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Case studies

A Social Housing Business



We’re delighted to report that our work with St Ledger Homes has lead to our being selected as Finalists for the Association for Business Psychology’s Workforce Experience Awards in the Excellence in Leadership Change Management category. 

 

In early 2014 the Executive Management Team (EMT) of St Ledger Homes (SLH) commissioned a Leadership Development Programme (LD1). In May 2014 we, in partnership with our colleagues at Cofac, were awarded the contract to deliver that programme.

 

The challenge SLH’s EMT presented us with was to design and deliver a programme that would develop a cohort of Senior Managers able and willing to respond positively to a future that promised on-going challenges such as cuts to public finances, changes to government policy and internal issues such as high levels of sickness related absence and an aging workforce.

 

Our approach was underpinned by the fundamental principles that inform all of our work:

  1. Success equals participants consistently scanning for, willingly engaging with and then skilfully managing opportunities in their day to day working lives to deliver change.
  2. Our role is to help participants understand why they do what they do and then help them decide how best they can modify their behaviour in order to deliver change on behalf of their organisation in ways that work for them.

 

After work with the EMT and other stakeholders to ensure that we fully understood the context of the programme and the outcomes it needed to deliver, the programme itself ran from November 2014 to September 2015. It comprised a variety of elements. At the core were a series of workshop that helped individuals clarify their specific role in meeting the challenges facing SLH and understand, with the help of the Odyssey Behavioural Decision Making Model ©and the Lumina Spark © tool, how they might modify their behaviour in order to do so. Alongside those workshops we supported individuals, via Action Learning, as they worked to deliver both personal and organisational change. 

 

Independent evaluation has highlighted the significant benefits delivered by LD1. Feedback such as; “LD1 was the best thing I have ever attended in terms of real impact.” illustrates, in general terms, the success of the programme. In more specific terms, however:

  • EMT are now experiencing the support (and challenge) they were looking for from the senior managers we worked with. Those leaders are now taking ownership of activities such as recruitment and the strategic handling of change.
  • Senior Managers themselves report that the way they work with their teams has changed and, most importantly, is delivering results:
    • They are involving people earlier and more skilfully in operational decision making. This has significantly increased the quality of decision making, planning and implementation.
    • They are now confronting poor performance and, more importantly, handling subsequent conversations with the skill necessary to facilitate improved levels of engagement and delivery.
  • The work on organisational issues undertaken by Action Learning sets has also delivered significant benefit. Some of those benefits include:
    • A new manager lead e-recruitment platform and an approach to recruitment that takes attitude and behaviours into account.
    • A £47000 decrease in the cost of absence in the first financial year of operation with further reductions expected as a consequence of a more rigorous approach to the management of absence
    • Replacement of annual appraisals with “real-time performance management and development” conversations – a transfer of the coaching/mentoring ethos advocated within LD1 from workshop to workplace.
    • Adoption of a “useful, acceptable, possible?” test to tackle the failure across SLH to act on outputs from service reviews. This test has subsequently been used to underpin SLH’s new Business Excellence service and applied to project management across the business and is an example of the effective application of The Odyssey Behavioural Decision Making Model © in the “real world”.

 

In addition to what LD1 has already achieved there is evidence of it’s on-going impact:

  • The SLH Executive team have commissioned LD2 – a similar programme designed to embed the impact of LD1 more deeply within the organisation by engaging the team leaders who report into Senior Management.
  • Action Learning sets are continuing to function without our direct involvement and are now taking on fresh challenges such as finding ways and means of reducing reliance within SLH on email as the primary means of communication.

 

“Two years ago there was little traction in the idea that service managers could become the engine room for change. Now we have 80 or so managers thinking in this way. This gives us a far better chance of coping with future challenges than just having a dozen directors at the top of the council structure doing so.” 
JAN BRITTON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE - SANDWELL METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL

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