National Transport Provider: Telling the Story of Change
How do you get around London? Chances are, it’s a certain national transport provider who most often, takes you from A to B. Delivering on-time and high-quality service on the underground, buses, trains and everything in between is no small task. With the stakes increasing and being on the public stage, the organisation’s leaders decided to take action to ensure their teams think and act in a way that ‘makes every journey matter.’
Customer feedback, focus groups and interviews with team members pointed to one clear driver that makes or breaks the quality of service delivered to colleagues and customers. And that’s the degree of trust and co-operation between the various operating units across the national transport provider.
It became clear that the organisation’s system relies on huge amounts of trust and co-operation in order to respond to events and to share resources and ideas. It was evident that this trust and co-operation, was at its best when communication within teams and across teams is fast, accessible and harnesses the emotion of the diverse national transport provider teams. To deliver this kind of clear, compelling and galvanising communication requires leaders who can deliver authentic, inspiring and transparent communications, which gain the trust of their teams and spurs them to take the right, positive actions. The challenge they presented us with was to create an engaging learning experience to help leaders unleash the emotion in their teams, to ‘make every journey mater’, inspire even more trust and allow a national transport provider to function at its co-operative best every day.
We determined that what they needed was a team of inspiring ‘storytellers’ to connect their people with the amazing job they do, every day, to keep London moving. Storytelling would be the key skill to unlock the passion and emotion inherent in the national transport provider teams, and this emotion would be the fuel that ‘makes every journey mater’. Key to storytelling are great stories, so we set about uncovering what stories national transport provider leaders needed to tell, then we worked with them to create compelling narratives that would connect everyone with the changes needed to ‘make every journey matter’ a reality.
That done, we crafted an experiential face-to-face workshop to equip leaders with the know-how and skills to create and tell compelling stories across many situations from formal presentations, to one-to-one conversations or emails. Our team of coaches facilitated the workshops, engaging physically, imaginatively and vocally with the material and the participants; extensive practice, in-the-moment coaching and feedback helped develop skills and build confidence dramatically.
Making it work
For this to work, everything needed to look and feel like it was theirs – we used their tone of voice, their language, their style and their phrases – but gave them a little NKD magic. The entire workshop was a masterclass in storytelling, to model the power of great corporate storytelling – minimal screen input; instead a stimulating learning environment and tangible learning aids which promoted physical engagement and storytelling at every point across the session.
Everyone was given a Storytelling Hub – a collection of tools and approaches to use across the day and to take back to work to implement when communicating messages, both large and small. To ramp up their skills development and supercharge their confidence, we gave everyone the opportunity to deliver some of their key stories and gain valuable, candid feedback on how to enhance them even further. To sustain the learning, talented and passionate communicators from across the company were appointed as Storytelling Coaches and Ambassadors, spearheading and championing initiatives and collaboration.
In the six months following the ‘Telling the Story of Change’ programme roll-out to national transport provider leaders, overall engagement and trust within business units and teams rose significantly. Customers recognised the difference in service behaviour, with growing feedback from customers emerging about the extra mile the organisation’s teams were going to make each of their journeys matter. Colleagues shared that they now feel more emotionally connected and inspired by the stories they are hearing to make a difference to customers and colleagues each and every day.