We designed and delivered a bespoke management development programme for our client, a specialist within the motor finance industry which provides a range of finance and insurance products for new and used vehicles.
Our client’s Board and Leadership Team were absolutely clear that the way they will achieve their vision and deliver their strategy is through the development and growth of their people – specifically their managers. With this in mind, over the past three years, they have partnered with us to develop their managers in a way that enables them to lead their teams more effectively and to deliver improved team and organisational performance.
Many of the managers had “been there and done it,” so we were clear that this programme had to feel and be different to anything they had experienced before. We started by sending a personalised invite to the programme from the MD to each individual’s home address. This explained ‘why this’, ‘why now’ and how important each of them were to the success of the business going forward. It outlined the programme and explained why they were being invested in.
We asked each leader to complete a 360 degree leadership assessment followed by 1:1 feedback and coaching which identified personal strengths and development areas. It gave them a springboard from which to develop.
A one-day kick off launch event, attended by the Board and Senior Leadership Team, set the tone for the whole programme and outlined the firm’s expectations of their managers. There was a real buzz as managers came together from different locations.
During the discovery phase we had realised how busy the managers were. We concluded that there was little point in launching straight into the performance management part of the programme without first creating the time to make it work. Any development would require significant commitment on their part and, as things stood, there simply was not enough time in their day.
We therefore designed and delivered bite-sized sessions on managing priorities and practical time management techniques. We directly challenged each manager to save one hour per day by working smarter and to use this time to develop their people. Once they had achieved this, the next step was to develop their delegation skills though a bit-sized masterclass session. This would release even more time and help them focus on their role of growing and developing their people.
A two-day residential performance management workshop followed. We promised ‘challenging, exciting, stretching.’ And we delivered. We used actors to really embed the learning and enhance the whole learning experience. The focus was on practising those “brave and courageous” conversations – the ones which the managers were finding difficult to approach or were avoiding. We focused on feedback and coaching and used real-life situations. By the end of the training participants knew how to:
This was not just about providing the managers with enhanced capability it was also about developing their confidence to really manage and coach.
The feedback was incredible – participants were impressed with how real the practice sessions felt and how much they learnt by watching others. Each of them had brought along an actual people issue they were struggling with. Every one of them left with a solution to their problem, and a toolkit of techniques for handling future challenges. All were tasked with implementing their solution within a week of the workshop – and then returning later in the programme to talk about their successes.
Our client’s principal objective was for this programme to have a measurable impact. Participants were expected to demonstrate tangible personal, team and organisational improvements at each and every step. They were continually challenged and asked to think differently. Towards the end of the programme we repeated the 360 feedback and coaching process. In the majority of cases, the results showed an improvement in performance. The programme was having a significant impact on managers – and others were noticing it.
Finally, each individual was tasked with delivering a 15 minute presentation to Board members and the Senior Leadership Team on “the difference this programme has made to me, my team and my business area results.”
The presentations were outstanding – even from those who were not seasoned presenters – and reported qualitative and quantitative evidence of their improvements, including:
Participants were engaged and energised, commenting that they ‘couldn’t believe how much impact the programme had.’ The programme had delivered the exceptional business focused results we set out to achieve.
We structured our working approach around our ‘5D’ process:
We began by clarifying the exact scope of the project, the outcomes required and the roles and responsibilities. It was a highly collaborative approach that quickly developed a strong partnership. This meant we were all clear from the outset on what we were trying to achieve.
During the discovery phase we immersed ourselves within our client’s business:
• We met with the Board, the senior leaders and some of the participants as well as some of their direct reports and built on the strong partnership we had forged early in the ‘define’ phase
• We worked with the marketing team to understand the communications and brand of the business and created a brand identity for the programme
• We spent time reviewing their strategy and plans and getting to grips with their organisational culture
The result was a truly bespoke programme, reflecting the real challenges and opportunities the business and its managers were facing. We then provided a findings report, summarising our discovery phase insights.
• We highlighted the need to bring people management to the forefront of the Senior Leadership Team’s agenda. This provoked a regular commitment for managers to demonstrate improvements in performance.
• We also made more precise recommendations. For example, we recommended a change to the job titles of their senior administrators to ‘office managers’ as the original title was not driving the management behaviours.
During the design phase we worked with the senior team to cocreate activities and scenarios that were as real to the business as possible and fully aligned with their strategy and culture. This included the case studies that would form the basis of the coaching and feedback sessions with actors. Some of the participants said these could easily have been based on them or their team, the scenarios were just so real.
In terms of delivery, we made use of best practice techniques and models but delivered them in a practical and fun way. We used accelerated learning techniques and some experiential activities to really engage the learners.
At the outset, the Senior Leadership Team made a commitment to support each participant through the programme to ensure the learning was transferred to each branch/department as quickly as possible. They were confident that we had the knowledge, experience and background to deliver a program that fitted their specific needs but knew that they needed to play a pivotal role in enabling application of learning.
A Director attended each module to open up the day or to join the group for dinner. All attended the launch event and most attended the impact presentation day. At Board meetings they drove the people agenda and with their visible and active support, including pre- and post-module briefings. This made sure the participants understood how important their development was to business performance.
We knew that an absolute focus on workplace application was critical if managers were to make the necessary changes. We created multiple application opportunities throughout the programme to help drive this:
When commenting on the success of the business over the previous year, one Director said: “Our success could not have been achieved without the managers working differently. This programme was a key factor in making it possible.”
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