Viridor Case Study

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How better Planning from Middle Managers can Transform a Company

To succeed, middle managers needed to excel at planning, collaborate with peers, inspire their teams and drive rapid change.

BACKGROUND

An ambitious strategy for change was hampered by a lack of traction in middle management projects

Viridor is an interesting company, not because it is a £4 billion leader in the waste management industry, but because Viridor reinvents itself every ten years. In the nineties, it was a regional waste management company. Throughout the noughties, it became a national name, one of the big four. During the next decade, it built and mobilised an impressive fleet of waste processing plants, in a drive to transform itself from a collections company into a processing company.

The strategy was big and bold, however for the first time in their history, they stalled. Viridor’s ambition exceeding their internal management capability. They lacked the management horsepower to leave the entrenched business they were and become the business they wanted to be.

Their plans lacked traction, small successes fell short of big intentions. The issues lay not with the senior leaders, but with the middle managers. Viridor needed to become far more proficient at creating local plans and leading change successfully.

SOLUTION

80 middle managers attended a powerful training programme focused on planning, people & progress

Stirling Training Consultants designed and delivered a Driving the Business Programme for 80 middle managers. The training focused on giving managers the skills to create bulletproof change plans and the people skills to implement them effectively.

Future success would be built on their planning skills, so we used a powerful and effective planning model called BIGGER. This was taught in group sessions, applied by managers to specific business improvement projects, and followed up by us on a one-to-one basis.

The BIGGER model helped attendees to:

  • Research better, with more MI analysis, to give a more robust basis for their plans
  • Set clear and measurable business goals
  • Create, innovate and assess more options – before settling on the best one
  • Nail down practical, fast-scaling plans to bring rapid and sustainable change
  • Work at a higher, more strategic level, rather than just on the immediate day-to-day
  • Implement change coherently through clear-sighted, capable, motivated teams

RESULTS

A marked improvement in KPIs, project progress, people management, the speed of change, and succession to senior roles

The improvements at Viridor were transformative: Missed targets turned into exceeded targets; diluted plans with no original thought became creative dynamic, imaginative, well-researched strategies for innovative improvement; a lack of engagement in their teams became cohesive, collaborative, collective effort.

In the first year alone, the financial benefit from business improvement projects, that were linked directly to the Driving the Business Training Programme was more than fifteen times the cost of the training.

Viridor not only achieved its goal of attracting ambitious PE finance but also transformed itself again from a waste processing company to a highly successful power-generating company. Many of the middle managers have risen to take senior leadership positions. Now, based on its more solid foundations, the company can be confident in achieving its more adventurous, more ambitious targets and going from strength to strength.

£1.1M

SAVINGS MADE IN FIRST 6 MONTHS AS A RESULT OF THE TRAINING

58%

IMPROVEMENT ON EIGHT LEADERSHIP METRICS

15x

RETURN ON TRAINING INVESTMENT IN THE FIRST YEAR

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CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

"The managers are now flourishing and have achieved in stepping up. There is greater engagement from the rest of the business, more strategic project work, more managing at a higher level and getting away from detail. I feel like I can do my own job now."

Operations Director, Viridor