Inspiring And Enabling People
To Make A Difference
Upon returning from the UK Skills National Training Awards dinner I was reflecting on what had gone well with the project to see what I could learn and take with me to future clients. Whichever way I looked at it, I kept coming back to one answer (well one person actually) – Helen Franklin, the PLD Director at The Wrigley Company. However, whilst it would be great to take Helen with us to our new clients, I suspect she might have other ideas, and certainly lots of work to do to maintain Wrigley’s reputation for being one of the best, if not the best, company to work for in the South West!
From Day 1 on the project, Helen understood that the introduction of New Ways of Working would take more than just a new policy and some awareness sessions. Helen was not interested in a “quick fix”, she wanted the change to make an impact on the business and for it to be sustainable. Typically, many people in her role (at the time Helen was the Manager of Personnel Development), would see the change as “more work” or something that needed to be done quickly to tick the box and get on with the real work of training and development.
The very best clients know that to get the best out of their consultants though, it’s better to work with them and explore all of the opportunities. As such, the programme we devised jointly was both integrated and comprehensive. Helen has a knack for spotting the potential overlaps between intiatives and this was instrumental in the success that was achieved. In particular, Helen was championing a new approach to training and development and quickly identified a specific set of masterclasses that would not only enhance her training programme but would also, critically, support the new ways of working initiative.
Once the programme was designed, Helen was instrumental in achieving the top-level buy-in that is often missing from major change programmes. Admittedly, her task was made easier by the fact that the Managing Director is Gharry Eccles – positively one of the most forward looking MD’s I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Nevertheless, not everyone on the Board had bought in to the proposals, so Helen still needed to display her passion to get the green light and proceed.
Throughout the change programme, Helen monitored progress, stayed on top of the details and remained open to new ideas. In particular, she was flexible enough to try different formats of the designed programme if she felt it would deliver a better outcome. Consequently, one of the key programmes, Personal Effectiveness, was delivered with whole teams, with individuals that required some focused coaching as well as in it’s original open workshop format. Again, the focus was on the result not how pretty the schedule might look on the wall.
In addition to challenging us to deliver on the promises that we had all made, Helen was taking on more and more responsibility internally. Unsurprisingly, this obvious energy and commitment to excellence meant that she also managed to achieve two promotions during the period.
Somewhere in here I know there are several pointers as to what it takes to drive through strategic change, but the key one for me is one that I haven’t mentioned yet – Helen’s ability to take her team with her. As Helen’s career continues to develop I know that even though the size of the team will change, her talent for building professional and nurturing relationships will not.