Our client is a 1500 strong construction supplies business with six locations across the UK, and a subsidiary of a 225,000-strong global conglomerate. The company held a Leadership Conference to communicate the strategy for the business and to identify ways to overcome the identified barriers to achieving this vision.
As a result, a methodology for co-ordinating the actions and projects designed to achieve the vision was introduced to the Leadership Group, and subsequently honed and driven through a series of events over the next two years. As part of the roll-out, two key areas were identified in terms of Leadership Group behaviours:
- Silo Mentality – many leaders were focused too strongly on their immediate team and responsibilities, paying insufficient attention to their wider organisational leadership role. Narrowly focused reward mechanisms re-enforced this behaviour
- Leadership Style – too great an emphasis was being placed on a ‘command and control’ style at the expense of engagement, communication and coaching
To address these issues, ASK provided two integrated solutions:
Firstly, we worked closely with the client to establish Coaching Networks, set up across geographical and functional lines to work on the behaviours and skills required for success and for an improved leadership style. This process began with the Executive Team, and was then cascaded out to the rest of the 40 strong Leadership Group.
Quarterly one-day Coaching Network events, combining input from an ASK facilitator with an Action Learning Set approach to working on key organisational issues/projects, are structured on the following basis:
- Working with the group’s individual and collective agendas on the issues raised by leadership and the vision
- Facilitated input sessions and practical exercises from a menu of topics including: coaching, high performing teams, influencing, leadership and performance management
- Use of psychometrics and 360 degree feedback to generate momentum behind self-awareness in the context of working together in these groups/teams
The HR Director and ASK Account Director annually agree key themes and messages for the groups, which then prioritise their time to achieve improved performance.
Secondly, where additional individual Executive Coaching was seen to be required, we provided independent coaches for the following audiences:
- Board Appointees, to provide support members of the Leadership Group in their transition to one joining the Executive Team
- Existing Board members who were technically very capable without being fully effective in leading others to improve the performance of their division
- Key Talents in the Leadership Group who had been identified in the succession plan and were looking to implement their career development plan
- New external recruits into the Leadership Group to help them to adapt to a new culture and maximise their impact in the first 100 days in the business
- Members of the Leadership Group with functional roles (eg HR, Finance etc) seeking to enhance and extend their influence across the organisation
Evaluation and Results
The results of the Employee Survey (the first for some years) were used to focus the Coaching Networks on identified areas of improvement. This Survey was repeated the following year with strong improvements across the board, and particularly in Overall Satisfaction and Customer Focus. Given the context of a ‘credit crunch market’ and reductions in the workforce this was seen as a major success.
Participant ratings (on a scale of 0 – 5) from the coaching cohorts clearly showed that, in their opinions, the events ‘clarified my role as a leader in actively re-enforcing the right behaviours for delivery of higher performance of across the business (4.5) and ‘helped me to be aware of my influence and impact on others as a leader’ (4.3).
“I really enjoyed role-playing on coaching styles and then discussing real life issues to help others.”
“This one day event took us from complete confusion to clarity over the mentor role.”
“Good focus and open atmosphere.”