"This kind of oneness leads to better performance and better bottom line" Ian Deninson, HR Director, Carlsberg UK.
Impact on GS Group Ltd.
“As a consequence of the shift in the managing partner it is completely fair to say that in just 6 months, he has transformed the European business of this global company, leading to turnover in excess of targets and proven staff retention in a typically high turnover, high competition industry.”
GS Group contacted us with some really serious management issues which appeared to predominantly stem from a single member of the senior management team. After some initial consultation and discussion with senior decision makers we progressed to working with the individual in question.
This is how GS evaluated the success of our programme:
“The senior management team in London has been transformed from a group of individuals, each fighting for their own interests, into a cohesive, trusting, mutually supportive entity all as a result of the shift in behaviour of the managing partner.
After a thought provoking leadership programme with Horsejoy. The managing partner has reconnected his logical and emotional capabilities and conquered his fears that manifested in the office in a number of ways, including staff thinking he was manipulative, him backing down from confrontation and him failing to represent the needs of the local business to the CEO in Hong Kong. He has taken a true leadership role, pulling together the management team and acting as a cornerstone for the entire office. He communicates directly, adapts easily to confrontation and builds trust and respect in all his professional relationships. It is completely fair to say that in just 6 months, he has transformed the European business of this global company, leading to turnover in excess of targets and proven staff retention in a typically high turnover, high competition industry.”
Impact on St Luke's Advertising
" Perceptive and instructive - instinct triumphing over doubt and fear"
Thriving on creativity, curiosity and a sense of fun, St Luke's were always going to celebrate the added dimension that The Natural Leadership Centre could bring to their groundbreaking organisation. An organisation recognised not only for it’s originality of work but also for it’s people development priorities. St Luke's is an agency run by shareholders and co-owned by everyone working in it.
Business awards, mind-blowing creativity, rubbing shoulders with commercial giants and all that entails being part of an award winning team of industry experts, has not the slightest effect on an equine. Their only interest is survival by following centred, authentic behaviour. Horses negotiate their position in the herd on a minute-by-minute basis and will only follow a genuine leader.
St Luke’s criterion was to identify a powerful tool which would enable their people to effect growth and change within both the organisation and the client base. It was the NLC’s 'out of the box' programmes for development that fulfilled this.
Without exception, every individual displayed limiting patterns of behaviour - control, coercion, bribery, frustration and even anger. Also without exception, were they able to confront these behaviours and access the inner strengths and clarity that gave the horses the confidence to follow.
Their breakthrough experiences reminded St Luke’s of a company axiom – ‘there are no bosses, only leaders’ and were quickly able to assimilate the power of the horse metaphor in transforming relationships and moving projects forward.
The first International Advertising Agency to use Horse-Assisted Leadership is already reaping the benefits:
"I finally created positive affirmations from rambling self-doubt"
"Thank you for a unique and extraordinary experience - to help me take the next step on my journey"
"I now have renewed energy and belief in myself"
" Perceptive and instructive - instinct triumphing over doubt and fear"
"The horses were particularly revealing. A vessel for my feelings"
"Learnt much more about leadership and clarity"
"I learnt to take it easy and trust my judgment and those I walk forward with"
Impact on Interbrew
"Horsejoy is now a core part of our leadership strategy of creating unstoppable people"
We were approached by Alison Winch, HR Director of Interbrew UK, to facilitate a major cultural integration programme. We had to face off severe competition from ‘traditional’ leadership consultants as well as(understandably) massive scepticism internally. Much was at stake. This work was then unheard of.
Following a dramatically successful pilot, where we proved beyond all doubt how powerful, fast and cost-effective our work is, we were given the task of taking all C-level and senior teams through a series of intensive 2-day workshops. Twelve departments including the CEO came to us over a two-month period.
Their challenge was to integrate into one brand such diverse cultures as Whitbread and Bass Charrington and deliver double-digit profit growth year-on-year.
Interbrew were delighted with the results.
“We can now take the business forward from an entirely new level of team harmony.”
"Although Paul is an outstanding facilitator with a profound insight into transformational process, it was the horses who were the real heroes of the 2-day workshop. Their innocent honesty and playful willingness, touched the hearts of everyone present. An environment opened up where we each had a new awareness of ourselves and each other and can now take the business forward from an entirely new level of team harmony.”
