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Dwr Cymru Welsh Water - Senior Leadership Team Development

May 17th, 2017

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water - Senior Leadership Team Development

In 2015 we were asked to support a senior leadership team within Welsh Water to improve their performance, develop a more resilient culture and develop their leadership skills as individuals and as a team.

The project consisted of the following elements:

Diagnosis: ‘live’ 360 feedback; completion of R@W Sustain 7 resilience questionnaire and the Team Dysfunction Questionnaire; observation of a team meeting

Development: two-day team development workshop; one-to-one coaching sessions over six months

Review: follow-up one-day team development workshop after six and twelve months.

This project incorporates three main elements – using psychometric assessments, 360 feedback and team development.

‘Live’ 360 Degree feedback was used as an extremely effective way of evaluating senior leaders with regard to their’:

  • Core strengths and personal development priorities
  • Best contributions to senior team performance and the most useful ways to enhance team effectiveness even further
  • Preparedness for meeting the future challenges of the organisation
  • Influence and impact on the culture of the organisation

Feedback interviews: each senior leader nominated individuals who they believed had a good line of sight on their performance and who would offer valuable feedback. Through careful questioning and probing, our team members developed a very clear picture of each senior leader’s impact on others, their current performance and leadership style

Resilience@work (R@W) helps people to understand the degree to which they are managing and utilising personal, interpersonal and other resources to build their resilience.

Completion of the R@W questionnaire helped individuals appreciate where and how to best develop greater resilience.

Feedback session and Personal Leadership Development Plan: The results were presented to each leader in a comprehensive report. The key themes and findings from the live 360 and the R@W questionnaire were clearly identified, with the confidentiality of each respondent carefully maintained.

After some time for reflection, our coach met with each leader to explore the results and develop a Personal Leadership Development Plan. The plan will typically included a number of individual and joint activities – supporting the growth of the individual, team and broader organisation.

Completion of the Team Dysfunction Questionnaire: In addition to the 360 degree process, each leader completed a Team Dysfunctions Questionnaire. The questionnaire results, taken together, offer the team an opportunity to review its current functioning with respect to critical soft and hard performance factors using Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team model. The Five Dysfunctions model is well-respected and has been used successfully with senior teams across a wide range of sectors world-wide. It includes the following elements:

  • Developing deep trust
  • Mastering and harnessing conflict
  • Building shared commitment to decisions
  • Fostering supportive shared accountability
  • Prioritising collective success

Observation of a team meeting: Our coach attended part of a team meeting in order to observe the interaction between team members and effectiveness of team processes.

Two-day Team Development Workshop: This two-day workshop was designed to capture the momentum for change and improvement generated by the Live 360 degree feedback process. Whereas, the 360 degree feedback focused on individual development, this workshop supported the team’s growth in the following ways:

1. Ensuring the team optimises its potential to deliver excellent results for Welsh Water and its customers

2. Encouraging the team to be consistently characterised by positive mutual support and constructive challenge

3. Enabling each member of the team to make high-value contributions to its success

4. Helping all participants to understand and overcome the five common barriers to the success of senior teams

Individual Coaching Sessions: Each participant will received individual coaching sessions over a six month period following the two-day team workshop. These sessions were with the same coach as the live 360 feedback and built on the action plan developed at that time. Participants completed a pre- and post-session form that will allowed their line manager and HR to evaluate progress towards their goals.

Follow-up Team Workshop: Six months after the initial team workshop, we will facilitate a further development day for the team. This workshop will evaluate progress and seek to address any outstanding actions or development areas. This element of the programme is still remaining to be delivered.

Contract outcomes: since this programme started, it has been expanded to a further senior team within Welsh Water with further teams due to be added over the next year. The expansion of the programme has been in large part due to the success of the initial phase described above with significant change being seen in individuals and the team as a whole and performance targets being achieved that were expected to be missed.

Testimonials from the team include:

“The live 360s were a great opportunity to get feedback into my performance, where I am doing well and where I could improve. It has also helped us develop as a team to ensure we are supporting one another more and has helped us become more resilient. Without the honest feedback, this would have been hard to achieve.”

“Having undertaken several 360 degree questionnaires which have provided useful feedback to help with self-development, they have not been as rounded and immersive as a live 360. Live 360s enable the facilitator to probe into some of the more subjective judgements than may go down on a piece of paper, to get more objective evidence, depth of feeling and honesty behind the scoring during a live 360. This can target and prioritise more specific development opportunities for the benefit of individuals and the more honest the feedback the more opportunity there is for the recipient to improve.”



Pip Gwynn


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