The challenge:

TalkTalk has provided fibre, broadband, landline, TV and mobile services to customers since the early 2000s and prides itself on being an innovative challenger brand in the market.

In 2021, TalkTalk engaged Leading Edge to support its new leadership development programme – Leading With Every Fibre – for 450 people leaders across all levels of the organisation.  

Following a period of business transformation, TalkTalk needed people to step up to leadership positions, which for many would be a new role with new people leader responsibility, requiring a shift in mindset. Supporting these new leaders to understand and see their influence as part of this new role and to have confidence to portray the leadership competencies was significant for TalkTalk.

Leading Edge were initially brought in to support TalkTalk with the design and delivery of an engaging launch event for this new programme, one that would bring to life the relaunched company values and leadership competencies while directing learners to an internal portal for self-development tools. Quarterly events around business-critical themes would continue the leadership journey, and our relationship with TalkTalk evolved and grew when we were asked to partner with them to design and facilitate two of these events per year.

What we delivered:

Each launch event was a 90-minute virtual session – a mindset piece to set the scene for the leadership journey. Through group sessions, Leading Edge Team Coaches facilitated participants with sharing challenges as a way to relax into the programme and realise the similarity of what they face across the organisation, whatever their department or role.

The Leading With Every Fibre programme is for all people leaders, regardless of level, experience or team size – with or without direct-line reporting responsibility. Before the launch, everyone completed a 360 around leadership competencies, to form part of PDPs and to be touched on throughout the year during the events to support development.

‘Crucial conversations’ was the business-critical theme for Leading Edge’s first quarterly event, which took place September–November 2021. A people leader will always need to have conversations with teams and individuals that, although difficult, will be essential for development. Our Team Coaches worked with small groups to draw out and revisit their own experiences of a conversation in life that had changed how they do things or had opened up a new pathway or career direction. We followed that with a framework for having crucial conversations, discussing what impact the conversation needed to have, the outcomes required and the change expected as a result.

While exploring the framework, participants generated their own scenarios before being mixed up in groups with the opportunity to share best practice – helping to reinforce their approach (and tweak where beneficial) while being reassured that the leadership challenges faced are common across the departments.

Every cohort set up a follow-up call with a group member for a self-facilitated progress review, encouraging continued connection and strengthening how all 450 people leaders – with different backgrounds and from different parts of the business – are on a level playing field where everyone has something helpful and relevant to offer.

We also supported TalkTalk experientially with a ‘train the trainer’ session for two L&D colleagues, taking them through the programme to ensure cohesion of language and to support them with keeping up momentum for the leaders between events.

The results achieved:

“A massive heartfelt thank you to everyone at Leading Edge involved with our Leading With Every Fibre journey. You have all worked extremely hard and collaborated amazingly with fantastic delivery and engagement. As a result of your efforts, we have seen our leaders’ growth and engagement survey score increase, and our matrix and aspiring leaders are understanding what it takes to be a leader at TalkTalk.
We could not have achieved that without you!”

- Michelle Hartley, Head of Learning & Development

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