“It began with a miracle…This breakthrough programme is now a core part of the leadership strategy in Interbrew UK of creating unstoppable people”
Impact on Océ (Canon UK)
“The clarity and effectiveness of the feedback from the horse is incredibly valuable, its hard for me to imagine how so much could be achieved in such a short space of time by using a conventional leadership simulation exercise.”
OCE UK approached us with concerns over meeting challenging profit targets following the acquisition by international conglomerate, Canon. We structured a programme tailored to meet the immediate needs of the company working with the key Directors and Executives who would essentially be involved in the management of the initial restructuring.
Finance Director Peter Anthem gave us an overview of his thoughts to date on his one to one work with Paul.
“Prior to the day I didn't really know what to expect. I knew horses were involved but I couldn't see how a horse could help in a business coaching exercise and as I had no real prior experience of horses I was slightly apprehensive. From a coaching perspective I wanted to try and get some form of support that would help me to navigate the significant organisational and career changes that I know will be coming in the next couple of years as a consequence of the Canon acquisition. Specifically my career has been reasonably successful to date without me really knowing why; I wanted to understand what I was doing that was making me successful so I could do more of it in the future. You could say I wanted to improve my selfawareness.
We started the day with Paul asking me what I wanted to achieve and telling me about his approach. I understood the theory but I still couldn't see how working with a horse would make me a better leader in business; I was soon to learn exactly how effective at providing feedback horses are! Paul gave me the choice of which horse to work with and I selected Ollie. We started with some rope work: Paul showed me what to do and I copied him. These were simple exercises having Ollie walk round me in a circle attached to the rope and then bring him to a halt at a given time. Although I had no real point of reference for success the exercises seemed to go very well and Paul congratulated me on what I had achieved in a short space of time.
In the afternoon we decided that I would work with Ollie without the rope, a much more difficult prospect! The objective that I set for myself was to walk Ollie from one end of the enclosure towards the other end, turn round about three quarters of the way down and then come back again over a small jump. This sounded fairly simple and I was feeling reasonably confident after the morning's session. My confidence was misplaced however, as things started to go wrong almost straight away. I found it very difficult to encourage Ollie to follow me anywhere, he was constantly questioning my authority by budging me off course and manoeuvring me away from the goal - at one point he worked me into a position where I was stuck between him and the fence heading the wrong way down the enclosure. As the session continued I suddenly sensed an opportunity to achieve part of my goal another way as by chance Ollie had positioned us facing the jump in the wrong direction. Needless to say when I tried to get him to jump it I failed!
After Ollie had walked off, unimpressed by my leadership skills, for about the 7th time I began to get quite frustrated and put it to Paul that it was my lack of horse handling skills that was holding me back. He cited the incident with the jump and told me that I needed to have a clearer sense of what the objective was and learn to trust in Ollie more. It was only after Paul had finally helped me to focus clearly that we achieved the goal.
The most interesting aspects of the day for me are:
The relative ease of the morning session could be seen to reflect my career so far with the difficult afternoon session being more indicative of my performance when I am faced with challenges completely outside my comfort zone. How I manage this in the business is going to be vital to my future success.
The issue of technical competence is also very interesting: I think I was looking for reasons to explain my failure in the afternoon session rather than trying to marshal the resources at my disposal to help me succeed. It was only when Paul helped me to focus that I actually managed to achieve the objective.
Allied to focus is the issue of goal clarity. I can think of a number of occasions where I have been inconsistent with the targets I have set for my team. In the workplace people are usually too polite to ask you "just explain to me exactly what it is you want us to achieve". With Ollie the feedback was instant and unambiguous, if there was nothing in it for him he simply walked off.
Trust; I have always thought that I am the kind of manager who trusts his staff and allows them to undertake tasks without too much interference from me. I would question now whether I really trust them to perform effectively on their own or whether my lack of involvement is more of an abdication of responsibility on my part.
The clarity and effectiveness of the feedback from the horse is incredibly valuable, its hard for me to imagine how so much could be achieved in such a short space of time by using a conventional leadership simulation exercise.
The challenge for me now is how I translate this feedback on who I am and how I operate into actions that will help improve me as a leader.