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Case Studies

Fujitsu: Advancing Leaders Programme (ALP)

Fujitsu Services wanted to engage 160 middle managers in taking more responsibility for their personal development, including solving business issues and driving organisational change. It also wanted to understand how best to develop a community of experienced and mature managers, many with 15-25 years in the business.

As consultants with SHL and later, Barker Dewson, an objective assessment questionnaire (SHL OPQ32i) was used to understand strengths and development areas. No two managers were the same, and so each met with a consultant to create their development plan, and discuss their personal motivation for achieving it. The plan also involved working in an Action Learning Project team to tackle an issue that was critical to the development of Fujitsu Infrastructure Services (IS), so linking personal development with organisational development – and change management.

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Building a Shared Team Vision

An ongoing reorganisation at a global IT hardware and services provider had led to changes in leadership and team membership within major European markets. The new team leaders wanted to examine team relationships and develop a shared agenda that all members of the team could understand, engage with, and communicate locally.

The culture of the organisation and the teams concerned meant that inviting participation and input was a new step. Many were used to doing the best they could with the hand that corporate HQ dealt them, and found creative workshops exciting, but rather challenging. Team members also had reservations that what was agreed off-site would be ‘lost in translation’ back at HQ.

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Fujitsu: Helping good teams to be better

A team of seven managers wanted to define a common approach to managing a complex division of 1200 staff based across Fujitsu Services in the UK. The team communicated openly, had good relations with leadership and staff, but an analysis of feedback from stakeholders throughout the business suggested that the team could perform a more valuable strategic role.

Barker Dewson conducted a diagnostic review and, using action learning, feedback from psychometric questionnaires, and the opportunity to reflect on stakeholder feedback, the managers identified what was important, rather than merely urgent. Using a series of models, the team defined what it should change, where it could exert influence, and to ignore that over which it had no power. The team committed to certain changes in leadership behaviour, described as displaying greater ‘managerial courage’*.

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Coaching for improvement: self-awareness amongst leaders

The company was owned and managed by one person, supported by a small team of senior staff. Whilst the business had been moderately successful, the owner felt that time and management attention was taken up by ‘employee problems’. The owner invited Barker Dewson to investigate and suggest ideas to develop staff/management relations and improve business performance.

Barker Dewson conducted confidential interviews with all staff, and invited selected managers, including the owner, to complete a psychometric questionnaire. The results showed that the staff were engaged, committed and highly skilled, but were confused by the company strategy, and found the behaviour of the owner ‘wildly inconsistent’.

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Coaching for change

Jon Pope of Barker Dewson coached Gary Mckenzie, then Head of Communications at The Home Office. “I’d had more than 20 years in the Civil Service and I was thinking about my next post. Should I become a board member, or should I move to another department? Jon actually helped me to think more broadly about being a leader in the public sector and what I wanted to do with my own role.”

Gary also wanted to think about what to do with some of his team. “I ran a big department, and some of the people needed support; some needed to move up, and some needed to move on. Jon provided two associates to help with this phase, and both used their coaching skills to get results (and cost savings) that I might not have achieved on my own.”

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Focusing teams on critical issues

That was the challenge facing Barker Dewson and medical communication specialists, PPSI. The brief was to engage a large, international team of medical and marketing staff from a global pharmaceutical company with some emerging commercial issues. The clients met at a large conference in Amsterdam and had an afternoon to agree how to approach communication with key customers, opinion leaders and fellow team members across Europe.

The key problem was to adopt a method to help team members from a range of disciplines find common ground and plan their next steps. The clients had to rapidly process a range of data, agree a strategy, and amend any plans to suit their local markets. Using Kolb’s learning cycle as a framework, Barker Dewson created a low-cost discussion guide to facilitate conversations between groups of 6-8 people.

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Strategic review for Goddard Vet Group

Goddard Vet Group, the largest privately owned veterinary business in the London area, celebrated its 60th year in business in 2012. The senior management team wanted to plan ahead for the next 60 years, and invited Jon Pope of Barker Dewson to help them conduct a strategic review.

Feedback was gathered from customers, clinical, and support staff, and an analysis suggested that there were half a dozen areas where the business could drive change – some immediate, others over the longer-term. The Group was careful not to lose sight of what had made it successful, and was keen to retain the founding principles upon which its reputation was built.

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Developing strategic leaders of the future at BGL Group

BGL Group, best known as Compare The Market.com, is a privately owned insurance company, with its UK headquarters in Peterborough. It wanted to develop its senior managers’ strategic awareness, and chose to work with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Candidates enrolled in a Level 7 Certificate or Diploma in Strategic Management & Leadership, lasting one year and culminating with a project presentation to the UK Board.

As Programme Director, Level 7, Jon Pope of Barker Dewson worked closely with each group on the programme, bringing his business experience to bear, as well as his own academic experience – having already achieved the same qualification. Candidates presented solo and group projects to a panel of managers, and the Board, gaining access to senior people, and a taste of what it might be like as a leader of the future.

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