We worked with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on our Management Development Programme.
The role of the FCO is to deliver UK policies abroad. The FCO finances and manages some 233 overseas diplomatic posts (e.g. Embassies and High Commissions). They are linked to the headquarters in London in a single, global network employing some 6,000 UK-based staff and 10,000 staff recruited locally overseas. In London, the FCO gives foreign policy advice to Ministers and other Government Departments and ensures that the UK’s international agenda and priorities are taken into account in Whitehall’s policy process.
The FCO required an innovative and challenging learning experience for their first line managers which had a range of strategic priority objectives.
Taylor Clarke successfully tendered for two organisation-wide management development programmes in 2006.
A 5-day residential programme was developed for the middle managers, along with pre-programme work and post-programme coaching from a dedicated facilitator.
A 4-day non-residential programme was development for the first line managers, along with pre-programme work and post-programme coaching.
The middle management programme and first line manager programme were rigorously piloted and evaluated by the HR/L&D department and ‘critical friends’ in November 2006 and January 2007 respectively.
Both programmes follow the Taylor Clarke learning model: we involve line managers of participants at the outset, to help ensure support and reinforcement of learning back at work. Each programme also uses 360˚ feedback diagnostics and coaching sessions with their dedicated facilitator, over a period of 2-4 months.
During the 4 or 5 day programme, we employed highly experiential learning methods, with intensive peer-and facilitator-feedback. Appreciated most by the participants to date, is the Taylor Clarke ‘style’ of delivery and facilitation. To summarise this: we listen to participants’ real concerns and the reality of their working environments; we engage with them, in conveying our theory and models around leadership and management, in a way which stimulates their interest, and enables them to test out for themselves, the workability of our approach. Through the intense nature of the programme they really learn something valuable about themselves, and about themselves as leaders of people, which they can immediately translate to their back-at-work lives.
End of programme evaluations consistently show high ratings – against programme objectives, pre-programme activities, course design, and facilitation. For example, on a 10 point scale, the first three middle management programmes averaged ratings of 7.9 and the two 1st line management programmes averaged ratings of 7.8. ‘Increasing awareness of your personal impact (on your team’s performance and/or motivation levels) was rated top for both programmes. ‘Learning to flex your management style, from directive through to a coaching approach’ was second top for both programmes. It is still early days in the programme roll-out, with many participants still participating in post-programme 1-1 coaching with their dedicated facilitator. However, we are in the process of gathering evidenced behavioural changes – from the workplace – for all programme participants, and will report this back as soon as we can.