Active Management Development Programme


Formerly a public sector organisation and now privatized, Arqiva is the market leader in broadcast transmission, media services, communications infrastructure, and network solutions. It supports leading TV and radio broadcasters in the UK, satellite and media solutions, and wireless access for cellular, wireless, broadband, voice and data solutions. Having undergone changes in board membership, the company has set itself 3 major strategic goals:

To achieve £1bn turnover by 2016

To be in the top 10 of The Sunday Times “Top 100 Best Companies to Work For” list by 2016

To achieve 75% customer satisfaction by 2016

Primeast had worked with Arqiva since 2007 providing management development for both new managers and managers moving to more senior positions however this had been a select population. It was decided to develop these skills across the wider organisation and support a consistent approach to performance management, communication, team development and managing tasks.

The Brief

Since Arqiva decided to make the Active Management Development Programme compulsory for all people with management responsibility (even if this only meant responsibility for one person), Primeast’s challenge was to create a programme suitable for all managers. In practice, this meant that the programme would be rolled out to over 400 managers, many of whom were engineers promoted into managerial positions who were now required to lead the business in the achievement of extremely challenging goals. Given it was important that participants were able to see leadership as part of their daily work, the solution had to ensure that learning was transferred to the workplace in practical and sustainable ways. It was also important that all managers were trained in as short a space of time as possible, so that real change could happen quickly and enable swift progress towards the strategic goals.

Initial design consultation was carried out to ensure the client’s needs were fully understood, a pattern that forms the basis of our consulting model, ELAS™ (Engage – Learn – Apply – Sustain: the model ensures all the necessary and desired aspects of a project are discussed between the client and Primeast so we can effectively create the conditions for sustainable performance improvement). A key element of this process was a close liaison with the project manager for the programme, in order to ensure a smooth roll out which would capture all managers. Two pilot programmes were run to test the course design, the feedback from which being used to make necessary adjustments.

The Solution

The programme content was structured simply around 3 main areas of management – Managing Yourself, Managing Others, and Managing the Task. The material was designed to be flexible, suiting all levels of management and experience whilst covering the same topic areas. Since it was imperative that participants were wholly engaged, the programme made full use of Primeast’s experiential approach, based around our learning cycle of practical activity, short theory inputs, practical exercise and reflection. The main theoretical input involved Situational Leadership® (copyright The Ken Blanchard Companies), which was used to explore different stages of leadership development and their corresponding management styles.

The programme involved a combination of face-to-face training (2 days off-site residential, plus 1 day follow up) and 3 telephone coaching sessions to support implementation in the workplace. In addition, the participants undertook three work-based assignments – one for each management area. Two of these assignments were for individuals to work on individually, with the final one designed for them to work on as a team, reporting their outcomes to a senior management audience during the 1 day follow up session. In all, the programme took 6-8 weeks to complete and covered the following topics:

  • The Responsibilities of the Active Manager
  • Managing Your Time
  • Situational Leadership®
  • Communicating with Others
  • Team Development and Team Working
  • Coaching
  • Managing Tasks and Projects
  • Commitment to Action on Real Workplace Challenges

Key design features:

  • 7 to 1 trainer ratio
  • Residential workshops – 3rd day attended by a senior manager(s)
  • Telephone coaching to support implementation in the workplace
  • Work-based assignments to ensure practical application of the learning

The Results

  • 421 managers benefited from the programme between October 2011 and June 2012. This represented the entire management population.
  • Evaluation scores were high (4.7 out of 5 on a Kirkpatrick level 1, 2 and 3 evaluation) with many managers quoting it as the best development programme they had ever attended
  • Anecdotal evidence indicated that the learning was having an immediate effect on the way people led and managed their immediate team(s)
  • Return On Investment – 43 of the team work-based projects generated several important applications which were taken forward at a corporate level by the business

“I have learnt more from this Active Management Programme than I thought, and am finding it very useful, especially the telephone coaching. My Coach, Daniel Pettigrew is very switched on, analysing my modus operandi and giving me some pointers to upping my game. Clearly Primeast was a good choice.

Interestingly, before the merger the organisation ran a similar, but far more extensive course on management called the One Day Series. It was at a similar time to this, in that the management wished to make changes to the culture of the organisation. I don’t believe it ever really delivered any of the desired outcomes. A dreadful waste of money and a ‘lose, lose’ outcome. As there are defined outcomes required from the delegates in this instance, this will succeed, where the previous attempt failed. So this will be a ‘win, win’!

I remember being fairly cynical when we were first briefed about the Primeast programme – so reflecting on that I’ve learned not to prejudge the situation, give it a chance and don’t rush to judgment. Thank you for the opportunity to take part and I will continue to contribute to our team’s effort to make things better.”

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