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The Youngman Group enhancing skills to drive the business strategy

The Youngman Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of access equipment, lighting towers and events products. They have distributors in more than 25 countries, from our European neighbours France and Belgium, through to locations such as Singapore, Australia, Nigeria and Qatar.

The award-winning company prides itself on its innovative approach to business, always seeking new and better solutions to clients’ requirements. One example of their ground-breaking approach was the supply of environmentally friendly lighting towers to the Glastonbury Festival 2011 in support of the organisation’s efforts to become the world’s very first carbon neutral festival.

The Youngman Group’s desire to improve doesn’t stop with its products. The development of its people is seen as vital to its future success, and it was the company’s commitment to investing in its senior management team that led to its involvement with Sheffield Business School (SBS).

The challenge

Youngman Group’s managing director Paul Bentley had already engaged Leadteam Executive Development ltd (L.E.D.) – a company run by one of our associates Alan Jones – to help them with a redesign of their strategic direction. They looked at all aspects of the company’s vision, objectives and key breakthrough strategies.

Vital to achieving this new direction was the need to rapidly grow the business and to encourage all staff, especially the young senior management team, to develop professionally and personally as the company grew.

It was that aspect of the challenge where SBS became involved, working in partnership with L.E.D. to design and deliver a bespoke leadership development programme.

Our approach

To get things started, L.E.D. and the SBS team conducted an initial cultural survey and skills gap analysis with the company’s management group. Then, using the information they’d gathered, they set about creating a tailor made programme to meet the company’s needs and aspirations.

The result was a five module programme, with the first looking at soft skills such as expanding creativity, thinking differently and creating effective teams. That was followed by modules focusing on product and strategy development, business improvement, and customers and markets. The fifth module was a change project in which the participants worked in cross-functional groups to develop one key initiative they felt was vital to take forward.

The results

The programme has proved a great success for the Youngman Group and has already led to a repeat of the programme for a new group.

'The needs that we identified early on in the planning process were varied, but some central themes included the need to develop individuals themselves, the critical importance of succession planning, and getting people to think beyond their own areas of responsibility.'

'The programme was specifically created to encourage participants to move on from the traditional way of doing things and to start thinking about things in different ways. An added bonus was that we were able to accredit the programme, meaning that all those who successfully completed it not only benefited from important personal and professional development, but also gained a Certificate in Professional Business Practice,' said Sarah Fidment, Sheffield Business School.

'We are delighted with the leadership development programme, as the participants have developed significantly both in terms of their leadership ability and as a management team.'

'Staff have enjoyed the challenges created by the programme and having completed the first year, most are keen to go on and do a further years programme – a great testimony in itself. Staff motivation and commitment has also increased as a result of individuals being more involved in organisational decision making and change.'

'The company processes and results have improved significantly over this period and there is no doubt that staff development through attending the programme at Sheffield Business School has proved to be a key enabler to these results.'
Paul Bentley, managing director

For more details on how Sheffield Business School can help your organisation

Phone +44 (0)114 225 5081
E-mail sbsbusiness@shu.ac.uk
Visit the SBS home page

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