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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: February 2019

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

Leading by example - a powerful driver of inclusion, engagement and customer service

Ian Dodds Consulting (IDC) has considerable experience of working with leaders in organisations to help them drive culture change. At the outset of work of this kind, we always make clear that the example set by the client’s leaders is key to influencing others in their organisation to behave in the new ways their business strategies require.

The journey we often take is illustrated by a client we worked with some time ago. It had realised that it needed to be able to relate better to an increasingly diverse range of customers. Initially, it had had some feedback from one of its accounts that some of its men had poor client relations with their senior women. When they looked into this they were disturbed with what they found. Not only were some of their most senior and experienced men failing to build effective relationships with the senior women in the account; but they were also failing to understand the client's very different culture.

The client decided that a powerful intervention was required and discussed what to do with IDC. This resulted in a decision to utilise IDC's leadership behaviours' development programme for 45 of its top leaders.

The starting point was a workshop, which I designed and facilitated, to develop a Leadership Behaviours' Charter which pinpointed those behaviours the leaders needed to practise to deliver a more customer focused business strategy. These behaviours were incorporated into IDC's online leadership behaviour survey tool. Each leader then received feedback from 6, or more, observers, some of whom were colleagues and some customers. Each had an IDC coach who confidentially reviewed their feedback and worked with them to develop a personal action plan to enable them to build their effectiveness in practising their weaker behaviours. The online behavioural survey was repeated every 4 months, i.e. as a pulse feedback survey, for 4 rounds. At the end of it the scores of the leaders had increased by between 10% and 15%. Soon after the account that had provided the negative feedback began to report more positively. Furthermore, the client’s annual engagement survey scores improved. This was because the leaders were acting as inclusive role models, having significantly improved their pulse survey scores on: listening to people; empowering people; putting effort into helping each of their team members identify and develop their talents. In other words they had been leading more inclusively

This client had had IDC's leadership development process recommended to them by a director of another organisation who had been using it for over 12 years to drive culture change in the different organisations in which he had held senior positions. There are a number of different approaches that IDC has developed that can be adopted to reinforce the organisation-wide adoption of the behaviours from the leadership example. These include facilitated observer feedback meetings as well as interactive theatre workshops to illustrate good and bad practice of the behaviours.

Dr Ian Dodds FRSA


29 January 2019

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