Redefining Communications first began working with The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) in 2019. The North East LEP is a public, private and education sector partnership, and one of 38 LEPs in the country. It’s responsible for promoting and developing economic growth across the region. We’ve worked with the team on a variety of projects over the last few years, collaborating with Head of Communications, Jen Robson. It’s great to work with a team like the LEP and experience the benefits of a long-standing relationship and client knowledge. In this blog, we look at how we’ve supported the team over the years:
Workshops to support fast growth
When we started working with The North East LEP, they’d experienced growth at pace, having expanded from 15 to 70 employees. They had reached the stage where it was important to start looking at: how the internal communication function could support growth, the effectiveness of the senior management team, communication styles and how to maintain the positive culture they’d created and that was extremely important to them.
This work involved two workshops. Firstly, the senior management session looked at how internal communication can impact organisations. We analysed employee feedback about communication style (individually and as an organisation). We identified steps to move forward and the leadership’s role in making changes. And we also covered motivating employees, dysfunctional teams, neuroscience and organisational change. The second session with the communications team investigated employee feedback about internal communication, creating an internal communications strategy and quick wins to help them adapt. Jen told us:
“The workshops provoked conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and helped us look at things from a different perspective. Jenni’s values aligned closely to ours and she fitted in well with the team. The workshops were very engaging and from that point onwards, Jenni has been our go-to for helping us tackle internal communication issues and challenges. She’s challenging in all the right ways. She is a confident facilitator – managing the room with ease and always with a smile. This means we get great results every time we work with her.”
Harnessing the power of productivity
We were initially commissioned to run our Power of Productivity workshop for all employees in the organisation pre-COVID-19. Before the workshop, everyone in the organisation appeared to be “too busy” and we talked about how toxic busyness is a form of organisational chaos that needs to be addressed. The workshop aimed to create an environment that put employees back in control and gave them the freedom to explore how they can work more productively. We shared some immediate tips such as “eating the frog”, which involves tackling your biggest and most important task first each day. It created a real buzz within the team, with long-lasting changes in behaviour and approaches to work. The team still start meetings by asking, “what’s your frog today?”
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and following some staff changes within the senior management team, we took them through the workshop over Zoom to offer more practical tips backed up by theory.
“We loved the breadth of what was covered – the range of practical techniques meant that there was something everyone could take away and this was all supported by theory and rationale, which really helped people understand why there were feeling the way they were feeling. The result was just what we had hoped for – our team adopting the practical solutions provided by Jenni and continuing to do so. We’ve changed our meeting times to 50 minutes based on learnings around concentration time and ‘eating frogs’ is now a term we hear a lot in LEP land.”
Reconsidering diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging (DEIB)
Most recently, we’ve provided consultancy, a bespoke workshop and recommendations to enable the LEP to build a robust strategy around DEIB through reviewing existing activity and upskilling the team. The organisation wanted to become more confident in this space.
Jenni worked alongside Advita Patel, who is part of the Redefining Communications collective and co-founder of A Leader Like Me, which helps underrepresented women and non-binary people of colour progress further in their careers and achieve their leadership goals.
“Jenni and Advita were methodical in their approach and did a fantastic job of coaching us through the thinking and actions we need to take. We’re now in the process of presenting the findings to our senior management team, sharing what DEIB means to us and how we’ll adapt our strategy around it. It really made us question what it means if we say we’re inclusive and equitable.”
We love working as an extension of a team and over the years it really feels like that with Jen and the LEP. We’ve supported them not only in the areas mentioned here, but also with meeting facilitation and support. They know they can come to us with any request linked to business communication and we’ll be able to help, and I’m thrilled that we can do that.
If you need ongoing support with your communications, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat about how we can help.