Birketts' Emerging Leaders Programme

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Birketts' Emerging Leaders Programme

Starting point

 

The legal profession is a traditional business where the need to adapt and think differently is becoming more important in an industry that can be labeled as old fashioned, particularly in its leadership. This forward-looking law firm was keen to give their leaders of the future a different set of skills and a way of thinking, that would not only equip them to grow the business, but have people and culture at the center of their attention. For Birketts LLP, this process started back in 2016.

Emerging Leaders programme. Lawyers reviewing the “Leadership Wall’.

Emerging Leaders programme. Lawyers reviewing the “Leadership Wall’.

What we did

 

In 2016 People Academy set in motion a collaborative process with the business to understand where they were and where they wanted to go. Our experience of other organisations enabled us to support this firm with current thinking on leadership and, of course, the principles of the People Dimension. The  ‘Emerging Leaders’ programme was born, which takes a cohort group of future leaders through a series of interventions lasting 18 months. It covers subjects that include the self-aware leader, creating a coaching culture, performance management, emotional intelligence and high performing teams. The interventions comprise a mixture of group sessions, one-to-ones, coaching groups, thought leadership review, reflection and presentations. This programme over the last three years has gone from strength to strength.

 
The “Leadership Wall” is a reflection exercise for leaders in the making, to formulate their own leadership philosophy.

The “Leadership Wall” is a reflection exercise for leaders in the making, to formulate their own leadership philosophy.

The result

Today, such is the success of the programme that we are now working with cohort group 6. Many of the lawyers in previous cohorts have gone on to become partners and all are now on the right track, with the right set of leadership skills, to continue to work towards senior leadership roles in the company.

The law firm has embraced what is a new way of thinking for many. The feedback has been exceptional and applications to attend the emerging leaders programme continues to grow each year.

Cohort 5 has just seen two more delegates make partner in 2019.

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The Virtuoso Coach

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The Virtuoso Coach

The People Dimension and Elite Coaching

USA Figure Skating

As a result of the success of our work with elite coaches on the USOC’s national team leadership program, we were invited to deliver keynotes and high intensity sessions at the United States Professional Skaters Association (PSA) National Conferences in 2017 & 2018 in Nashville and Orlando. 

The focus was the People Dimension and how to harness it at elite coach level to bring out the best in coach-athlete partnerships.

USA Figure Skating, Elite Coaches and PSA leadership group, Orlando, 2017.

USA Figure Skating, Elite Coaches and PSA leadership group, Orlando, 2017.

What we did

At the 2017 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, we worked with a group of 60 coaches in interactive sessions covering the subjects of self awareness & people acuity in sports coaching by looking at a number world class athletes and their preferred coaching style, using fun and interactive exercise. We also introduced the group the concept of coaching groups. 

 

In 2018 in Orlando, we delivered a keynote session (“From High Potential to High Performance”) to 400+ regional coaches. We also worked with the elite group taking a deeper dive into the People Dimension methodology, in particular to look at challenging conversations. The video clip is taken during a leadership challenge called “Cave Rescue” in which people tend to revert to type, under pressure, and chaos ensues!

What was the result?

Both conferences were a great success and the feedback from the group was exceptional. The People Dimension had a profound impact and many coaches said they had really started to understand not only that most people are different to them, but why and what that means for their coaching style.

 Significantly, the coaches who attended the event have started to adopt the People Dimension into their coaching. The impact on the group has resulted in a real recognition that to truly get through to your athletes, the coach has to be adaptable and flexible in the delivery of their messages and that the one-size approach does not fit all, from the most junior athletes through to the elite skaters. 

Knowledge about people is one thing, putting it into practice is another. Getting through to your people is key.  

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Later in 2018, in Denver, Colorado, People Academy worked with a group of next-generation Olympic medal hopefuls. This time the focus was on skating pairs - one of those sports where the working relationship between the two athletes is paramount. These partnerships can last for years, even decades, so developing a healthy understanding and appreciation for the differences (and similarities) between them is key.

Skating Pairs and coaches, Pairs Camp, Denver, Colorado, 2018. Amazingly talented and committed athletes.

Skating Pairs and coaches, Pairs Camp, Denver, Colorado, 2018. Amazingly talented and committed athletes.

 

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Developing high performance cultures (part 2)

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Developing high performance cultures (part 2)

People Academy has been privileged to work with many organisations, worldwide, helping them shape and implement culture change, among them Team USA, BMW (UK), Birketts… and many more.

Each organisation was faced with their own unique mix of challenges and opportunities, where people’s behaviour has been the key to real and lasting change. In every case it’s leadership and how leaders behave that made the difference between success and failure.

Leadership - People Academy

leadership team itself and its employees are still left to work out ‘how we do things around here’ themselves. So, the importance of clarity around WGLL should not be underestimated. The aim of the leadership team should be to forge a clear ‘contract’ for how they behave that they can all sign up to. Whereas a vision or mission statement is a clarion call, these can become merely a poster gathering dust on a wall, unless it’s embedded in a change campaign.

Leadership Team - People Academy

 

CHANGE CAMPAIGN

Change, real and sustained change, requires a campaign approach to embed any new behaviour. There are real parallels here with an advertising campaign. Deliver your message and keep delivering it again and again, varying and refreshing the delivery but not the message. A change campaign needs to be planned and managed, flexible enough to allow for tactical adjustments as the landscape changes, which it will.

