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Highlands and Islands Enterprise
In mid 2005, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) engaged Genesis, following a competitive tendering process, on an extensive three-year leadership development programme.

The aim of this programme is to provide shift change leadership development for HIE’s top 100 managers in support of the organisation’s ambitious new strategy for a smart, successful Highlands and Islands. One year into the programme, those HIE managers who have been part of it are being transformed into high performance leaders and the feedback on the benefits of the programme, both for the region and for the participants, has been unanimously positive.

Highlands & Islands Enterprise is responsible for the delivery of economic and community development across a diverse geographic area covering more than half of Scotland. The HIE core organisation, based in Inverness, provides strategic direction and support services for a Network of nine LECs - Local Enterprise Companies. These LECs offer customers access to a range of specialist information, professional advice, help with training and financial assistance to start new ventures or improve business performance.

From the start, the client wanted a multi dimensional approach to learning and to the delivery of significant, measurable results. We worked closely with their Organisational Development team in designing the programme to deliver this. Key to its success so far has been ensuring involvement from all HIE directors, both as a collective executive team and through their direct personal participation in the programme.

The programme, named ‘ACHIEVE’, consists of four 4-day modules of training with a gap of four months between them. The managers have been split into five ‘cohorts’ of 20 participants and the programme is phased over a 3-year period. The four modules cover the following areas:

  • Module 1 addresses why participants need to change by aligning to the organisation strategy and discussing the whole issue of what leadership is. A key model here is “Leadership Space’
  • Module 2 is about self-awareness. Here we help participants explore themselves and their interactions with others using Myers Briggs, Transactional Leadership and Situational leadership models
  • Module 3 builds capability in coaching skills for managers. It is a very practical module and can form the basis of a degree level qualification for those who wish to pursue it. So far about 33% have decided to do this
  • Module 4 forms the bridge between learning and action, with a key focus on action planning and influence. We use actors to play the roles of real individuals whom the participants have identified they need to influence, in order to achieve their plans

From the start our aim has been to make a bridge between learning in the ‘classroom’ and application in the workplace.

To facilitate this we built in the following features:

  • 1:1 coaching for all participants between each session focussing on applying skills to real issues. Participants are able to use a 360º on-line evaluation to help them identify strengths and weaknesses; this can be fed back and discussed at coaching sessions
  • Facilitated action learning sets for all participants in groups of 5 to 6. We build on this during classroom sessions, where we start each 4-day module with an action learning set focussing on what they have applied since the last module
  • Action planning which becomes increasingly sophisticated at each module
  • Focussing on a real and substantial project in module four to ensure successful follow-through afterwards
  • Further reading materials and checklists to be used between modules

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