The one where we managed a sensitive leadership restructuring process
A public sector organisation needed to undertake a significant leadership restructuring at the most senior level, bringing about major change and reducing the headcount of the operation. In a changing political environment and with drastically reduced funding, it was clear that “what worked before” for the operation was not going to work in the future. All directors and senior managers were required to reapply for redesigned roles with a 25% reduction in the number of positions available at that level.
This was a challenging task – all the senior managers had been with the organisation for many years and many were totally committed to its specific aims and to its public service ethos. We were asked to support the organisation in the decision making process by providing objective assessment of each of the individuals involved in the restructuring. No-one was likely to take bad news well and so the entire process needed to be managed with the utmost sensitivity while also being extremely robust.
A comprehensive assessment and interview process was designed to bring objectivity to the selection project. The emphasis was on assessing leadership and communication skills as well as the ability to work effectively across a complex organisation and with multiple stakeholders. The new board would need to be able to rapidly design, instigate and manage change if it was to survive. Personality questionnaires and carefully selected psychometric exercises were used along with an exhaustive feedback interview to verify and understand the output of the assessment tools. The information gathered from this process was used to support the final interviews and selection decisions, resulting in strong appointments being made for all roles.
A stressful and difficult time for a number of participants was made easier by sensitive handling of the situation and positive reinforcement through the process – whatever the personal outcome for the individual. All candidates, whether they were appointed or not, received extensive feedback and further coaching.