In this blog, Kate Hunter, head of Learning & Organisational Development, at Fortis Living explains how the housing association has used Fierce as part of its leadership development programme. Kate also reveals the positive impacts that have been measured for Fierce by the Worcestershire-based not-for-profit.
The background to our Leadership Development Programme at Fortis Living
Fortis Living commenced its leadership development programme for its 42 strong senior management team in April 2017 and it was scheduled to run for 12 months initially (and included 5 formal learning sessions). The development of the Leadership Programme was informed by employee engagement results and data collection around leadership and management behaviours (for example, from workforce planning). It is extensive work that demonstrates commitment to our Leadership Team and the leadership programme’s design and development. The model of this leadership programme is one of continuous improvement with development needs that emerge from earlier sessions being fed into the design of subsequent sessions.
It’s all about opportunities for learning
The Leadership Development Programme has provided many opportunities for participants to learn and improve. In the formal learning sessions, the group have learned about themselves, models and concepts. The group has also participated in experiential exercises that were related/designed to enable the group to develop relationships and experience/s as a leadership group and develop their own leadership mindsets and how these can be applied to the business context and current challenges.
Members of the group who have made effective use of their Personal Action Plan have had further opportunity to learn by reflecting on their own practice.
How does Fierce fit in?
We worked with Sarah Vogel from PDA to develop a bespoke session for our Leadership Group, which touched on elements of our Fortis Way (values and behaviours). Crucially, we wanted Fierce to help address some areas that had been identified by the Leadership Group themselves around developing an accountable mindset, better decision making, better collaboration across boundaries, and a more confident approach to difficult conversations and dealing with poor performance. Sarah put together an engaging day with plenty of delegate participation and opportunity to practice using the models – this coupled with Sarah’s lively and inspiring delivery style made for a learning experience that was both practical and memorable.
Sarah has also worked with us post-event around ideas for embedding the models into what we do and how we can measure this. We measured immediate post-course feedback and again at 8 weeks after the training to check-in on the embedding and sustainability of the models. The results showed positive shifts in key areas for us.
In line with original objectives, the group have also identified the following three areas as significant benefits of the programme to date. Fierce has allowed our Leaders:
· the opportunity to meet and network with leadership colleagues.
· the opportunity and space to think about their own development in terms of the models.
· provoked learning from other leaders in the business through conversations.
There were also some great examples on the day of:
· developed decision-making input from leaders across the business (breaking down silos).
· recognised need for collective solutions focus and problem solving.
· peer networking – as it provided an opportunity for leaders to ‘mix’ with others from across the business that they don’t usually work with.
Some Key ‘Fierce’ Measures
Following our Fierce session, some key outcomes are that leaders now either ‘consistently’ or ‘role modelling’ the following behaviours:
· 76.5% of leaders now involve other people in problem solving and developing strategies which will impact them.
· 65% of leaders use conversations to learn & grow personally, acknowledging there is always room to develop.
· 88% of leaders take personal responsibility for tackling tough challenges, not waiting for others to do it for them.
As a result of the Fierce Training, Fortis Living leaders have also experienced the following positive shifts in:
· Confidence – 76.5%
· Motivation – 82%
· Knowledge – 88%
· Ideas – 94%
· Skills – 88%