Good things come to those who work as a team

A business is nothing without its people. We have great people at ADEY and they’ve been fundamental to our continued growth and success. The role of leadership as part of this success was something we wanted to look at more closely, so in October 2019, the senior team embarked on a year-long programme with Wingman Ltd, a performance consultancy company founded by former England rugby union international and ex-fighter pilot, Rory Underwood MBE DL.

The Wingman programme aims to tap into a team’s full potential. And so, with open minds, 36 members of Team ADEY started on their leadership development journey.

To kick things off, a residential weekend was organised in the Forest of Dean and everyone got stuck in to team building exercises, brain games and physical challenges. Those involved came away with a better understanding of their colleagues as well as practical skills that could be used every day.

“Team spirit is central to the work we’ve been doing with Wingman,” says Group Managing Director, Matthew Webber. “The residential weekend was a great starting point and a hugely positive experience all round. While you might spend lots of time with the people you work with, it might not be enough to understand what really makes each person tick so the weekend was a good chance to get to know each other even better. We went on to have regular training sessions to continue building on theses stronger relationships and how we work together.”

For Senior Product Manager, Dan Bacon, the programme has been something he’s relished and has been applying what he learnt with great success. “I’d discovered a little bit about teams and leadership at business school so I was excited to have the opportunity to get involved with the Wingman programme. It’s been a brilliant way to understand not only more about the people you work with, but yourself too.

“Perhaps the most useful part for me was the psychometric testing which aligned people with different colours depending on what kind of person they are. For example, someone who is blue, and a people person, will likely benefit from working with a manager who will chat to them about how their weekend was or something else that isn’t work-related. Therefore, I might plan for a slightly longer meeting with them so we make the time to do that which helps them feel more motivated. Alternatively, someone who is green is likely to be more process driven and would prefer me to stick to discussing the job at hand. It might sound simple but adapting how I work with different people to help make sure they get what they need from me has made a big difference. I feel I now manage my team better and I refer back to what I learnt all the time.

“I also enjoyed the opportunity and confidence the programme gave me to reflect. Thinking more about how I might have done something before, and how I could improve or do it differently. Also, knowing that you can’t control everything and focusing your energy on the things you can was something I took away and that’s helped me immensely. ADEY is a great place to work and my experience of the Wingman programme has made me understand how important it is to get everyone on board working towards a common goal.”

Matthew Webber agrees: “It was important to us that it wasn’t just the senior team that benefitted from the programme, we wanted what we’d learnt to filter through to the whole business, supporting everyone to work together and on their own even more effectively with greater understanding. The programme we started has since grown to give leadership and development opportunities to all staff.”

Rory Underwood played on the wing for England between 1984 and 1996 and remains the country’s top try scorer to this day, he’s also served as an RAF fighter pilot. Rory set up Wingman to help businesses navigate periods of growth by getting the most from their people, with teamwork playing a central role.

“When starting to work with any organisation, we speak to various people from different parts of the business to better understand the challenges they’re facing. One of the key areas we work on is being aware of these challenges as a business grows and the added complexity that comes with it. Addressing them is essential for success. If they’re not recognised, the adverse effects can act like a ‘drag’ on the business and create an environment where everyone is kept busy for not much added value.

“The issues that have been thrown up since the pandemic started have required leaders and managers to react and create solutions that they wouldn’t normally think about. We’re really pleased that the ADEY team has felt better equipped to work together, it will undoubtedly have helped them to manage the challenges this unusual time has brought.”

NOTE: Photo taken pre-COVID-19

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