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.”