Leadership Communication Skills – British Gas

Posted & filed under Case Studies.

Alan Johnson joined British Gas in 1978, and completed a full service engineering apprenticeship to qualify as a Gas Service Engineer before moving into first line management. Following several management roles, Alan was appointed as Head of Installation, British Gas.

In August 2003, Alan was appointed General Manager Housing Services Group with a brief to ensure profitable rapid growth of the business whilst delivering ever improving Quality and Excellence to customers in support of British Gas.

 

The Challenge

Alan was encountering difficulties in his role as Head of Installation at British Gas’s National Central Heating Office.

Things reached a head whilst negotiating a pay deal with the trade unions, when his negotiating style and communication skills were called into question. The criticisms levied had a huge impact on Alan and left him feeling stifled in his role and lacking in motivation. Previously, he had always been highly driven and successful.

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Therefore his failure to communicate effectively and the possible negative impact on his motivation and future career progression was a major concern, and this prompted him to discuss his problems with a colleague who recommended executive coaching from Aziz Corporate to help get him back on course.

Alan commented:

“The problems I was experiencing had reached a critical point. Unless I took action to solve them, I was concerned my career would grind to a halt. I therefore approached Aziz Corporate with a completely open mind and was willing to give anything a go.”

The Aziz Programme

In Alan’s first training session he was asked to explain in detail the events that had led to his current situation. He was encouraged to think about how these events arose, and how he had reacted to them. It became apparent that Alan had awareness problems when communicating and as result, experienced difficulties relating to and influencing those around. To help him assess the perspective of others Alan attended sessions on body language and neuro-linguistic programming.

Alan commented:

“I thought I listened to people but in truth it became apparent to me that I rarely listened to what other people had to say and I certainly didn’t look beyond that for other signals about how they felt or how they viewed a situation. This is exactly what Aziz Corporate consultants encouraged me to do. I was then taught how to pitch myself and my argument to different audiences in different and suitable ways.”

“Without question, the training changed my entire outlook and understanding of other people’s worlds and of situations around me.”

Benefits

“Without question, the training changed my entire outlook and understanding of other people’s worlds and of situations around me. Crucially, this in turn had immediate positive effects on my relationships with colleagues. Through understanding their needs and expectations, I was better equipped to meet them. This placed me in a position of trust with everyone I worked and networked with, which in turn enabled me to take on more responsibility.

Additionally, I found that my ability to motivate team members had increased. Furthermore, the frosty relationship I had with the trade unions thawed and we now fully understand each other and have a very productive association. Before, without realising, I was resistant to change, whereas now I fully embrace it.”

“The Aziz Corporation got me and my career back on track.”

Alan’s newly acquired presentation skills also gave him the confidence to speak at an event hosted by General Electric. Employing all the tools and techniques which he learnt in his sessions with Aziz Corporate, Alan gave an inspirational presentation on “the customer’s view” to an audience of 650 for which he received a rousing ovation. The feedback was fantastic, with many describing his presentation as outstanding.

Alan commented:

“The training I received at Aziz Corporate really has had a dramatic impact on my life. I genuinely believed that I was right in everything I did whereas in truth I was ignoring stark signals being given to me. I now know how to use my skills to move perception and influence people. It has given me the ability to identify barriers in the workplace and the confidence to break them down. Furthermore, prior to my training I would not have thought I had the potential or conviction to stand up in front of such a large audience and give such a well-received presentation. I would say that I had lost my way. However, the changes in the workplace and the amazing response I had at the General Electric event are testimony to the fact Aziz Corporate got me and my career back on track.”

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