RBS Think Outside the Bank
Leader-Led Global Change Programme

“95% of Regional Leadership Workshop attendees said that they felt equipped to lead the onward engagement of their teams…80% of our employees said that a leader had engaged them in a conversation about Think outside the bank…93% of employees who had been engaged in conversation stated that they understood the relevance of our purpose and values in relation to their and their team’s roles. The local experience has also resulted in other benefits; our employees are more engaged, more likely to stay with the bank and had a more positive view of leadership in the organisation.”

The Challenge

Our client, the fifth largest bank in the world, had seen first a meteoric rise to become a Harvard case-study of success with a balance sheet 50% larger that the UK economy, and then a catastrophic crash in the global financial meltdown of 2008, requiring the bank to be rescued from insolvency by government intervention.

The CEO had led a prudent stabilisation of the balance sheet and now wanted to move from the successful work of making the bank “safe” to building “…a really good bank”.

This meant leaders developing a new perspective on the business – from a culture of making money from financial products and markets to making money from being of valuable service to customers, communities and shareholders (which now included the UK government).

It was critical that the top 2% of leaders, in this organisation of 135,000, led this change in practice. A programme of leadership development was required that would reach 3,000 leaders in locations spanning the globe from the Americas to the Pacific Rim.

These leaders then needed to be able to engage their people, so that all 135,000 people had consistent development that enabled them to work out what they had to do, in their roles, to bring the changes to life.

The work needed to be visibly leader-led throughout.

The Solution

In an organisation of such a scale it had become a norm for leadership development to be delivered by business schools in classrooms and to be concerned with the implementation of generic models. We knew that something different was required.

Working closely with a cross functional team and consulting with members of the Group Executive Committee, we designed Leadership Development Architecture that enabled the leaders to reach every member of the business. It was essential that this leadership engagement would balance consistency with genuine local empowerment:

Regional Leadership Events – a series of large group interventions to deliver leadership development to 3,000 top leaders over 2-days. These involved 150 to 300 participants at each workshop facilitated by a team of 15 to 30 facilitators at each location. The facilitators were from the region concerned, and prepared by us in a two-day Facilitator Preparation session. In all 14 large group workshops were delivered and a total of 300 facilitators trained and supervised. Amongst many innovative approaches, the bank’s front-line customer-facing staff and customers were invited to join the event, to give direct feedback and explain what help they needed from these leaders. These intimate conversations connected senior leaders directly to the front-line challenges and needs of the people that serve their customers.

These two-day events were run around the world over 8 weeks: two in the USA, three locations in the UK, Netherlands, two locations in India, Honk Kong and Singapore.

A member of the Group ExCo was involved in delivering each event and the Regional Leadership ExCo were the visible and active hosts for the participants.

Local Experience Toolkit – Equipping each leader with the tools of engagement. In order to reach all 140,000 global staff in a matter of months, each attendee at the Regional Leadership Events, above, was provided with access to an online Leadership Hub. The Hub material, which we designed and developed, contained a comprehensive toolkit of resources to enable each leader to engage their own divisions of the business. In addition to the resources to use with their own teams, the Hub also gave each leader a thorough facilitator manual. In total the Hub provided leaders with 4.5 hours of workshops to use in order to reach all 135,000 people.

The Results

“To my new friends on the Ideas’ Unlimited team,
I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for last week’s event.

Each one of you brought your different styles to the workshop and added something special to the event. I could not be more pleased with the result.

Over the last few days I have received numerous, notes, calls and stops in the hallway to let me know how happy they were to have been included in the event.

As you now know all too well, we have a tough audience in the US, and the Think Outside the Bank event has experienced many challenges. Despite the healthy dose of skepticism from the participants early on, collectively, we still managed to pull off a really special workshop. The feedback and conversations that were fostered will have impact, and it is because of our collective efforts.

A special shout out to you for managing the many twists and turns of last week with a smile and a ridiculous amount of energy and understanding”. Regional Head of Americas, Markets & International Banking, Americas HQ, USA

“It’s honestly the most alive, engaged and motivated that I have felt in a long time – they managed to get the best out of me and I remembered why I love what I do. They have inspired me to find the old fire within.” UK participant

“Honestly amazed by this toolkit – now I’ve just spent the day going through it! Best bit of work I’ve seen from the Bank since joining. All very clear and easy to navigate. Please pass on feedback to anyone who might be interested. Makes my life as a Country HR Head much easier when I can genuinely assure the business how straightforward this is and let them know there can be no excuses for them not understanding what they need to do to cascade this!
Thanks guys”. Head of Human Resources, Australia, Markets & International Banking, Sydney, NSW, Australia

“95% of Regional Leadership Workshop attendees said that they felt equipped to lead the onward engagement of their teams and by the end of 2013, 80% of our employees said that a leader had engaged them in a conversation about Think outside the bank 93% of employees who had been engaged in conversation stated that they understood the relevance of our purpose and values in relation to their and their team’s roles. The local experience has also resulted in other benefits; our employees are more engaged, more likely to stay with the bank and had a more positive view of leadership in the organisation.

We’re building employee belief in the changes we are making – 90% of our employees
believe that the Bank is changing for the better and staff are more optimistic about the future.”
Internal Bank Evaluation and Awards Submission.

As a result of this work we were invited to participate in designing and delivering Senior Leadership Team Workshops. These enabled the top 90 leadership teams in the Bank to take up their responsibility for bringing the new strategy and culture to life and embodying it in the way they work together.