Our client was created in 2001 following the merger of a number of Departments and Agencies, with the objective of providing a single continuum of services to the public during their working lives and subsequent retirement. Following initial integration, the organisation’s Executive Committee identified a need to adopt a common set of values, and a consistent set of leadership behaviours to support them.
A Leadership Development programme was required for all Senior Managers in the organisation and its agencies (including Executive Committee members), to help them lead the necessary organisational culture change to realise the values and achieve the business objectives. We were commissioned to design and deliver an effective Leadership Development programme for 240 Senior Civil Service (SCS) members involved.
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.
In concert with a project steering group drawn from within the Department, we designed a six month programme of activities called ‘Leading the Vision’. The programme featured a two-day residential event, a ‘back to the shop-floor’ experience and six months of Executive Coaching.
The residential event comprised practical activities designed to raise awareness of personal leadership style and featured a two hour developmental session with an Executive Coach, leading to the creation of a personal development action plan. The ‘Customer Experience’ enabled senior staff from both policy and operational roles to spend five days working with customers in a ‘hands-on’ capacity. To complete the package, each participant was given a budget of six hours of coaching with their Executive Coach.
Participants have included the whole of the Top and Senior Management Teams (including the Permanent Secretary), all Executive Committee members and all the other SCS members of the Department.
Evaluation and Results
Post event evaluation questionnaires showed the following responses:
- Programme meets or exceeds personal expectations and development needs – 97%
- Uptake of subsequent Executive Coaching Sessions – 98%
- Substantial increase in personal awareness of impact on others – 94%
- Now have clear plan to develop personal behaviours to support values – 95%
- Relevance and value of one to one feedback and coaching received – 97%
- Relevance and value of the skills practice content – 94%
- Excellent networking opportunity and wider understanding of Departmental business – 91%
Rank order of value of Programme elements (top 5):
- One-to-one Feedback and Executive Coaching
- ‘Leading performance’ skills practice
- Comprehensive programme design and content
- High quality of Tutors and Coaches
- Quality of support material
“Best personal development event I have attended”– HR Director
“Most worthwhile development experience of my career” – DG
“I now understand myself and what I need to do to improve” – Head of Division
“I am now determined to live the organisation’s values and understand how to” – Department Head