Leadership, collaboration and fuel poverty
The ‘Igniting Leadership’ module of the British Gas Residential Services Leaders Programme was designed to enable leaders to deepen their perspectives on key external issues, complex environments and collaborative working.
After consultation with the participants we identified affordable warmth and fuel poverty as the key external issue to focus on, and we devised a project with Middlesbrough Environment City – a charity that runs the local Affordable Warmth Group consortium – to immerse the British Gas leaders in the reality of life for vulnerable customers.
The challenge was to support the charity to mobilise senior representatives of the consortium to adopt a more strategically aligned approach – a task that played to the British Gas development objectives around complex environments, collaborative working and advanced leadership.
Part of the immersion involved talking to elderly customers suffering fuel poverty and understanding first-hand the links between poorly insulated homes, respiratory health problems and financial literacy.
Gaining an understanding of the bigger picture of fuel poverty then enabled the participants to devise and deliver a workshop for the Affordable Warmth Group to help them define a strategy for collaborative leadership.
By working in an unfamiliar setting the British Gas leaders were able to embed key leadership behaviours such as communicating a vision and presenting with impact. But the benefits were deeper than that: it gave them first-hand experience of the everyday reality for many of their customers, resulting in an engaging, meaningful and memorable learning journey.
“A truly memorable development experience for our leaders. The project was meaningful which led to feelings of responsibility to deliver a valuable service to the group and to throw ‘all you’ve got’ at the two days…
“A great test of leadership performance in a new / uncertain environment.
“Facilitated expertly throughout the two days – standing back enough to allow delegates to experience and identify what was and wasn’t working for them, and challenging at the right times through keen observations on how both personal and group objectives were being achieved over the two days.”
Charlotte Snowdon, Learning & Development Business Partner, British Gas