers
LOCATION: Several UK Locations
The agency plays a number of important functional and advisory roles within the national criminal justice system. It has existed since 1907 as a set of area based services, and was established in its current form in 2001.
The Project Context
After the agency launched its Living Leadership strategy to assist with the development of its current and future leaders and managers, the government outlined its intention to merge the service with another agency to create a new national body. As a result of the merger, both services were facing a period of considerable change and recognised that the response of senior executives and managers would play a crucial part in the successful transition to the new agency.
The agency identified a need to equip senior managers with the transformational skills and behaviours to lead people through organisational change, enabling them to take people forward into the new body while continuing to deliver effective performance against key business objectives.
There was a parallel need to develop senior managers’ personal leadership competence, enabling them to review their career goals, hopes and expectations after the transition.
We were appointed to develop and deliver Leaders in Transition, a four-phase 32 week behavioural change programme using MBTI®, 360 degree feedback, 1:1 Executive Coaching, transformational skills development, and a rigorous re-entry process to enable and improve practice and support transformational change.
- Phase 1 (Pre-event): participants completed MBTI® and 360 degree feedback questionnaires and met with their line manager to agree development priorities
- Phase 2 (Workshop): groups of 16 participants attended a high impact residential experiential learning workshop, featuring transformational business skills and a two hour 1:1 feedback session with their own Executive Coach
- Phase 3 (Re-entry): participants worked through a structured re-entry process supported by our unique ‘follow-through’ tool
- Phase 4 (360 degree feedback re-survey): participants used the Living Leaders Fit for the Future 360 degree feedback process to evaluate the extent of their behavioural change.
In parallel with the Leaders in Transition programme, we also implemented two parallel elements of the agency’s overall Living Leadership Change Programme:
- Coaching Skills programmes and Train The Trainer Workshops to create a team of skilled trainers capable of helping managers and chiefs to become enthusiastic ‘champions’ of coaching as a route to building leadership competencies
- design, delivery, analysis and facilitated feedback of a 360 degree questionnaire aligned with the Living Leadership checklist
Level 1 Evaluations on a five point scale showed participants scoring the programmes at an average of 4.4 as ‘a valuable learning experience’.
Our follow-through technology enables us to continually support and track participants’ progress against their development goals beyond the attendance of the workshops. 13 weeks after their workshops, participants were asked to rate the change in their effectiveness as a result of the programme: 84% rated themselves as ‘more effective’ and a further 8% as ‘much more effective’.
They were also asked to gauge the business impact of their achievements or improvements as a result of the programme: 46% responded ‘significant impact’ and 12% ‘very significant impact’.
“Time out to consider ‘me’ seemed extravagant but turned out to be an absolute necessity – the best two-day investment I can remember for a long time – thanks!”
“One of the best training events I have attended as there was a group activity and lots of opportunity to interact while also focusing on individual needs in 1:1 activities. Unlike other events, I was left with a real feeling of commitment to undertake the development identified with the knowledge that this will be followed up.”
“The use of a personal coach is new to me and very useful – the critical friend with no agenda other than to assist me in improving myself as a leader.”
Industry: Regional Police Authority
CLIENT: Territorial Police Force
SECTOR: Public Body
PROJECT: Leadership Academy
THEMES: Leading Change
AUDIENCE: Command Leaders
The regional authority was originally formed in 1829, covers an area of over 600 square miles with a population of over 7 million, and employs over 50,000 staff and officers.
The Project Context
With the appointment of a new Commissioner of Police, there was an understanding that the Authority’s environment and expectations – and the way in which the Authority needed to interact with the public – were changing.
The Policing Pledge commitment – a set of promises to local residents on the service that the Authority would provide – encapsulated the leadership required in order to operate in a context of rapid changes to both the culture and operating scenarios.
We were appointed as a key partner deliverer to offer a different perspective on change and transition, based on our experience of working with client organisations worldwide.
The objectives for our work with Authority Command Leaders were to deliver:
- recognition of their responsibility as leaders to encourage the commitment of their people to organisational change
- recognition of the strategic impact of change
- development of emotionally intelligent responses to people issues
- recognition of the challenges and opportunities for leadership when delivering change
- identification of opportunities for delegation within their own team.
The Leading Change workshop programme was both a strategic and an operational intervention, designed to ensure that participants gained a clear view of the approaches available to them in managing change at a senior level.
Highly participative and interactive event with scope for lively discussion, the workshops incorporated facilitating change diagnostics and exercises that enabled participants to explore models of change theory – drawing on our experience of operating in a change arena with a range of global organisations. Command Leaders also had a valuable opportunity to assess how to pragmatically apply the best of the best practice to ‘close to home’ change and to transition issues relevant to them in the context of implementing the Policing Pledge.
At the end of the workshop, participants had a clear personal action and development plan, and also a greater understanding of their own leadership strengths and development needs. They also gained an enhanced recognition of the differences between individuals and how these can be used for mutual benefit.
Rigorous post-event evaluation clearly confirmed the programme’s value in enabling its participants to agree and design implementation of the Policing Pledge in ways that were genuinely workable and measurable in local environments.
96% of participants rated themselves as either more or much more effective as a result of the programme, and 78% felt the business impact of their achievements and improvements would be significant or very significant.
“I think we all learned about ourselves as leaders of change.”
“The real value was in being able to take the theoretical models and assessing their fit within our own Command structure.”
“The extent of the deliverer’s knowledge and experience of managing change was staggering. They were able to put complex theories across in a very useful and ‘user friendly’ way.”