Spratley & Partners: developing our leadership capability
Data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2015 showed that nearly three-quarters of SMEs in England wanted to improve leadership and management skills. It has also been demonstrated that effective management practices help explain differences in firm level performance and underlie international variations in economic performance.
Spratley & Partners is an approachable team of architects with a reputation for maximising potential: of people, design, planning and return on investment. They have built a strong reputation in the South East for working with clients in a collaborative way to deliver beautifully designed and commercially viable buildings. The practice has grown on the back of their reputation for forming enduring relationships with their clients.
As the practice has grown, so has the need for strong people leadership. The team are all extremely well skilled but had not had any bespoke, formal, leadership training. Experiential learning is one of the most effective ways of learning, however, when partnered with formal learning and coaching feedback, the end result is far greater and can be much more targeted to the needs of a leadership team.
In 2017, Getfeedback were selected to work with Spratley & Partners to help grow their capability as a leadership team. At Getfeedback we appreciate that in small- and medium-sized businesses client facing time is paramount and meeting tight deadlines is the norm. Our approach is to be bespoke to the needs of the leadership team and time flexible to the work load of the practice. Robert Kennedy, Director at Spratley & Partners confirms, “We were keen that everyone was involved as a collective and Getfeedback were very flexible with us and changed workshops to suit our hectic diaries.” Avoiding busy times and moving face-to-face meetings and skill development sessions at the last minute is all part of this approach. At Getfeedback we appreciate that personal development has a double cost as it is not client chargeable time.
As part of the initial relationship building process, Getfeedback sought to understand the needs of the Leadership Team at Spratley & Partners as well as the vision of the practice. We then worked individually with each member of the leadership team helping them to understand how their personality and motivational preferences impacts on their leadership style. Taking time to reflect on individual strengths and develop new skills to bridge any gaps in the skillset, helped cement leadership confidence.
“A bespoke approach was key for us as we wanted to strengthen our capability as a management team as well as individually”, explains Robert Kennedy.
High-performing leadership team
A leadership team needs to work together in a collaborative way. Sharing individual strengths and preferences as a group highlights where the team has great strength and how they can leverage off each other but also highlights where there may be gaps. Getfeedback specialise in facilitating these powerful conversations and in growing team awareness and respect for difference and its relevance to successful team work. The team at Spratley & Partners know each other well and the team session helped to formalise this knowledge, adding value by forming strategy, creativity and action, as well as engaging the practice as a whole to set the team’s vision.
Leadership skill formal learning
Getfeedback designed three bespoke Leadership Skill Development sessions based on the needs of the leadership team: Build Confidence and Celebrate Success, Becoming an Inspiring Communicator and Effective Delegation and Coaching.
Half-day sessions were also offered to employees outside of the leadership team if they felt it would be beneficial to attend. The timing of the sessions was extremely flexible to make life as easy as possible for the busy practice.
The Leadership Team held a ‘whole practice’ session to showcase the key areas they were leading on. The session engaged the whole organisation in the strategic direction of Spratley & Partners, building ownership and motivation within the practice.
Robert Kennedy commented after the sessions, “Our coaching as a team is good. We have more self-awareness and are making more time to lead and coach.”
The whole team has grown in their leadership confidence and are taking a proactive approach in how they drive business strategy together. The business continues to grow at a fast pace, along with the number of people working for them. Their ability to maintain employee engagement and inspire and empower others to take ownership of the vision is core to their success.