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The environment in which LloydsPharmacy operates is challenging, with rapid change in both internal and external markets. A review was undertaken to find out what support LloydsPharmacy Area Managers needed. It identified the challenges they faced, such as delivering cost-efficient and effective service to customers, as well as sharing news of change with their teams.
The leadership development programme was attended by all LloydsPharmacy Area Managers, Heads of Regions, and the HR Business Partners for each region. The HR Business Partner presence was crucial to the success of the development programme – it meant they were familiar with the content, and thus able to ensure that learning was embedded and applied in day-to-day business.
The programme started with a one-day MBTI® Fundamentals workshop, aimed at supporting participants in understanding the personality differences that exist across the business. Interactive exercises explored the different preference pairs, with plenty of time for participants to reflect on what their own MBTI type meant for them, and to ‘flex’ by using their opposite preferences.
This session was followed by a two-day Developing Leaders workshop, attended by each regional group. It was designed to enhance participants’ understanding of managing change, dealing with conflict in a positive way, and handling difficult conversations effectively. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI™) was used to help participants understand their own approach to conflict, and to understand how different personalities react to change and conflict.
A key component of the programme was ‘upskilling’ participants to share knowledge and skills, via business simulation exercises that reflected the types of challenges participants would typically face, and that would challenge them to flex their styles. OPP used actors to enable participants to try out different skills, techniques and approaches, and delivered feedback.
To capitalise on Area Managers being together with their regional colleagues, participants were grouped in action learning sets, to maximise peer-learning. The Developing Leaders Programme finished with participants developing an action plan that would feed into their personal development.
“Any kind of programme based around raising self-awareness training always means participants have ‘wow’ moments”, said one of the HR Business Partners. “I saw the guys have many light bulb moments.”
Both workshops were well received and perceived to be beneficial. The vast majority of participants felt the events were well organised, supportive and impactful, and 100% of them reported having a greater awareness of their style and preferences.
Participants reported that the business simulations provided a safe and low-risk environment in which to try out different styles during challenging conversations. The value of learning sets and spending time with their peers was highlighted as being particularly beneficial, allowing them to consider multiple perspectives, and learn from others in the same role.
During telephone interviews after the event, all Area Managers offered concrete examples of how they had integrated learning from the programme and made changes to their day-to-day work.
“The area has significantly improved in performance over all of the KPI measures in the latter half of the year”, commented Darren Reeves, Area Manager, Celesio. “In one KPI we had a 44% improvement on the first half of the year. There’s more team involvement, people wanting to be recognised for doing a great job. As a result, the desire to achieve is cascaded through the whole area, not just the managers, but the whole team.”
“I’ve been employed for 20 years and this is the training that has had the most impact on me”, said another Area Manager.
Feedback also suggested that there was now better dialogue, a shift from their more short-term focus on immediate priorities, greater team cohesion, and less conflict in team interactions. “It’s probably the best programme I’ve been on in years”, said one of the participants. “It made me stop, and reflect on my behaviours. The different ways of dealing with conflict have really stuck with me.”
“After the programme, all the Area Managers came out really enthusiastic”, commented Susan Eddie, HR Business Director, Celesio. “At the regional meeting, they presented back what they’d learnt at the Developing Leaders programme and we discussed their action plans. I have heard the Area Managers using MBTI terminology. This is something they are keeping alive – I can hear them refer to it when they’re talking to one another.
“They are having more conversations, and taking the time to prepare before they have conversations. You can see them getting together more now, networking, preparing before a conversation and using their learning.”
Area Managers are using MBTI terminology. This is something they are keeping alive – I can hear them refer to it when they’re talking to one another.
Susan Eddie, HR Business Director. Celesio