In a recent interview, MatchFit Consultant Tim Forman discussed how he has worked with the Civil Service HR Casework Team to deliver a CLIMB programme to the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee (OSPT) SLT (senior leadership team). The CLIMB programme is a multi-stage initiative that aims to improve performance and cohesion of an organisation. It includes interventions that cover technical and phenomenological aspects, as well as the CLIMB stages, which are designed to promote self-awareness, self-management, and team collaboration among others, to develop culture and achieve high performance.
This article highlights a new pilot project, called , aimed at keeping the positive momentum from the CLIMB by providing bridging support and coaching.
“I started working with the OSPT in the summer of 2021,” Tim explains. “They completed a six-stage leadership CLIMB programme and have commenced the Shadow ExCo programme for 11 future leaders. In conjunction, we will be delivering a new pilot programme called RE3 aimed at continuing the momentum of the CLIMB.”
“Maintaining momentum after completing a leadership programme can be a challenge. That’s not always easy for an organisation on its own,” he says. “It’s often the case that once a programme has ended, the day-to-day stuff takes priority, and some of those valuable activities undertaken during the CLIMB pause, or timelines start to slip, because people are ‘busy’. The idea of RE3 is to provide a further step in order to keep the momentum going. We look at the results, refocus on the aims, and reinforce the skills, capability and confidence gained – hence RE3!
He praises the OSPT for their engagement and participation in the CLIMB leadership programme, which has led to excellent initiatives being taken with great results. “They have been exceptionally good across the senior leadership team, who are split into different teams. The work they’ve been engaged with has helped bring those teams together and break down silos, with lots of development actions coming out of it. They’ve been strong advocates, and very committed to following through on the actions that they’ve agreed to during the CLIMB programme. They’ve seen some very positive outcomes as a result,” he said.
Tim emphasises the importance of accountability in achieving these results, saying, “I’m sure we’ve all had the experience where an organisation decides they need to do something about issue A, understands why they need to do it and agrees on what they need to do. Then things come to a halt, because that accountability is the bit that is missing.”
“With the OSPT, they’ve been very clear on their priorities stage by stage in the programme and that has shown in the outcomes and the engagement of their people. They’ve really enthused about the ‘why’ of what they’re doing, to the extent that as the CLIMB came to an end, they were already in discussions with MatchFit around what they can do next and how we could keep that going. And the products of those conversations are that they’ve invested in the Shadow ExCo programme, and a pilot programme has been developed, which is RE3.”
The RE3 pilot project with OSPT is an exciting development for MatchFit, and Tim sees it as a valuable tool for maintaining momentum and achieving long-term results after completing a leadership programme.
He says “Whereas a standard post-programme check-in is a bit arbitrary, with RE3 there is a framework around which to keep the momentum going. So for example, if we look at the first of the RE3 elements, the results, the HR Technical Consultants are going to do an organisation-wide survey across OSPT to understand the impact of the technical and phenomenological interventions, and the six CLIMB stages.”
Apart from the survey, the results phase also includes a case audit, which will compare the current cases with those from before the programme’s implementation. The audit helps assess the impact of the programme on case handling.
At the refocus stage, two-way discussions are held with the key stakeholders to look at the survey and the case audit comparison and gain an understanding of OSPT’s perspective, refocus the client’s aims and objectives, highlight successes and identify areas for improvement.
Tim continues “There is also a wellbeing check led by the HRTC through 10 one-to-one meetings, and a workshop where we’ll talk about the impact both personally and professionally. And then the refocus will highlight wins, what’s been achieved and what’s still outstanding in terms of next steps.”
The final phase is reinforcing, consisting of a three-module coaching programme led by the HRTC. The aim of this is to upskill OSPT staff in coaching skills for the coaching and development of their own people. They’ll have a phenomenological toolbox of practical tools tailored to the needs of their clients. MatchFit then run a combined mediation and positioning session with the senior leadership team and the wider first line management team.
“This is an exciting phase,” says Tim. “We run sessions with the first line management team, combined with the SLT, where they are encouraged to understand one another’s perspectives, and, typically, reinforce the cultural changes and high performance identified throughout the CLIMB programme.”
In the beginning stages of any programme, there can be a degree of scepticism in some quarters. But the realisation that a senior leadership team are keen to share the room with line managers and work together, and the opportunity for line managers to enjoy a safe space to really get down into the details some of the subjects they wanted to talk about, quickly dispel any hesitancy.
Tim says “OSPT fully embraced the CLIMB programme, and their commitment to actions and belief in the process grew from early uncertainty, resulting in the achievement of quality outcomes. There was genuine appetite to develop the programme for the wider management cohort and their teams. The programme included a range of judiciously selected interventions, and the tremendous take-up across OSPT demonstrated.”
“The strength of our programmes is that we get to work people over a period of time,” he continues. “This is why recognising that every minute they spend with me, or in a one-to-one, or in coaching is time they’re not doing something else. So it’s got to be inherently valuable. If we have three hours in the room, with 10 people, that’s 30 hours of their time. There have to be top quality outcomes to make that 30 hours more valuable than anything else they will be doing in that time.”
Tim concludes “It’s important to highlight the commitment delivered by OSPT in wanting a continuation of the work the HRTC have been doing with them. It’s exciting for us at MatchFit to develop the RE3 pilot to support the growth, keep up the momentum gained in the CLIMB and develop leaders for the future. In doing so, we have the opportunity to learn from it with them and develop a programme we can share more widely. It’s a win-win!”