Serco Group has experienced huge growth in recent years as a trusted partner of UK government in the handling of a range of major contracts including the Docklands Light Railway and the National Physical Laboratory.
Having set its goal on becoming a FTSE100 company by 2010, Serco engaged Kiddy to help it identify the attributes of the leaders it would need to achieve this target. We used a short but effective approach to gather data from high performing people in Serco across their business: identifying four things that differentiated good performers and four that differentiated great performers. These have been used to increase the effectiveness with which Serco leaders select, manage and develop others.
Serco recognise that the quality of its leadership was a critical component in achieving its growth targets. From being a £30m company operating government contracts in the UK, where everyone knew each other and had an intuitive sense of leadership skills, Serco was now a global business, with different challenges.
The initial work by Serco identified the Heart, Head and Hands of Leaders in Serco. Kiddy were engaged to do systematic research among the company’s high performers to identify the attributes they possessed which enabled them to be successful. The key requirement was to develop some practical tools that would enable them to select the right sorts of people.
Operating in a low margin business with contracts spread out over the UK and internationally, it required a short and sharp approach. Although we used some face to face interviews, we did the majority of the interviewing by telephone. We interviewed a cross-section of high-performing leaders in Serco to objectively identify the key characteristics they demonstrated in their roles as well as understanding from the Executive team what the key business challenges were.
We identified four key differentiators which enabled them to deliver good performance, and a further four which deliver great performance, as well as establishing the more practical leadership skills.
This work provided Serco with clarity about the leadership needed to enable them to continue their progress from being good to being great and hitting their FTSE100 goal.
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