Leadership Fit for Today’s Challenges

“Very inspiring, enlightening and unlike anything else I had done here before.”
“More people of all levels need to do this course and quickly if we want to see the change in the business that I think we do.”

The Challenge

This most respected brand, not only in its own field of department store and supermarket retailing, but across all sectors, was determined not to rest on its laurels. We were approached to see if we would be interested in partnering to develop fresh, innovative leadership development programmes. This was the first time that an external partner had been sought for the most senior development programmes. The client was sustaining its rapid recent expansion and market leading success, whilst upholding an exceptional 150-year history of progressive employee ownership. The concern now was to ensure that it was developing its leaders for a business world in which volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) were the current day-to-day business terrain, not some futurologist’s faddish acronym.

Specific areas of concern were:

“How do we lead our 90,000 people in a more fluid and less hierarchical organisation, we need something beyond the already out-dated concept of a matrix organisation?”

“How do we enable our leaders to develop and manage the high performing virtual teams that the fluidity of our business demands?”

“How do we develop our most senior leaders to demonstrate their authenticity to best effect, so that they inspire all of our people in turn to bring their most diverse selves to the unprecedented challenges that we face every day? We need to unlock the richness of all of our people’s untapped capabilities.”

The client was especially eager to work with a partner who was willing to invest time in deeply understanding its exceptional structure and who could relate to its complex and demanding culture.

The Solution

Working in close partnership, we designed and piloted three leadership development modules to cover:

• How to lead in today’s more complex environment
• How I bring more of my whole unique self to my leadership
• How do I lead performance in virtual teams

Using only their own real work challenges, the participants were encouraged and supported to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones into new realms of leadership practice in these three residential modules.

After each pilot, the design was updated in line with our collective learning. We then moved on to develop internal facilitators who continue to deliver two of these modules and we continue to deliver one of these modules with our own facilitators. Demand for these have been amongst the highest experienced in the organisation.

The Results

Participants said:

“Very inspiring, enlightening and unlike anything else I had done here before.”

“More people of all levels need to do this course and quickly if we want to see the change in the business that I think we do.”

“Very relevant to our role and the most useful conversations we have ever had as a team. “

This pilot has really hit the mark for us as a virtual team. The elements have all been relevant and really provided food for thought.”

“Facilitators have clearly done considerable preparation and worked hard to really understand our business. We benefitted hugely from this.”

“I feel privileged to have been part of a course, throughout which all participants were unfailingly honest.”

“Feeling very grateful to have had the opportunity for these days of reflection and renewal.”

“Energised to behave differently. Challenged! It’s okay to be me! Great to feel like I have a way to support, understand and lead change.”

“Loads of great tools! Really thought provoking and exactly what I needed.”