Becoming a manager for the first time is exciting – but can be daunting. BAE Systems Submarines wanted to give their new managers confidence to become great leaders. So we worked with them to design the Submarines Leadership Fundamentals programme.

Here Nicola Downes, QA's Senior Learning Solutions Manager, describes the project:

Strengthening new managers' skills

The programme was designed specifically for managers who were new to the role. It developed their skills – to become capable and effective in a complex, safety-critical environment – in submarines.

It was an important programme – key to their people strategy to strengthen their leaders.

Calls for improvement

Their existing programmes – called Strengthening Leaders and Leading Leaders – were gaining calls for improvement. Feedback from their managers said they needed more focus on leadership skills, and less on technical management skills.

It was important to BAE Systems Submarines, that we delivered captivating learning in a unique way. It also had to use their tone of voice – their ‘Just Culture’ language.

The learning objectives were to: know what’s expected of them and their team, be proud to make a difference, be self-aware, develop relationships, tackle difficult conversations, and establish trust, empathy and respect with others.

A creative approach

Over 2 years, we worked with BAE Systems Submarines to design, develop and deliver a 100-day training programme. It included lots of events – with different people (tutors, learners, line managers, and most importantly, the people in their team). Learning with all sorts of people (who they’d work with day-to-day) made it easy for them to understand how their new knowledge would be applied in practice.

Training over 100 managers at BAE Systems Submarines

In the first year, 112 managers completed the programme. Feedback was excellent – and to top it off the organisation reported benefits (via their Productive Utilisation Improvement measures – which they use to report on their other programmes). They identified that it met their challenges and aligned with their people strategy.

The success of the new programme built trust with BAE Systems Submarines – so we’re working with them on two more programmes:

  • Strengthening Leaders – aimed at first line managers in role 18 months and over
  • Leading Leaders – aimed at managers of managers (an innovative programme which includes action learning, action planning and forum-theatre-style learning)

Transformed feedback from managers

“I was particularly impressed by the format, where the course was spread across 100 days – I feel this allowed me to action a number of the learning points immediately when I was back in the workplace, with positive results.”

“Having served 30 years in the Royal Navy this course presented Leadership Fundamentals in a way that was understandable, but more importantly demonstrated their benefit in a working environment.”

Now you know how we help BAE Systems Submarines. Need some help too? Let’s talk.

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