The Department was formed in 2005 following the merger of two previous Departments. It is one of the largest central government departments, with offices across the UK and a presence at every major port and airport. It plays a vital role in society and touches the daily lives of all of us, both as individuals and as businesses.
Many inappropriate habits were in evidence within the Department:
- not putting low appraisal ratings on annual reviews because it would impact negatively on careers
- tolerating ‘reasonable excuses’ from individuals for continued under performance
- not taking the time to clearly define expectations
- not accepting that performance management is a – if not the – critical role of senior leaders.
We understand that high performance cultures cannot be achieved without the support and active engagement of senior management. We therefore met with the Department Chairman to discuss his definition of, and personal commitment to, a high performance culture. We discussed the implications of what that meant and what it would require of him. He confirmed he was prepared to make that personal commitment.
A subsequent meeting was then held with the Executive Committee to express our belief and recommend that they had to role model what was required. This would mean that they needed to behave differently as individuals and manage their line reports appropriately. They agreed and committed to the process.
Having engaged the support of senior management, we ran a half-day event for the top 46 leaders within the Department to highlight the potential impact of a high performance culture and gain their unanimous agreement to do things differently in the future.
To embed the importance of commitment to behavioural change, we then ran a series of intensive two-day skills development workshops.
The Senior Civil Servants who attended left with a clear understanding of the behaviours that were required from them as individuals to create a high performance culture. More specifically, each manager committed to making two or three key changes.
We then managed and monitored their implementation of these goals through our unique follow-through and learning application support software.
Our follow-through technology enabled 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: 76% rated themselves as ‘more effective’.
They were also invited to gauge the business impact of their achievements or improvements as a result of the programme: 44% said ‘some impact’, 44% ‘significant impact’ and 11% ‘very significant impact’.
“This was a valuable event – new material for me, interestingly presented.”
“The role play was useful and the members of the group were supportive and good fun to be with.”