Andy Lancaster (Hanover Housing Group) – @AndyLancasterUK

One-sentence summary: Be creative and design a leadership development programme that gives you exactly what you want and need.

Andy opened by setting the scene talking about how effective middle managers are crucial, but are often neglected and under pressure. They’re under pressure, fire-fighting, and trying to create time to innovate for the future with 2/3 of middle managers feeling ill-equipped to do their job. The motivation for middle manager development is to support manager improvement, to help establish connections, and to improve performance management. Andy talked about good programmes being about knowledge, practice, and qualification as being solid parts of an effective programme. Hanover didn’t want to send people on external training programmes as they wanted something in-house that would be tailored to Hanover.

Hanover has a number of expected outcomes from the training:

Aligning to business, asking what (top-down and bottom-up) is needed, involving managers in programme design, offering some learner choice within the programme (where learners could study a leader of their choice), and linking to business improvement.

Realising value for money, pioneering an in-house qualification, having the Board attend the candidate graduation.

Hanover make sure that they’re connecting their leadership development to business issues and connecting to live business projects.

I was delighted to hear Andy talk about something he described as a mistake (as case studies often only share the things that work) in that they didn’t do enough to encourage networking between participants, so they now start the programme by eating together.

Andy quoted from ‘The wisdom of bees’ about the power of the hive (collaboration) and as well as sharing some mistakes, also interviewed a provider and a course attendee so we got a variety of perspectives.

A real-life warts and all insight into how an organisation develops their leaders which has created a significant and measurable business impact