‘The Localism Bill would significantly change the way that public consultations would be run’
The principle obstacle at the start of the project was changing the audience’s perception of the ‘planning officer’. Introducing guests on to the courses who had been employed in that role gave delegates an insight into the human aspects of their character.
Local planners are much more inclined to do business with Taylor Wimpey. Potentially hostile attendees at the public consultations were being better influenced to remain calmer and actually listen to the ‘truth’ of the message and not continue behaving in the cynical way that was driven by a false perception. The audience, to date, has been the CEO, Senior Management and all managers across the country – over 350 delegates.
Engagement & Design
Taylor Wimpey decided to create an initial workshop to determine if the employees organising and running these consultations possessed the key skills and strategies to be able to deal with the resistant behaviour that would be demonstrated by those in the local community of the proposed development i.e. the ability to negotiate whilst building strong commercial relationships.
GBS was asked to work with the Senior Management Team and develop an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by staff when conducting public consultations where land development is being proposed.
After careful design a pilot workshop was run for the CEO and his team so that they could experience for themselves GBS’s recommended solution. This event culminated in a full discussion on ‘tuning’ detail and an agreed roll-out plan.
As a result it was agreed for all the Senior Management team, from Divisional Managing Directors down, to attend this core module. Further fine tuning was applied in the early stages of roll-out to ensure that the key twin objectives were achieved:
We designed and delivered the Commercial Relationships Core Module to all of the organisation’s senior management teams and middle management teams throughout the UK – more than 350 people in the first nine months.
The modules are highly interactive, using techniques such as;
To further enhance the participants’ skill sets and confidence a further three relevant modules were designed that covered the crucial skills required for running a successful public consultation, they were:
These three additional modules were initially added as elective learning. However, feedback and experience showed that all three additional modules gave an invaluable insight and support to participants and consequently became mandatory.
As managers worked their way through the programme of four modules it became clearly apparent that the learning was being implemented where it mattered most, in the real world at the public consultations.
This feedback proved that the skills and strategies being learnt were indeed being applied with positive results. Local planners are much more inclined to do business with Taylor Wimpey. Potentially hostile attendees at the public consultations were being better influenced to remain calmer and actually listen to the ‘truth’ of the message and not taking a cynical approach, often driven by false perceptions.