Today it is more important than ever to get a “pay‐off” from management training and development in terms of improved organisational performance. An initiative in W.H. Smith is described which focuses on helping managers improve performance and learn in so doing. The key issues facing organisations today, the need for a culture that releases enterprise and initiative, and the key part that a more supportive and empowering leadership has to play, are discussed. It is shown how the authors developed a programme to address these issues, help managers change their leadership behaviour and start to change the culture of their organisations. A programme is discussed which recognises that each manager is different and learns more if he or she is in charge of deciding and meeting his or her needs. How it worked in practice; what they learned; the effect it is having; and how it is evolving are examined.
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