May Gurney “builds” managers of the future

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 11 July 2008



(2008), "May Gurney “builds” managers of the future", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

May Gurney “builds” managers of the future

Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 5

A UK construction-services company is “building” managers of the future through a training program that aims to change the firm’s management culture from command and control to a partnership approach.

May Gurney, of Norwich, teamed up with Gemini Training, of Dereham, Norfolk, to devise and deliver the program, which has been accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.

David Sterry, May Gurney chief executive, said: “We needed to put together a training and development strategy that would help to deliver our vision of people passionately striving to be the best. We needed to help people to take on more responsibility, become accountable and behave as role models for their teams. Most of all, we wanted to keep winning new business based on our people skills.”

Before the management-development program, which was highly commended in the UK National Training Awards, the company’s, managers focused on “fire fighting” and teams were formed on technical ability, not their ability to work together. They were poor at change management and their performance was not measured.

More than 50 managers, based in Norfolk, Yorkshire and south-west England, have attended a series of five workshops. They incorporate: film scenes and characters to illustrate behaviour; videoed team-building activities to build understanding of team dynamics; virtual car-racing games to demonstrate process management and improvement; TV game shows to explain complex theories and models; and learning to juggle as a metaphor for personal development and change management. The program culminates in an “Oscars” award ceremony for successful participants.

The managers have put their skills to good use. The company has won new long-term highway-maintenance contracts in East and West Sussex, renewed its business with Essex County Council, Network Rail and Anglian Water, and successfully floated on the Alternative Investment Market.

David Sterry concluded: “Cultural differentiation has become a real winner for us.”

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