Faced with the challenge of developing the leadership teams of several distinct business units within the organisation an “Academy” was created, designed and delivered in partnership with the client. Its purpose was to engage with and challenge the leadership teams to consider larger, strategic issues as they strived to transform their business. In response to the immense range of commercial and organisational needs and desired outcomes we repositioned “lean” and “agile” development principles as active inputs applied to the design process, rather than just as teachable, learning objectives of an executive education programme.
Operational Excellence was underpinned by Inspirational Leadership; the visionary capability of Scenario Thinking with the humility and credibility required for Courageous Conversations. It was fully integrated into the organisation’s existing development initiatives, and even though the programme would be designed to change the corporate culture, the senior leadership teams knew that for any Exec Ed programme to be effective it would need to be framed around the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation’s culture.
The programme transformed not only the capabilities of the senior leadership teams but also the culture of the organisation; breaking down the silos to become more collegiate, entrepreneurial and forward thinking.
The brief was to help in a transformation of this established national utility company that wished to combine the development of a new culture of innovation with a fresh approach to the development of high-potential future leaders. The programme has produced some significant improvements in both the organisation’s internal sense of ownership of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the participants’ personal effectiveness as leaders, many of whom were female leaders in what has been a historically male-dominated industry.
Throughout the modular programme the team worked closely with the organisation and the participants to ensure that the programme design continuously evolved to reflect and respond to the shifting strategic environment of the organisation. Not only has the programme been recognised by senior executives within the company but it has also recently won a national award for the best talent management programme.
The Bank needed help with the transformation of their long-established government financial institution that had grown rapidly despite the global economic crisis, but was struggling to position itself as one of the world’s top banks. The learning intervention delivered a series of customised programmes over several years which were designed around and continually evolved to reflect the bank’s strategic international agenda and the evolving context in which it operated. The programme specifically exposed participants to new ways of thinking and experiences, which have enabled them to reassess themselves, their roles, and new ways of engaging in the challenges that they face will face.
In-depth interviews of senior members of the bank’s leadership team, prospective participants as well as past participants helped to influence programme design and development. The programme itself included a variety of engagement methods and learning opportunities including case analyses; scenario planning methodologies and sessions for new strategic thinking; discovery visits to leading financial institutions; experiential sessions for leadership self-awareness and development; and group project work, focused on the organisation’s key strategic challenges. Group presentations by participants to sector experts, on their analysis and recommendations on these challenges, provided a pivotal learning and development culmination to the programme. This mixture of pedagogy and engagement techniques, as well as a close working partnership with the bank in all stages of the programme design, helped to ensure content relevance, content impact, as well as high levels of engagement by the programme participants.
The bank has reported remarkable international growth over the duration of the programmes; and outperforms in competitors across sectors and geographies. Senior executives from the bank as well as participants have acknowledged the role the programmes have played, not only in the organisation transformation and the substantial improvements in participants’ effectiveness as leaders, but also in helping the bank and its senior leaders achieve international status as one of the world’s top banks.
The client, a FTSE 100 company, required a short programme which would not only help to motivate and empower its high potential female leaders, but would also provide a benchmark for a cultural change within a historically male-dominated organisation and industry.
The solution combined cutting edge research; experiential sessions on authentic leadership and story-telling; stakeholder management and “the power of doubt”.
Endorsed by the organisation’s senior leadership, the programme built a firm platform for the cultural transformation; a greater sense of purpose for the participants as well as a clarity of capability and future career; and a position in the industry as a leader in gender equality.