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Management development at Abbey National


Tracy Toon describes how Abbey National handle management development.

Who is responsible for Management Development in Abbey National?

The Management Development and Education Team is responsible for helping Abbey National leaders to identify their learning and development requirements, arising from business objectives and Group strategy, and to provide the learning and development solutions to meet these needs.

We support and reinforce the principle that it is every individual’s responsibility for his or her own self-development.

What is you approach to Management Development?

Our approach is to provide:

- Modular solutions for the generic management skills, knowledge and behaviours required within the organisation. This modular approach enables individuals to have a tailored programme to meet their specific requirements

- Development solutions that are tailored to specific needs of individuals or groups.

Describe the types of activities you are currently working on.

There are too many to list separately but the following ‘projects’ will give an indication of the wide range of activities we are responsible for:

Graduate Programme
Each year Abbey National recruits a number of graduates into specific business areas to be trained, through the Graduate Development Programme (GDP), as managers and business specialists. Graduates are recruited into a variety of business areas, which include Retail, Marketing, Corporate Affairs, Finance, IT and Human Resource.

Each graduate follows a tailored training and development programme lasting from 12 months to 2.5 years, comprising of a blend of on and off the job business specific training and management skills training.

Whilst each business area’s GDP will vary, a typical programme would contain the following elements :-
- Graduate and Group Induction Programmes
- placements in a number of departments/branches across the business area
- business specific training (either on-job or through course attendance)
- management skills training, if progressing towards managerial positions
- a core experiential learning programme, lasting 5 days which includes a business simulation

At the end of their time on the GDP, graduates are either placed in roles identified by the business area or apply for roles within the area.

High Flyer Programme
The High Flyer Programme was launched in 1999, designed to provide accelerated career development for high potential individuals within the Abbey National Group.

The High Flyer Programme (HFP) is specifically designed as one of the ways in which the company can identify and develop potential.

There are three main guiding principles that underpin the High Flyer Programme:-

- Candidates will be encouraged to attain their full potential by completing a structured career development plan over a period of 3-10 years.
- Career planning will involve real jobs and assignments with experience being gained from different parts of the group via critical job experiences
- Career planning will be supported by Management Development & Education as and when appropriate

Executive Manager Assessment Centre (EMAC)
EMAC is designed to identify executive manager potential amongst the senior manager population. It is attended by senior managers who are nominated by their executive manager and executive director because they are perceived to have the potential to become executive managers.

The assessment centre is of 3 days duration and consists of a series of activities that simulate various aspects of an executive managers role and assess the candidates’ competence against an agreed set of leadership dimensions. Both before and after EMAC candidates are supported in their development.

Group Awareness Programme
The Group Awareness Programme is a 3 day workshop designed to provide the target audience (primarily senior and Executive Managers) with an improved understanding and awareness of:

- The corporate strategic issues facing the Group
- The key business drivers and critical success factors affecting each of Abbey National's business areas
- How the parts of the Group inter-relate and where the opportunities for synergy lie

The programme consists of a series of presentations by the key managers from the business.

Management Development Programme
This programme includes a wide range of solutions covering all the generic knowledge, skills and behaviours required by new and existing managers.

It is modular in its approach and individuals should have a tailored programme to meet their specific requirements. It is not intended that managers attend every module. All solutions are delivered by Abbey National Training Consultants with specialist support from HR colleagues where needed.

Courses include Essential People Management, Performance Management Leadership and Team Development and Persuasion and Influence.

Senior Manager Development Programme
This programme aims to provide Senior Managers with a breadth of commercial, economic and business understanding. The programme is run by faculty from Henley Management College and is in two modules - a 3 day module followed by a 2 day module two weeks later.

Key topics covered include
Corporate strategy, Shareholder Value, The external economic (UK & Europe) environment, Customer Relationship Management, Creating, Evaluating and Implementing strategic options.

One to One Coaching
The Management Development Team provide one to one coaching for High Flyers, Senior Management and Executive Managers. They provide individuals with help and guidance on development and career planning and, where appropriate, the facilitation and procurement of appropriate solutions.

Our approach is to support learning and study which meets the requirements of both the business and the individuals. As part of ongoing Performance Management, line managers will assess employee's training, development and education needs and capture these within the individual’s Personal Development Plan. Any proposed education solutions will then be assessed by the Education Review Group, within Management Development and Education.

What new initiatives are planned for 2003?

There are a number of new initiatives planned for this year, the main ones include the development and implementation of
- A New Leadership Model
- An improved Succession Planning Process
- An Advanced Management Development Programme


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