A case study in leadership development


Our client is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defence products. They design, manufacture and service systems and components as well as providing integrated solutions for commercial, regional, business and military aircraft, helicopters and other platforms. They are also a major supplier to international space programmes.

The site where our programme took place supplies electric and hydraulic powered actuators and advanced carbon-fibre products for commercial aerospace and defence applications. Products range from single actuators to complete flight control systems for the fixed wing, rotorcraft and missile segments.

The Challenge

The client was going through a period of organisational change and growth and the senior leadership team identified it was vital to develop the leadership capability of the first line leaders across the business to retain competitive advantage in the market place. As a result of business growth a recruitment drive was needed to fill the vacancies created and this identified a gap in the internal management expertise and experience so the additional challenge of building capability and capacity from within for a robust succession plan was identified.

“I have had a very positive experience from the course. The personal benefits have been very rewarding and given me new direction in both my professional and personal life. I believe I can now pass on my learning and develop my team both rewarding them and the business. The course was very professional and comprehensive in its content and delivery.”

The Objectives

The initial objectives identified by the client were used to collaborate with Industry Forum in the design and development of a bespoke leadership development programme to meet the business challenges. The programme was linked to a formal nationally recognised leadership and management qualification and included assignment and project work.  The remit for the project work was that each cohort of participants were split into teams and allocated projects to improve the business performance in terms of the Quality, Cost or Delivery targets.

The critical outcomes were that all first line managers improved their leadership and managements skills and hence felt more confident and were more effective in their roles. The key measure for this programme over the long term continues to be the number of internal promotions compared to the number of vacant positions that have to be filled via external recruitment.

“Industry Forum tailored the training to suit our needs and delivered it efficiently without it feeling a classroom-based exercise. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between colleagues that I don’t normally meet in formal situations”.

The Industry Forum Solution

To meet the client’s needs identified during the initial analysis and assessment phase, Industry Forum used an organisational development approach to design a bespoke modular training programme.  Working closely with the customer and defining what was in and out of scope led to the comprehensive programme outlined below:

This programme was delivered quarterly to groups of 8-10 managers from all areas across the business including, operations, engineering, design, purchasing and sales. Industry Forum used its established “learn by doing” approach by running practical workshop sessions with the teams and following up with individual coaching sessions to ensure new skills were embedded into the manager’s daily standard work tasks.

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