Success depends upon the leadership team owning and embodying the campaign, acting as custodians throughout, steering and making necessary adjustments to its path without departing from the message and the ultimate goal. The changes identified as campaign critical should be measured, usually requiring employee surveys, perhaps 360 degree feedback, stakeholder surveys and other methods.

 
Cohort 3 Team USA Olympic coaches, California, 2016

Cohort 3 Team USA Olympic coaches, California, 2016

 

Communication with employees (not just ‘to’) and stakeholders repeatedly and throughout, is key. Kotter, in his ‘8 Step Process for Leading Change’ cites ‘undercommunication’ as one of the main reasons why organisational change attempts fail. Adopting a sense of ‘collective cabinet responsibility’ is paramount; any diversion from the path by a leader is likely to cause disharmony and will undermine the campaign and its success.

 

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & THE CHANGE CAMPAIGN

It’s tempting for leadership teams to ‘tell’ employees WGLL, having invested in this exercise themselves – “after all, we’re leaders, they’re followers” – but this deeply flawed when it comes to achieving real and lasting change. Ultimately, for the change to succeed, it requires people doing something different.

Reality of change - People Academy

 

It’s not just about communicating change…it requires people to sign up and undertake the arduous process of real behaviour change, which can be unsettling for many. To work in the broader community, there has to be a clear understanding of what change is needed by them (their WGLL), believe in it, and summon up the sustained self-motivation required to see it through. Engagement of the wider community is crucial and leaders must focus on how they create the conditions for this to occur.


 

READ PART 1 OF THE 'HIGH POTENTIAL TO HIGH PERFORMANCE' BLOG SERIES:

Focussing on the 'drivers for change' with the leadership and management of teams in worldwide organisations... 

 
Team USA Coaches, with People Academy’s Miles Henson (front, 3rd from right), Oakley headquarters, Foothill Ranch, CA, 2016

Team USA Coaches, with People Academy’s Miles Henson (front, 3rd from right), Oakley headquarters, Foothill Ranch, CA, 2016

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT PEOPLE ACADEMY:

 

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TIME - August 2016 special feature on Rio Olympics

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TIME - August 2016 special feature on Rio Olympics

I was driving with all the windows down along a leafy Warwickshire lane one day in July. It was one of those rare days when temperatures soared into the 30’s, prompting me to think back to January when I’d been working with the US BMX team at the Olympic training centre in Chula Vista and then with beach volleyball in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles. The phone rang and a cultured American voice announced himself as Sean Gregory, chief sports editor with TIME magazine.

He told me he’d spent a day with the USA women’s beach volleyball team in June this year and wanted to know if I could help him understand what had happened to them – “They were fizzing with energy and talking in terms I didn’t understand such as ‘She’s such a D!’… When I asked them to explain, they said ‘Talk to Phil!’ so that’s why I’m calling you.”


 
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PEOPLE ALCHEMY

Sean’s account of his visit brought the story of Kerri, April and Marcio up to date. It’s good to see that he found them now fully gelling as a unit and fired up, ready to go.

See the article at…

http://time.com/4428047/kerri-walsh-jennings-and-april-ross-beach-volleyball-usa/

Click to expand...

A Dynamic Duo

I met Kerri and April, and their coach Marcio Sicoli, during training at Manhattan Beach in February 2016. The key to them firing as a truly high performing team was in understanding and valuing the personality and behavioral differences between the two of them. Coach Marcio had recognised this as a potential issue during training.

Competing together amounts to less than 0.1% of their time together; 99.9% of the time together is in training, traveling, planning, media work and just plain living alongside each other, and it’s here where a lack of mutual understanding and appreciation could have created problems, because they are so different…

 

Phil Ferrar, People Academy, August 2016

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Authenticity - What’s your definition?

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Authenticity - What’s your definition?

Do you wear a mask at work?

Recent research has shown that the qualities people value in their leaders are changing.  People want to be managed by individuals who ‘bring their real selves to work’ and are led by their values and the courage of their convictions.

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 Who loves an introvert?

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Who loves an introvert?

There is, however, another bias that lurks in organisations, a bias against introverts.  It is much more disguised than those we are familiar with (race, gender etc.). It can lead to skills being ignored and may prevent individuals from fulfilling their potential...

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Developing future leaders: Birketts

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Developing future leaders: Birketts

It's been a great privilege for People Academy to work with a diversity of world class organisations. In 2015 we were delighted to work with another such organisation, this time in the legal world; Birketts.

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USA Olympic Committee develops Team USA coaches on their road to Rio

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USA Olympic Committee develops Team USA coaches on their road to Rio

As Rio 2016 fast approaches, the USA Olympic Committee (USOC) has commissioned a programme to ensure Team USA coaches are at the top of their game. The programme has been developed to ensure all coaches have the skills needed to give their athletes the edge. The aim is to develop their self-awareness in recognising the impact they have on others and how and when to adapt in challenging situations.

The high-impact programme was developed and delivered with People Academy, and includes at its core the use of the Thomas Sport psychometric assessments, measuring the behavioural and emotional traits of coaches. The first cohort of coaches attended a high impact module at LA Galaxy’s stadium in February 2015. 

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