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11th October 2017 @ Savills

Thank you to everyone that joined us, I didn't count, but I have a feeling we had record numbers. A very engaging and interesting session by Paddy Hull at Unilever and Charles Wookey from Blueprint for Better Business followed by a range of interesting discussions. The notes from these discussions are below.

Agenda items:

  • Career / Leadership retreats

  • Feedback Culture

  • Executive Induction

  • Behaviour change at senior levels

Career / Leadership retreats

Key takeaways

* Location is important, needs to feel nice, different (not just a basic inn)

* Have semi-structured environments, allowing for a release for dialogue

* Support with coaching, during and in-between

*Need to have an individual element – can carry out individual interviews beforehand and share at the start to build trust


* 2 days focused on sharing purpose, speaking from the heart, in a Paris chateaux

* Addressing business challenge – let them pick

* LA location – Brene Brown lecture followed by activity e.g. hiking

* Jazz improvisation metaphor – leaders doesn’t need to know all the answers

Brecon Beacons

Recommended suppliers

*Centre of Creative Leadership – ‘Through the looking glass’

*Bridge Partnership – Jane Sassienie or Martine Cannon

*Impact International – Liz Wilson

* Leader Quest – have 3 parts to approach; macro, business and personal view

* Co Company – good for vulnerability/ building trust

* Common Purpose

* Fieri – good for followership - Matt Johns

Feedback Culture

  • A publisher shared that they have explored using ‘what went well, where did you get stuck and what will you do differently next time’ as a framework for feedback

  • What was getting in the way of a feedback culture was also discussed and it was suggested that this activity could be done in teams to allow a before and after analysis to be completed

  • A strong link to purpose was also indicated as a way to promote feedback as a means to achieve success

  • Storytelling came through as a strong theme for feedback – leaders role modelling vulnerability, influential people sharing their stories

  • Scenario based feedback skills were promoted based on ‘normal’ situations and live practical experiences

  • The discussion concluded that there is no one size fits all approach, however, action from feedback is fundamental

Executive Induction

Discussion on what has been successful in past and any new and innovative ways of inducting senior leaders globally.

General Tips

  1. Pre-boarding: start communication & learning journey before start date and send corporate gift to augment brand engagement/ loyalty

  2. Buddy/ Mentor – link to someone who has been through same journey recently but in another part of business

  3. Set up fun activity/ challenge for new starter to gain as much information as possible across business whilst networking, e.g. treasure hunt or collect lego pieces

  4. Bring together for networking session to meet other SLT and facilitate dialogue around business insights, shared knowledge and Q&A

  5. Use digital technology to share information or community, e.g. build portal or app to host information and bring to life with videos, blogs etc; or use HRIS system to remind employee and line manager of onboarding tips, or use collaboration platform like Yammer or Jibe

  6. Work with new starters to test something and provide feedback on what’s important, useful or missing

Live Examples:

An international bank bring all senior new starters together twice yearly, fly to 1 location and have a day of 2-way dialogue between them and exec members to share own insights, what they have learned and noticed and Q&S with Exec and networking

An FMCG company are planning to implement a treasure hunt themed task as a way to network, meet SLT and find out info about each area of business (meet with 5 x SLT who give them envelopes and they bring lego pieces together to build something novel). They also promote pre-boarding dialogue before starting to prompt thinking, give information, get to know team etc.

A company in food and beverage facilitate relationship building by giving tasks to find out personal and business info about self and team in a fun way, provide snippets of info, break down barriers. They also offer a pre-boarding package – work with individual to find out key strengths, what they stand for and align to what they are here to do; intro to team before arrive, mini-stakeholder interviews; and instant feedback around their impact and how well they are landing. They also built an onboarding portal to access new info, key people, host videos, recent news or innovations (used Brightwave)

An organisation in media industry provide corporate Gifts (means something to brand, i.e. video reel, memorabilia, archive product – that connects heart & mind). They also built an app to provide company info and accessible before employee start date, and use a collaboration platform to access team (Yammer, Jibe etc.)

