November 5, 2015 in Events (live blogging), #cipd15

#cipd15 – Developing an effective leadership culture to support business change

Matt Elliott (Virgin Money), Inji Duducu (Benenden), William Hague (HMRC).
(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition – #cipd15 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)


William Hague (Chief People Office, HMRC) started us off, by sharing his headline reflections:

  • Be really clear on what good leadership looks like
  • Any transformation programme needs to involve leaders early and equip them
  • Interventions have to be ambitious, but we need to evaluate and be prepared to change
  • We need to create an infrastructure so that we don’t just fo short term ‘sheep dip’, and we’re in it for the long term


The world we live in is becoming increasing complex, we have a changing demographic, and digital is enabling lots of new opportunities. This means that the Civil Service needs a different kind of leadership, one that is agile with people who can drive transformational change (whilst at the same time, reducing costs). Leadership also needs to be able to attract and retain talent, against a backdrop of constant change.


What does good leadership look like? It is Inspiring, Confident, and Empowering. The Civil Service have defined this as their Civil Service Leadership Statement, so that they are clear about what observable behaviours they want:




HMRC have an incredibly clear purpose, and are focused on delivering that by putting their customers at the heart of everything they do. To deliver this, they’ve been running a programme called ‘Building our Future’ to drive the change.


HMRC have developed a new Leadership Academy for all leaders, recognising that they need to continue to drive this forwards. Thy’ve already planned five days leadership learning a year for the next 5 years for all leaders. A key component of this leadership development is their trust workshop. looking at leveraging the CIPD research (looking at ability, benevolence, integrity, and predictability) to transform and develop real trust as a foundation.

What have HMRC learned? HRBP engagement is key to success, messages have to be business owned and led (with HR support), leaders all need to be on message and credible, it is essential to ask for feedback AND act on it!


Inji Duducu (Group People Director, Benenden) gave us a brief introduction to Benenden (the 4th largest healthcare provider in the UK). Originally, you could only join Benenden if you worked for the Civil Service but that has all changed and Benenden have made big changes to their offerings and markets that they operate in.

In April 2014, they started to establish the building blocks of change, to establish a new operating system, launch a new product, do their first acquisition, redevelop a hospital, and launch digital channels. The things that was missing in the plan, was how to execute the people change – which is the point at which Inji joined.


Inji recommended a book – ‘Walking the talk’ by Carolyn Taylor – which has influenced they way that they lead change. Important factors include:


where leaders spend timr

Leadership visibility  – where you spend your time really signals what matters

Celebration – voted ‘most trusted healthcare provider’ 5 years in a row, but hadn’t shouted about it as much as they should. What gets recognised, gets repeated. Worked with OC Tanner – a shout out – appreciation hub. Anybody in the business can send anybody else in the business an e-card to say thank you or congratulations.



Benenden had a set of values but they didn’t look much different to loads of other organisation values (including those stated by Barclays and Enron). Benenden felt really special, but the essence of what made them special didn’t shine through in the values. Working with staff – and using appreciative enquiry – they distilled their real values into: care, mutuality, sustainability, and wellbeing.


They developed a capability framework and distilled their approach into ‘Leading the Benenden way’: Work with each other, honour our heritage, work through change, deliver results. Having done little leadership development for over 10 years, they now have a leadership programme based on their values and to implement their leadership approach,
(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition – #cipd15 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)

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