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
ASK was 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.
Evaluation and Results
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