Head of HR Nick Richards says…

We were keen to provide some high quality management training for our middle managers, approximately 30 in total.  We wanted some consistency across their style and skills and were also interested in developing a forum where managers could jointly problem solve, develop good relationships and challenge each other to be better.

Sharpstone Skinner advised a modular management programme of short sessions and highly practical learning over a 9 month period.  The programme would cover key skills, actions, attitudes and behaviour needed in modern management as well as a chance to develop better self-awareness.  The group would split into 2 cohorts with an option to switch groups through the programme so managers could engage with as many of their peers as possible.  Modules were 2, 1 or half days in length, off-site and ran a month or so apart to allow time for application.  There was a short assignment to be completed in between which really helped us apply the learning.

What happened next?  People weren’t sure what to expect at first, but settled in quickly and had the same facilitator throughout, which built trust and a good atmosphere.  Each module was jam-packed with interesting and relevant help in managing and sometimes we went off agenda to explore a real issue that was affecting all of us as managers.  We were encouraged to have action plans and we reported back at the beginning of sessions on any progress we had made.  Final sessions introduced us to Action Learning which was brilliant for problem-solving and gave us a framework to continue useful conversations outside of the modules.

What results did we see?  We developed much more cohesion as a group overall and that helped us to collaborate better in our day jobs.  As we became more aware and more skilled, our teams benefitted from stability and better management overall.  Best of all, at the end of the programme we set up a regular quarterly meeting to include all of us plus our managers – the Executive – to share learning and discuss, plan and take action on operational issues we could all give input to.

We like working with Sharpstone Skinner because primarily, they are challenging yet intensely supportive, work to a consistently high standard and do what they say they are going to do. Sharpstone Skinner gave new insight and enabled us to have a step change in how we manage. As well as the outcomes however, the ability to work together and process was important. The communications and planning were great and, significantly, we felt that Sharpstone Skinner partnered with us on our objectives.

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