Waitrose Branch Manager Programme

In the lead up to a transformation programme which was to affect all Waitrose Branch structures, it was agreed between the business and Learning and Development (L&D) that a programme was needed to assist Branch Managers in their role as key leaders to lead through change. Branch Managers are very experienced, established senior leaders in Waitrose so needed to be treated with tact, flexibility, maturity and wisdom.

The programme was to be designed and run by L&D with the rare inclusion of an external provider, to provide some fresh input and thinking to the programme. Helen was asked to lead the design and delivery work with the L&D manager in Waitrose, with Sharon working on the delivery of the programme alongside Waitrose staff.

Helen co-designed and ran a pilot programme with the L&D Manager for 12 Branch Managers, to test the relevance and effectiveness of the content. She then went on to re-design aspects of the programme from the feedback, brief the other coaches to deliver this and co-delivered the programme to a further 200 Branch Managers (BMs).

L&D Manager comments:

Helen worked with me to create and deliver a key programme to Waitrose Branch Managers to enable them to lead through major change. Sharon used her extensive Waitrose experience to deliver the programme to 3 groups of managers with great rapport and skill.

The programme achieved its outcomes at the time – energising the Branch Manager community to think through the impact of change and it has had a strong lasting legacy within the business five years on.

What started as a need for skilled delivery resource to work with senior leaders turned into a refreshing, supportive and generative working relationship in which the team helped me to develop and build my relationships within the business and, at the same time, providing expert knowledge and experience to the programme and the Branch Managers.

Helen built huge credibility with our senior leaders and her ability to connect and get to know everyone associated with the programme made it feel as if she was ‘in’ the organisation – she built rapport at an organisational level.

From that platform she very quickly developed a full understanding of what was needed and flexed this throughout as the needs of the programme morphed. She asked great, thought provoking questions; cared as much as we did; believed in what we were trying to achieve, and truly co-owned the programme and the responsibility for its success.

I would recommend Helen and Sharon as designers and facilitators of highly effective learning as it is evident that they are able to work with Learning & Development as well as the business as a whole.