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Business simulation

Success at the AGR Development Awards!

Congratulations to Costain who won the AGR award for Business Led Development at the 2015 AGR Development Awards.

Costain is a leading engineering solutions provider working within complex supply chains.  Successfully managing relationships within this supply chain is critical to the success of projects and enables it to drive forward the Engineering Tomorrow strategy and, specifically, to meet its strategic objective of working in collaboration.

Working with Costain’s Richard Howell, Head of Supply Chain and the L&D team we designed a realistic experience that allows Costain graduates to explore and learn aspects of collaborating within complex supply chains, something that is highly relevant to their roles within the organisation.

Richard Howell summed it up best. “Costain has a very mature approach to Supply Chain Management which places a very high emphasis on collaborative working. Our success is hugely reliant upon our teams collaborating with our Supply Chain and other key stakeholders. The Big Build exercise has allowed us to give our Graduates a first-hand opportunity to practice in a safe environment and understand the importance of collaboration. Such behaviours are equally important when dealing with our Customers.“

In measuring its impact we spoke with graduate line managers and graduates 12 months post programme to understand the impact of the experience.

  • 70% of our line managers said that graduates ability to manage relationships within the supply chain increased as a result of participating in The Big Build
  • 87% of our graduates said that following The Big Build their knowledge of Costain’s supply chain has increased
  • 79% said that their ability to manage Costain’s supply chain has increased

We are particularly proud of this award.  It demonstrates our business led approach to designing relevant, experiential programmes that help generate real behavioural change.

Training hard and soft skills combined

I’ve just come back from running a 3-day programme in partnership with some consultants from Enviros.

This is quite an unusual mix in terms of subject matter, training content, and approach. Essentially, we are delivering a programme to assist people in a regulatory role in developing their skills for better long term outcomes with those they regulate - it’s a really challenging balance they have to strike!

The way we have chosen to achieve this mix is through a variety of inputs covering hard technical skills with soft influencing perspective, all woven around a business simulation which presents 3 “case studies” taken from real world situations. This simulation is then supported with actors playing the roles of key stakeholders.

To make this work, we’ve invested a great deal in building our team:

  • We all need to fully understand the strategic drivers facing the client and the complexities facing employees as they try to implement this strategy.
  • We all need to understand the underpinning theory of the programme whether it falls into our field of expertise or not.
  • We need to learn to flex our style of training so we present a consistent and credible face to the people on the programme.

A programme such as this presents unique challenges. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve learned from my co-presenters and the challenge of working together, and how much I’ve enjoyed it.

More importantly, we appear to be getting good results and further sign-up.

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A new graduate induction event

We’ve just run the first new graduate induction programme for PwC and are really pleased to say it gone well. These are big groups with 60+ participants each time and a further 30+ people form the business involved. Because we have created a dynamic project based “business simulation” format, it is no small feat to get this to run smoothly. It requires a lot of commitment form the client too, as they have to get stakeholders engaged and ensure they get to the right place at the right time on the day.


Back from Brasil

I’ve just returned from Brasil where I’ve been leading a trek in the mountains for people raising money for a charity. It’s been a great experience. I do it for fun really: It combines my own interest and experience in travel and the outdoors, with my experience of working with groups, and the satisfaction of introducing people to new things and learning.

Meanwhile in the office, everyone has been busy. We’ve landed some new work with existing clients and we have proposals in for my new work with both new and existing clients.

The business simulation we developed went really well, and we feel this is easily transportable to other clients and target groups and could be augmented with additional observation and feedback, and psychometrics.

Also new, and all happening while I was away, is our new 360 degree feedback tool. We now have the facility to deliver bespoke 360 degree feedback online and we ran this for a client a couple of weeks ago. The output was useful, and we’re also very please with the presentation of the material - online and in hard copy.