Sellafield Ltd - a blended approach to leadership

Sellafield Ltd is Europe’s largest nuclear site and has the world’s most diverse range of nuclear facilities situated on a single site. Employing over 11,000 people, it is responsible for safeguarding nuclear fuel, materials and waste.

Sellafield Ltd is undergoing a major transformation as it moves from a long history of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to a mission of decommissioning and environmental clean-up.The organisation is on a mission to become “safer, sooner.”

We have undertaken Leadership Development before but never on this scale. Lane4 has been a fantastic organisation to partner with to develop the LE3AD programme. We are already seeing the benefits of using a common leadership language across the organisation. Our leaders continually share how insightful, engaging and inspiring they have found the programme and really appreciate how easy it is to apply the tools back in their day job.

Joanna Petrie-Rout, Head of Leadership Development at Sellafield Ltd

A new leadership programme to complement a new transformation plan

A key plank of this transformation plan was leadership development. To meet its commitments to the government, the taxpayer and the workforce of the future, Sellafield Ltd aimed to develop a culture and leadership behaviours that nurtured people to:

  • focus on delivering value
  • hold each other to account
  • work collaboratively and innovatively
  • take ownership of and pride in their work.
  • Sellafield Ltd selected Lane4 to create this high-performance culture and drive a consistent leadership approach throughout the organisation.

The result was the LE3AD programme.

The Solution

  • Design of the programme

    With 2,700 leaders needing to go through the programme, Lane4 designed LE3AD to be contextualised for each leadership population, making it as relevant and applicable as possible for the leaders.

    However, developing a shared language was key, and so all leaders complete three core modules:

    • Engage (Leading Self)
    • Empower (Leading Others)
    • Evolve (Leading the Enterprise)

    A key concept of the programme is that Every Contact Leaves A Trace. This idea, explored through dramatisation and simulation, challenges each leader to think about what trace they’re choosing to leave on those around them.

  • A long-term blended learning programme

    Still ongoing, the multi-year programme is delivered using a blended approach that allows delegates to supplement their face-to-face learning with access to on-demand learning tools and resources. Leaders unlock new resources and activities as they progress through their LE3AD journey. This allows delegates to personalise their learning experience.

    To make this possible, leading digital specialist, LEO Learning, created a bespoke Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that forms the central hub of the programme. It includes a module booking system as well as hosting the digital tools and resources with which leaders were provided. The vision for the VLE was that leaders had ‘just in time’ resources available to them on any device should they come across leadership challenges during their working day. This ensured that the learning did not remain purely theoretical.

    Additional components included 1:1 coaching, action learning groups, self-assessments, team diagnostics and toolkits, and a high performance environment scan with unique dashboard access for every leader.

  • Keeping the learning going

    A core design principle was to ensure that the learning and behaviour change that resulted from the LE3AD programme was sustainable and embedded into the way leaders operated back in the business.

    Leaders receive different communications and nudges throughout the programme that direct them back to the VLE to encourage more learning, but it also stays fresh by releasing a series of ‘Hot Topics’ for leaders who have completed the programme. This is a monthly focus that draws on a key topic explored in the programme and links it to a current Sellafield Ltd context.

    The ‘Hot Topic’ is focused on three stages: Reflect, Apply and Do. The ‘Reflect’ learning is an infographic that draws on a key model from the LE3AD programme. The ‘Apply’ is a webinar that is delivered with a Lane4 subject matter expert and a Sellafield Ltd business leader. The ‘Do’ activity is an activity that leaders can take away and implement with their teams. This is a bespoke design for Sellafield Ltd and a new topic is launched monthly.

    All these components of the programme have been critical to enable leaders to shift the leadership culture and create a common leadership language throughout the organisation.

  • Feedback

    “I have done numerous leadership training and development throughout my working life. Lane4 has developed its own comprehensive and usable programme to help our people in leadership positions understand themselves and how to be a better person and a better leader.

    The Lane4 energy and enthusiasm is infectious and the levels of enthusiasm and commitment are commendable. I must say that I found Every Contact leaves a Trace module a very powerful experience and thoroughly enjoyable.”

    Kevin Slater, Head of S&R Operations

    “One of the biggest surprises was the Virtual Learning Environment which provides valuable and interesting leadership information in a range of media in easily digestible bite size chunks. It was so easy to access and the information within it so relevant, thought provoking and poignant, that it has actually become a little addictive such that I’ve now had to ration the amount of time on it. It’s been quite a revelation!”

    Graeme Rankin, Head of Transformation, Integration and Benchmarking

Benefits of the programme

Since January 2019, 928 leaders have completed their learning journey, including the executive team and the top 160 leaders. 87% of delegates report that they are confident they will change their behaviour as a result of the programme. A recent survey also showed an 18% shift in how helpful people find communications from senior management and a 4% increase in employees view of their managers as a good role model (up to 74%).

In 2020, the programme was awarded a prestigious Brandon Hall Group Gold Award for the Best Use of a Blended Learning Programme. This recognised the successful delivery of learning through a combination of virtual, face-to-face and digital delivery.

Paused due to Covid-19 and to reassess Sellafield Ltd’s leadership principles, the programme is being redesigned for a January 2021 launch. This will allow the remaining leadership population to experience the LE3AD programme virtually, no matter what social distancing is required.

  • 87% of delegates report that they are confident they will change their behaviour as a result of the programme.
  • 18% shift in how helpful people find communications from senior management.

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