In 2012, Lowell Group, a Gold Investors in People organisation, embarked on a development programme for middle and senior leaders within the company. Although the Investors in People accolade recognised ‘world class people management’ the company was keen to ensure leadership skills were also front of mind.
Working in partnership with Matthew Hunter Associates, two leadership programmes were developed to suit the needs of the different leadership levels. A key element of both programmes has been the use of a number of self-awareness instruments and the development of coaching partners within the different cohorts.
The main instruments have been the Campbell Leadership Index, Benchmarks 360 from the Center for Creative Leadership, Work Place Big Five from CENTACS, and the FIRO-B instrument. The combination of these different assessments has not only helped the 70 individuals to develop their leadership behaviours, but also helped Lowell’s HR team to further develop the learning and development strategy at Lowell.
Another essential element has been to support the leadership development across the organisation so that common ways of working are established. In particular the use of feedback throughout the company has been seen as a key priority, along with the development of coaching skills. Executive coaches have worked with the senior team, and all participants are now being encouraged through other initiatives to coach their colleagues.
Matthew Hunter has also been supporting the Executive Team by facilitating two workshops to provide a deeper understanding of the team’s assessments, including MBTI, and to support the creation of some ‘working together’ strategies moving forward.
"Matthew’s work with Lowell, from the moment we engaged with him and throughout the design and delivery of the project, has been a true partnership. He has taken the time to understand our business, our specific needs and developed great trust with the audience he has been working with. All participants have valued his skilled approach and support. Our management team now has a higher awareness of the perception of their leadership behaviours and plans in place to continue to develop."Chris Nowland, Learning and Organisation Development Manager, Lowell Group
Five members of the collaborative team are associate faculty/coach members of CCL EMEA in Brussels. Leadership programmes have been facilitated for a number of global clients of CCL. These programmes have been run in Europe, Scandinavia, Egypt, China, Singapore, South Africa and the USA. All of the programmes include elements on self awareness, leading in times of transition, leading through change, and developing a personal leadership brand.
More information about the pioneer research and work of the Center for Creative Leadership can be found at www.ccl.org
Successful participants are awarded with the Post Graduate Certificate in Food and Fresh Produce Management from Harper Adams University College. Matthew, Philip and Jim manage and facilitate a large part of this programme with MDS and Harper Adams.
Matthew has been part of this programme since 1997, facilitating the week-long business simulation programme and the negotiation training. Following the two-year programme, many of the graduates go on to hold senior management positions in the UK fresh produce industry. Current members of MDS include many of the major retailers and growers of fresh prodcue such as J Sainsbury, Riverford Organics, Waitrose, and G's Marketing.
More information about MDS Ltd can be found at www.mds-ltd.co.uk
"This week I've been on a course, with a format not unlike those you run with MDS, to become a lead auditor. I've found myself drawing on so much that I learned during your courses, both theoretically and practically from a leadership point of view, and also from what I experienced from a personal point of view; for the first time in that type of situation, this week I allowed myself to relax and ’enjoy the ride' much more... and discovered (a little to my amazement - and pride) that I really can achieve the same calibre of result by doing so. And I wanted to feed back to you that I am still frequently reflecting on and being inspired directly by your courses - particularly the 'managing a business' one, even a year on, and I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to learn from you."Becky Riddle, who successfully completed her two year post graduate management programme at MDS
Following the introduction by OFGEM of the performance based model RIIO, helping to ensure secure and sustainable energy supplies for customers, Matthew was asked by the Employee Relations Manager John Ong to help support the team in developing new ways of working with the companies employee representatives. Everyone in the company, managers and employees, recognised that new working practices would need to be agreed and implemented to meet the challenge set by OFGEM. The difficulty for everyone involved was the fact that new terms and conditions would need to be agreed which also covered existing legacy agreements, some of which had been in place for many years. Throughout the latter part of 2012 and early 2013 a series of workshops were organised during which the parties to any new agreement could agree the process and behaviours which they would agree to while discussing a range of sensitive issues. Not all the sessions were facilitated by Matthew. The outcome enabled frank and sometimes tough discussions to take place without the underlying good relationships being weakened.
"Your support to the NGSF ‘ways of working’ review and facilitation of our initial pay review negotiations late has been invaluable in progressing our ER relationships and engagement. Since this, it has certainly helped us continue our dialogue and remain together as a group, when the going has got tough (on more than one occasion!) and we would have otherwise fallen victim to disparate positions and broken up. The ability to maintain our dialogue across the various group interests and recognition of the ‘ways of working’ experience has been acknowledged by all."John Ong, formerly the Employee Relations Manager for the National Grid until his recent retirement from the company.