Saïd Business School and Royal Mail Group win prestigious award for leadership development partnership

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European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) awards Gold for Excellence in Practice

Royal Mail Group (RMG) and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, have won the EFMD Gold Excellence in Practice Award 2015 in the Executive Development category for their learning and development partnership at the heart of Royal Mail’s transformation into a privatised company.

‘Winning this award is an honour, and a testament to the commitment and successful collaboration of the Oxford and Royal Mail teams in co-developing this demanding, creative, and – above all – effective learning and development programme,’ said Andrew White, Associate Dean for Executive Education at Oxford Saïd.

Over the last three years, over 500 senior leaders and managers have engaged in this intensive and sustained learning programme, and several hundred more will participate in the next two years. The scale of the initiative has been unprecedented within Royal Mail and has resulted in 35% improved performance across 13 key areas, leading in turn to improved business results.

The programme started in 2011 with the design and delivery of the Executive Leadership Development Programme (ELDP), aimed at RMG’s top leaders who play a significant role in leading and shaping the business. The partnership was later expanded through the creation of a second programme, the Management Acceleration Programme (MAP), aimed at high-potential middle managers. The programme overall was ’owned’ by the Board and led by the HR department, with strong support from Chief Executive Officer Moya Greene.

In a highly competitive and fast-changing environment, the aim was to develop the leadership capability to deliver the company’s strategy, aimed at making Royal Mail the most successful delivery company in the UK and across Europe.

’We are delighted to be recognised with this award for our Executive Development Programmes. The close relationship and excellent learning opportunities provided by Said Business School, University of Oxford, have delivered programmes which help to provide our senior leaders with the tools and knowledge to implement our strategies, realise their leadership potential and harness this to drive change across our business. We look forward to continuing to develop and roll out the Programmes in partnership with Saïd Business School,’ said Jon Millidge, Group HR Director, Royal Mail Group.

‘The energy and commitment of RMG’s top team were essential to the success of the partnership,’ said Programme Director Marc Thompson. ‘From the outset, they brokered internal relationships and provided key insights into the organisation’s dynamics. People were being asked to take weeks out of their working lives and make a much more intensive commitment than they were used to in more technical training.’

Bernadette Conraths, EFMD Senior Advisor and a jury member, called it, ‘A sophisticated design with a broad and creative approach, excellent delivery and constant programme development,’ noting also the ‘unprecedented’ nature of RMG’s culture and business challenge, and the ‘clear increase in business results’.

Based around three four-day modules in Oxford for each participant, the programmes use a variety of cutting-edge learning methods developed by Oxford Saïd’s executive education experts and selected and adapted to fit with RMG’s culture. These include Action Learning Sets group work, strategic conversations with senior executives, modules drawing on Shakespeare and poetry, and simulations and role-play to help participants understand their own leadership styles. They are also given opportunities to practise conversation and communication skills, including debating, listening, and facilitating the contributions of others. Case studies help to build an external perspective by looking at the privatisation of other organisations. Market and financial drivers are explored in depth. Participants are shown how to deal with complexity and how to respond to ‘wicked’ problems that are difficult or impossible to solve.

A further critical component is follow-up and networking, facilitated by an alumni event in Oxford and by inviting programme alumni back as speakers on later programmes.

Launched in 2007, the EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards recognises outstanding leadership and development partnerships and collaborative practices in the field of executive education.

A case study describing the programmes is available here

For further information please contact:
Josie Powell, Senior Press Officer, Saïd Business School
Mobile +44 (0)7711 387215, Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288403
Email: josie(dot)powell(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk or pressoffice(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk

Jonaid Jilani, Press Officer, Saïd Business School
Mobile: +44 (0)7860 259996, Tel: +44 (0)1865 614678
Email: jonaid(dot)jilani(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk or pressoffice(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk

Notes to editors:

About Royal Mail plc
Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (’UKPIL’) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the ’Royal Mail’ and ’Parcelforce Worldwide’ brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.

About Saïd Business School
Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but yet deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We seek to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems.

In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2014) Saïd is ranked 10th. It is ranked 10th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2015) and 22nd in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2015). The MBA is ranked 7th in BusinessWeek’s full time MBA ranking outside the USA (Nov 2014) and is ranked 5th among the top non-US Business Schools by Forbes magazine (Sep 2013). The Executive MBA is ranked 21st worldwide in the FT’s ranking of EMBAs (Oct 2014). The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 14th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (Jun 2015). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (May 2015) and has ranked first in nine of the last eleven years in The Times (Sept 2014). For more information, see

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