Driving organisational performance & innovation
If the solution to performance improvement or new ways of working was straight forward, it probably would have been done already. Organisations wishing to find new levels of performance need to create an atmosphere of psychological safety and robust dialogue. See below case studies that detail a selection of ways we have worked for our clients:
Our automotive client in Oxford wanted to create a strong leadership culture. One that built on their heritage, was aligned to the global Group, but was also uniquely their own.
Against a backdrop of rapid technological disruption in the motor industry and Brexit, the leadership team had identified the following challenges:
- Institutional behaviours
- A significant increase in production volumes
- Standards at the plant had to meet BMW’s premium standards
- A new consistent approach to leadership was required
- The plants had to meet ever increasing targets
- There was a strong need to be more flexible and innovative in preparation to integrate new technologies
A programme was designed to target the specific skills needed. Once that programme was created, a dedicated room was then also designed for the programme. This room became known as ‘The Leadership Space’ and it enabled participants to physically walk through the programme using the area in different ways.
After the completion of LDP1 (3 years duration) a new programme was created called LDP2 (also 3 years long) – for this next programme the room was once again redesigned around the needs of the new programme.
LDP2 further strengthened the alignment of the programme to the workplace by having an associated app and challenging pre-work requirements in order to join the programme. This design increased the accountability even before people walked into the first session.
Our client launched a new business channel called execute managed services. This business channel provides outsourced operations solutions for their clients worldwide. In contrast to their traditional consultancy work, this part of the business is highly operationally focussed. Therefore, there was a need to develop the operational capabilities of the senior leaders.
The leaders did not all come from operational environments previously and historically had not had exposure to the best practices found in top manufacturing businesses.
We designed a 12-month programme which took participants out to visit different types of operational environments e.g. an Amazon warehouse, manufacturing plants and a front line homeless charity. Participants used these experiences to drive innovation and operational excellence activities back in their workplace for their team at headquarters. This solution was creatively supported by 6 different training days (including a 2-day business simulation exercise), 1:1 coaching and action learning sets.
Our client came to us with a well-established talent development programme for future plant managers. However, the programme had run in its current format for some time already and was considered to be too theoretical. We were asked to refresh all the content, structure and the design of the programme.
There were a number of challenges to overcome for example the programme is delivered to a global audience spanning all time zones. The participants have direct operational roles, which makes it hard to be released from the business.
We redesigned the initial development centre to provide each candidate with objective and structured feedback. This was evaluated by a tandem team made up of SL consultants and our client's staff before participants enter the programme.
The programme then ran over 10 months with a series of online workshops, 1:1 coaching and action learning sets (referred to a guilds). All participants are required to work on a project which is further supported by internal technical training sessions. projects are presented in a final showcase event called the graduation session.
The client had a contract with their customer with specific metrics and severe penalties for not meeting these SLAs. At the time they approached us, the business had been underperforming for 3 consecutive months and needed a rapid change in performance. They operated 24hrs a day, comprising of 3 shifts in a warehouse environment. Standard leadership training would not work in this context, nor was it likely to improve performance in the short timescales required.
Our team spent 2 weeks onsite embedded in the business observing leadership behaviours across all 3 shifts. They gave direct coaching to those leaders following their observations. In addition, we developed a pocket problem solving toolkit based on concepts such as 5 Whys, Ishikawa, PDCA. We then designed a train the trainer event for each of the tools in the toolkit to enable the internal training team to deliver these sessions directly.