Developing Inspiring Leaders with Dock10

The Company

Dock10 is a major supplier of studio, post-production and connectivity services to the UK broadcast industry. It is a new and fast growing business, launched in 2011 to support the Media City development in Salford, Manchester, UK

The Opportunity

The driving force for this development activity was to ensure that business has the leadership skills, capability and agility to manage its rapid growth.
Our research found that the leadership community, benefited from a depth of technical and professional expertise, is supportive, resourceful and fresh. Dock10 is seen by its employees as a cool place to work and these strengths need to be fiercely protected as it grows.

The Challenge

• Dealing with a fluid and unpredictable workload and workforce
• Need to deliver commercially as well as technically across diverse customers and teams

The Solution

A bespoke leadership development programme was designed that enabled leaders to:
• Understand the climate that they create and the impact they have on individuals and team performance
• Achieve the right balance of task and people management
• Adapt their style in order to optimize engagement and performance and results from different team members, colleagues and freelancers
Develop core skills in setting clear expectations; giving constructive, positive and developmental feedback to support growth; everyday coaching; deal effectively with difficult people management conversations and situations.

The Delegate Experience

Michael is an operational technical manager looking after the teams and systems that support such shows as Dragons Den, Countdown and the Voice:

“I always like the opportunity to take time to think about and learn new skills. As an operational technical manager I have struggled with the balance between doing things myself and empowering others to do things and potentially achieve far more that I could on my own so, as well as refreshing techniques such as SMART, I wanted to develop my delegation and persuasion skills. I also wanted to learn about my personality type (using the Myers Briggs questionnaire) and how I could use this and tailor it when working with others of different personality types.

My Experience: I have approached management training in the past with a certain level of trepidation, concerned at what crazy role plays might be in store. On this occasion however, I needn’t have worried as the course and the delivery were both perfectly pitched – relaxing and welcoming as well as challenging and insightful. I have certainly learned some very useful lessons – both about my own character and tendencies and those of others and how to bridge the gap between them. Immediately after finishing the course I started putting into practice open questioning and the techniques we learned in the behavioural flexibility exercise when dealing with those I manage day-to-day.

What has changed? As part of the follow up session we were encouraged to get some feedback from those we work with. This was illuminating and identified that I was prone to “push” rather than “pull”. As a result I have focused on this area trying to find out others’ opinions and thoughts as to how to tackle problems rather than giving my view of the solution and then just getting on with it. As an engineer I’m used to systems doing what I tell them to do, so working with people who have thoughts and ideas of their own and (whisper it) sometimes better ideas than mine has been a challenge. I know that eventually it will be more satisfying for those I manage, better for Dock10 and ultimately make me a better manager as developing the those who report to me is meant to be a major part of a Manager’s role isn’t it?

Impact & Ongoing Development
At the workshops we were encouraged to team up with another manager and arrange regular mutual coaching sessions with each other. I have teamed up with one of the studio managers and it’s been good to take a few hours out every month or so to just spend time talking, learning from and encouraging each other. I try to regularly review the notes we took away from the training sessions so they stay in my mind and plan to start asking for regular feedback from my manager. I have scheduled in regular monthly catch ups with my direct reports and plan to ask for them for feedback on how they perceive me as a manager and what I could do to improve from their perspective so that I can see if my intentions to change my management skills and style are actually having the desired impact.