Ian Dodds Consulting Change Font size:

Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: March 2018

By Ian Dodds – Lotus Award Winner 2017 Lifetime Achievement for Pioneering Inclusive Cultures

Engaging Managers deliver great productivity gains

During my entire working life, I have specialised in developing Inclusive Leaders right down to the front line of management. These are engaging managers who lead inclusively by:

1. Listening to people and exploring differing viewpoints and suggestions.

2. Empowering people.

3. Helping them to perform to their best both for the present and the future.

The results have been outstanding. It first began on a large chemicals factory in Huddersfield. It had awful employee relations and poor productivity and was in danger of closing and, yet, it was a major employer in the town. Initially, I did what my predecessors in the HR Director role had done in that I worked with the managers to try and change things. We made a little progress; but not much and then one evening I was driving home after a particularly gruelling day when I remembered that when my parents came home from work they often used to say things like: “If only our managers would do this or that”. This made me realise that a couple of thousand people were probably going home from that factory and saying something like that. The next day I persuaded the factory director to engage the whole of the workforce in making this the most productive factory in the Group. I then worked with the executive team to help them create a vision of success for the factory in 5 years’ time involving high productivity. This was communicated across the factory and each team was asked to offer feedback on what they thought would help and hinder the delivery of the vision. I collated all this feedback and then helped the executive team use it to devise a strategy for delivering the vision, which was then communicated across the factory. Finally, I trained all the managers right down to the front line to be engaging and inclusive managers by listening to people, empowering them and helping them identify their talents and develop them. The Chief Executive visited the factory 5 years’ later to congratulate everyone on making it one of the most productive factories in the Group; then the largest chemicals group in the world.

I have repeated this success throughout my career with all kinds of organisations. Another particularly memorable one was the largest office in the Inland Revenue, which I helped its managers change from being one of the least productive in the Revenue to the best. It was so good that the Board of the Revenue invited a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph to spend 2 weeks in that office as a fly on the wall. 6 weeks later the Sunday Telegraph business pages had a full page glowing article about this office, which included this quote: “I don’t think I have ever been in an office with a stronger sense of purpose, contentment, candour, coherence or vigour”.

If you want to have more detail on the process I use to develop Engaging Managers who deliver high productivity visit the Engage for Success website and search for ‘A Whole Systems Approach to Developing Engaging Managers’. As a member of the Thought and Action Steering Group for Engage for Success I led a task group to develop this toolkit. If you want to discuss developing Engaging Managers to successfully deliver high levels of engagement and productivity please contact me.

Dr Ian Dodds,

28 February 2018,


Related articles

Inclusion is key to building a culture of innovation and creativity

Gaining the big performance benefits available from developing super teams

Inclusive cultures drive high performance and complex change

Website Management and SEO Consultancy by Amoo Business Nursery        Website Created by Toast.it