Change in strategy requiring shift in leadership culture
“The work with RISE has got all of our top 60 people thinking more strategically and now the development of strategy is happening all the time and feels co-created by us all, not me disappearing into a cave on my own!”
Chris Oglesby, CEO Bruntwood
Bruntwood was founded in 1976, and remains a family owned property business with assets across the UK. It provides flexible office space, retail & state of the art science lab spaces. What we love about Bruntwood is how they not only offer outstanding spaces, but they have a deep connection to the communities in which they work and promote many initiatives from business accelerator programmes, to providing support to culture and the arts.
- The challenge: Change in strategy requiring a shift in culture
- The work: Development of top level of the business
- Outcomes: Collaborative leadership culture
The work RISE did with Bruntwood achieved acknowledgment by being shortlisted as a finalist in the CIPD people management awards in 2018.
RISE first started working with Bruntwood in 2015 when the CEO felt that the management culture of the business needed to evolve to meet the more complex environment the business was moving into. Bruntwood’s background is in mainstream commercial property, where a hierarchical, more traditional management approach has supported strong business growth in key cities around the UK. However, as they entered into more collaborative partnerships and sought to establish themselves in the science and technology sector, they realised a different type of leadership and management was required.
“There is now a real sense of us being a team with a collective responsibility to support the changing culture of Bruntwood.”
Polly McAllester, Leadership Director
Our work started with the Executive team. We spent time through a series of workshops supporting the development of trust and connection between members, addressing areas of conflict in the group , to support them in developing the strength in their foundations to move forward.. Shortly after we started work with this group, we initiated a customised leadership development programme for senior management as a way to start to bring the next level of the business into more senior leadership conversations.
The focus of these small group programmes was to connect people from across the business, those in different roles, with different experiences and insights and bring them together in a facilitated space where people could work on individual leadership practices as well as learning and supporting each other in their work. These small peer groups then connected in the larger, newly formed senior leadership team on a 6 monthly basis, where we facilitated offsites, creatively engaging the larger group in key strategic challenges and opportunities for the business. This process and rhythm enabled cross-organisation connection and sharing which positively impacted the organisation’s collaborative culture.
By 2017 the senior management of Bruntwood could recognise how much the culture had shifted, underpinned by a profound shift in coherence around the purpose of the business and each individual’s connection to that purpose.
In addition to the ongoing work with the executive team and the senior leadership group, our partnership evolved to include rolling out the RCA programme to the next level of management, providing facilitation training to the HR team, supporting key individuals of the C-Suite on particular challenges and implementing a process for encouraging ongoing connection and sharing across the business through internally run Peer Learning Groups.
Our work with Bruntwood, and the impact it had on the leadership culture of the business was nominated for a CIPD People Management Award in 2018. Whilst, like any business there remain challenges and points of friction, the increased leadership capability across a larger group of people has enabled the business to be more agile and adaptable in times of increased stress and uncertainty. People at Bruntwood speak of their experience working with RISE as enabling deep personal realisations and development as much as they do the impact it had on the organisation as a whole.
Bruntwood has transformed in so many ways throughout this period and through its various acquisitions and partnerships now operates a multi sector portfolio through it’s Bruntwood SciTech, BruntwoodWorks and UnifySolutions businesses. In 2020 their Science Parks were a core part of the national effort in supporting the understanding and development of vaccinations against COVID-19.
RISE continues to provide ad hoc support and guidance to Bruntwood on specific projects and initiatives.
“The value placed on openness, appreciation and challenging conversations is far more powerful than any 'traditional' leadership development or team building initiatives I have experienced in the past.”
Jen Atkins, HR Director