A large retailer introduced an app and developed a template for each country to populate (used Golin). They held weekly telepresence meetings with new starters to demo app, blogs, networking tools and asked them to go and play with tools or scrutinise info and provide feedback

An airline provider use external coaches to address issues of organ rejection where current culture not accepting new ways of thinking. They brief coached clearly and start assignment at 4/5 months in. They also provide buddies that are people who have been through same journey recently or mentors across business functions.

A pharmaceutical firm use their HRIS platform (Workday) to set up series of tasks and reminders for employee and manager over 6 month timescale (e.g. Day 1, Week 1, Week 4 etc.)

Behaviour Change at Senior Levels

The challenge: How do we create behaviour change at a senior level, particularly where behaviours may be ingrained, and/or the person believes the way they behave has made them successful in the past and so resistant to change..?

The case studies:

High street retailer – Project: From catalogue to digital. It was necessary for this company to keep up with change, and so there was a clear business need. This also required a change of mindset and skills at a senior level

  • Reverse mentoring – younger, junior members of staff taught the senior members of staff how new technology works – gave an emotional connection to the organisational change

  • £20 tablet program – created stories on how technology changed people’s lives

  • Believe the change was successful because the behaviour change needed was so clearly linked to a very clear business need (digital revolution)

  • Take away - behavioural change more likely when linked to a truly needed business change

UK Supermarket chain – cultural change project was launched on building positive buyer-supplier relationships

  • Started with an external survey asking suppliers to be honest about what worked and what didn’t for them

  • Set very clear KPIs on improving these supplier relationships, linked to performance reviews etc

  • Felt that the change was successful as there were clear measures on knowing if you were improving or not, which had material impact on performance reviews / career etc

  • Also launched an inclusive behaviours initiative where leaders told positive stories about their team members who had demonstrated this

  • Take away – having clear measures that have a material impact on the individual can help

Global mining company – overall leadership development program is supported by clear measures – including 360s, coaching, team engagement scores

  • Comes from the top - senior leaders set clear expectations around development in their direct reports – they expect their leaders to learn and change

  • Have worked with one consistent external partner on leadership development for 3 years – allowing them to benefit from long-term support

  • Ability to progress/be promoted is affected by the person’s individual progress vs learning goals

  • Built a culture around leaders sharing stories of their own failures and what they have learned and done differently as a result

  • Take away – change needs to come from the very top

Global bank – changing mind-set around leadership development. In particular they have scaled back the level of change expected, instead have encouraged small, experimental change

  • Instead of projects or development plans they called it ‘experiments’

  • The top leadership team went through the same change

  • Separated strategy conversations from individual challenges

  • Scale/critical mass built

  • Defined leadership challenges for each level e.g. talent development, engagement, etc.

  • Built their own in-house model, did not buy off the shelf

  • Used design thinking to change leadership behaviour by focusing on outcomes/customers

  • Take away – a mind-set change and permission to experiment can be freeing and motivating

Pharmaceuticals business – project on connecting people to the patient at the end of the process

  • Looked at impact of business decisions on the patient experience

  • Influenced leadership behaviour through leadership chain

  • Reviewed failed product launch that had been 13 years in development – many leadership meetings, encouraged openness and honesty

  • Learned that leadership teams needed to be having the RIGHT conversations

  • Also launched top talent immersion program. Included a ½ day at a community NGO and for most senior leaders a week at an NGO in Kenya. Could see impact of behaviour, connected their purpose (health – Asthma) to the outcomes they were seeing. Created photo stories of before, during and after.

  • Take away – learning from our failures gives a tangibility and urgency to the need to change

  • Take away – getting hands on can help people understand the importance of their work

Drinks business – ask three big questions:

  1. WHY do we want to change

  2. WHAT change do we want

  3. And do we REALLY want to change

  • Take away – checking our true motivation before trying to act can support change