case studies, culture change, leadership, leadership development

Professionalising leadership in a legacy organisation

How we think about leadership has developed radically over the past few decades. In this legacy organisation, most senior leaders had worked together for 15 years or more. Cohering as a leadership group had never been a priority because they knew each other so well. And they’d never thought about professionalising leadership because they all became leaders by virtue of their seniority in other functions. That approach wasn’t serving the organisation and was undermining their credibility with an increasingly millennial workforce.

What did we do?

In helping this organisation, Moved focused on two elements.

  1. Understanding what leadership in the workforce demands right this moment.
  2. Developing a sense of the leadership team as a distinct group with a shared purpose, not just heads of functions.

Moved invited this disengaged leadership group into a behaviours discussion, using insight from Barbara Kellerman about how leadership education has been going wrong. We wanted them to think about leadership now, not when they were first promoted or first joined the organisation.

Moved built on their deep insight into the organisations and the challenges it faced, as well as anonymous feedback from staff surveys to curate their intuitions and impressions into a decisive list of how everyone believed they should be behaving.

But commitments on paper don’t often lead to changes in reality. To help people feel what professionalising leadership meant in practice, Moved facilitated a series of workshops. Each one focused on how those behaviours looked and sounded, inviting people to recognise good and bad in the everyday. Those workshops generated insight into how the group experienced working with each other. And we could then restart the conversation about how the group should work together.

This post is part of our case-studies series. You can read more about what we’ve achieved for people and organisations in other case studies here.