Anthony Walker

Anthony Walker

Group Director

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Transforming conversations at Virgin Trains: part five

August 11, 2017

Discover how Virgin Trains’ leaders and middle management population received training around the conversational Super-Skills™.

Day five in the life of Virgin Trains

Creating a new culture throughout any organisation requires leaders to demonstrate the new behaviours and believe fully in the new vision. That’s why Virgin Trains’ People team needed to familiarise themselves with the concept of conversational leadership before equipping leaders and middle management with the five conversational Super-Skills™ that underpin the new culture.

As in most organisations, there was a real mix of ‘conversational’ ability amongst the management population. Some were natural communicators, some had become adept through learning and development, others needed to work hard to develop and change their style.

Ready to see how these issues were resolved and training was delivered to the management population?

Part five - training the management population

In early 2016, the The Right Conversation and the People team co-delivered 6 sessions to managers across Virgin Trains at the company’s national training centre in Crewe. The purpose was to ensure that each member of the 6-strong People team had the opportunity to practise leading the workshop whilst still supported by experts from The Right Conversation.

After they had developed the confidence to deliver the sessions alone, Virgin Trains’ People team, led by Stacey Pugh, development consultant at Virgin Trains Academy, continued the roll-out to the rest of the middle management population.

As the workshop was delivered through the management layers of Virgin Trains, the People team decided to shorten the workshop to one day to enable front-line supervisors to attend more easily.

However, it remained crucial for the programme to have the Virgin Group’s unique, relaxed style, even when it was adapted for different levels of the organisation.

Embedding and measuring the programme

The Super-Skills™ programme hasn’t been a one-off attempt at improving conversations throughout Virgin Trains. In fact, the programme has been embedded into its Future Leaders programme and has driven an increase in leaders asking for 360 degree feedback from peers and direct report.

Want to know how Virgin Trains completed its transformation? Read about the sixth and final part to discover how the programme has been embedded into the organisation and how its impact has been measured.

Transforming conversations at Virgin Trains

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