The screaming newspaper headlines of the future said it all:
“KB Storms to No 1 - UBS annihilated in PAM Awards”
“Queen sacks Coutts - Appoints KB”
“KB Dominates Sector - Profits Quadrupled, Record Results, Bucks Trend”
These imaginary headlines about Kleinwort Benson Bank came from carefully selected champions of change across the bank, known as Energisers. They took part in a highly creative series of events looking at the bank’s future and visualising what success might eventually look and feel like.
When Kleinwort Benson came to Maynard Leigh, they were already a bank on the move. With new CEO Robert Taylor at the helm, there was a new sense of urgency, fresh energy and strategy. Though Taylor’s aim is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, his HR team saw a need to ensure people understood what it would mean to work in the revitalised organisation.
The team therefore planned a series of communication events and started by identifying a critical mass of one hundred Energisers. These then attended a one-day event, working together in small groups, exploring the implications of the changes, how to approach the situation and what it meant for attitudes.
They also acted as newshounds, setting out to uncover the real story behind the bank’s announcements, probing deeply into the situation and highlighting issues to address. At their separate tables, groups developed and then submitted a series of tough questions designed to put CEO Robert Taylor on the spot.
Apart from devising the imaginary success headlines, Energisers also explored Maynard Leigh’s Victim and Chooser model, highlighting how people respond to changing circumstances. This became an important way of thinking about the company’s new direction and helped with devising strategies for a constructive, creative response to the changes.
Most of those attending the event found it a useful way to come to terms with the changes, and for identifying productive ways of making these work.
Summing up the whole experience, KB’s HR Director Diane King commented: “The consultants at Maynard Leigh grabbed our thoughts and translated these into an exceptional experience for all. We found every consultant responsive and eager to build on our initial ideas. Our people left exhilarated and ready for the business challenges we’re facing. This proved a worthwhile investment prior to a major business and culture change programme, and one that continues to pay off for us.”