Martin - Fleet Director - Multinational Train operator

Dear Andrew,

As we build the plan for working with my teams during 2010, I thought it may be useful to reflect back on the work we have done together to date, and recognise some of the successes we have been able to share.

Managing maintenance of railway rolling stock in a business environment brings a number of challenges. Our industry is highly regulated, with our engineering activities being safety critical, and we often have quite a prescriptive scope for our contractual provision. On the positive side, we have very clear objectives to deliver for our customers, but this environment has not always been conducive to innovative approaches to personnel and business development.

Your own background as an engineer in a commercial environment has allowed you to understand our business very quickly. Also, the breadth of developmental tools and techniques that you employ have made your work with my team flexible, responsive and relevant in their own context.

I’m sure you will recall that we started working together in the Autumn of 2008 with an objective to work with my two business unit managers. They were both senior in experience and service, and had developmental needs that would clearly not have been served well by “traditional” management training. On meeting them you translated this into a number of specifics, and in both cases significant benefits were gained by them building better clarity around the management of their personal and professional resources, refreshing their perception of their own aspirations, and thus improving delivery of their business objectives.

During 2009 we increased the remit for you to coach a number of other members of the management teams with varying needs identified by their line management. They have ranged from high performing staff needing guidance in specific areas through to teammembers relatively new in post with more intensive learning aims. We have developed a blend of approaches using general management training with you meeting people at a 1:1 level and working with teams in bespoke interactive sessions. The benefit for me in this way of working is that while individuals are able to concentrate on key development areas, this can then be seen in the context of improving their overall team environment.

The feedback I have received from those engaged in work with you has been uniformly positive, and I know that in some cases their subject coverage has grown to encompass personal as well as professional matters. One person in particular has drawn great benefit from your help in dealing with an extremely challenging personal journey to cope with a serious illness. I have a belief that to truly get the best from our teams we have to see them as whole people, not just as employees – again your way of working has complemented the move towards the culture that I and my colleagues are seeking to achieve.

It has been refreshing to work with someone who can both recognise the strengths and weaknesses in our people, but who can equally challenge conventional wisdom as to the methods of delivering improvement. My team and I have come to value your “outside looking in” counsel when we have been considering change, and appreciate your input. There is mounting evidence that our teams are gaining professional maturity, that they are becoming better equipped to face the future, and that their efforts are contributing positively to their respective bottom lines. The work outlined above has clearly contributed to this improvement, and for your part in this enhancement I offer my sincere thanks.

There are tough challenges ahead to face in both our own and our customers’ commercial environments. We have an additional business unit in the portfolio for the coming year to get to know, and two comprehensive bids for new business to build. We are unlikely to get another opportunity in the near future to stand back and admire our work, as the world around us continues to change! So, I look forward to working with you further and to rolling out some of the more detailed initiatives that we have recently agreed.

Yours sincerely,

Martin - Fleet Director

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