Achieving a step-change in operational leadership by upskilling senior and mid-level leaders

Engaging and empowering senior managers to provide space for strategic action.

Cape is an international leader in the provision of critical industrial services principally to the energy and natural resources sectors. Senior managers needed to build on the Regional Director’s vision to co-create a strategy for growth and a plan to tackle blockages and maximise opportunities. Primeast delivered talent-focused leadership workshops where senior managers could commit to a number of high-value personal actions that added measurable value to the business by playing to their respective strengths. The return on investment (ROI) for the programme was well in excess of ten-fold.

This case study has been used in “The Field Guide to the 6Ds: How to Use the Six Disciplines to Transform Learning into Business Results” published by Wiley.

The Brief

Steve Connolly was Cape plc’s UK Onshore Regional Director. His solutions focused approach and highly experienced senior management team have delivered significant business growth in recent years. However, success and growth bring new challenges and Steve was conscious that more and more of his time was being demanded for problem-solving in the business alongside his management team. When this reached 80% of his personal available resource he took swift action and discussed the matter with his HR Director, Alex Spence, and consequently with the team at Primeast. It was decided that the solution was to run CAPEability, a series of talent-focused leadership workshops where senior managers would be encouraged to free up a further 30% of Steve’s time to allow him to spend half his time on strategic thinking and key commercial activity.

Our Solution

Primeast designed a programme comprising an initial two-day think-tank in March 2010 where the senior managers built on Steve’s vision to co-create a strategy for growth and a plan to tackle blockages and maximise opportunities. In addition, the senior managers embraced significant personal development, including an assessment of their leadership styles, mental toughness and of their personal talents and strengths (using Primeast’s Talent Liberation methodology). At the end of the two days, the senior managers had a clear way forward and committed to a number of high-value personal actions to add measurable value to the business by playing to their respective strengths.

The Result

Two months after the first intervention, coaching was offered to participants to support the delivery of their commitments. The team met again with Primeast in October 2010 at the High Trenhouse Centre for Management Creativity in the Yorkshire Dales. At this follow-up intervention, the senior managers celebrated the delivery of their commitments which added staggering bottom line value to the business, contributing to exceptional profits for the onshore business in the most severe market conditions. The return on investment (ROI) for the programme was well in excess of ten-fold. The managers had tackled a range of problems, ranging from structural changes, more engagement with middle managers, health and safety management, outage management, succession planning, closer attention to work in progress and debt management.

The end result for Steve is that he has progressed his aims and grown capacity in his business.

Alex Spence, HR Director, Cape plc

Our Cape People values of capability, opportunity and commitment are being embedded in 2011 with the opportunity for all staff to work out how to bring them alive in the work they do for the business. CAPEability equips our senior team to make the most of this opportunity as it plays out in the services they lead for our customers.