Getting into business with DHL

Completing the jigsaw

Day four the group were joined by Greg and Marek from DHL Supply Chain who would be facilitating the day and giving an insight into training practices from the world of business. This day had been designed to see the similarities and differences and to give a brief taste of the approaches being used.

Greg and Marek introduced the programme for the day and began by asking the participants what their perceptions and feels were about the word corporate. The group said that their initial reactions were having a focus on results, being product orientated with a fast paced approach. They also mentioned a perception of a mean or inhumane approach.

Expectations for today

Next the participants broke into two smaller groups to work on the expectation for today’s session. Greg and Marek asked them to produce a list of expectations which they could then revisit later in the day. The group said that they were interested in ‘checking the map’ to see the differences and similarities between what DHL do and what youth trainers do, also to check their bias and challenge prejudices and stereotypes about how the business sector works.

They also hoped to find new methodologies that could be transferred across to the youth training field and to understand what success looks like in DHL training. The group also said they wanted to be shocked and maybe undercover new things or have their perceptions challenged in terms of the business sector’s approach to training.

Completing the jigsaw

Completing the jigsaw

Leadership jigsaw

Next the participants were asked to take a series of jigsaw pieces and put them together as a team. Once the team had completed the jigsaw they saw that there were a number of inspirational leadership quotes on it.

The group were asked to decide on one quote which they felt related to their style the most and stand by it. They were able to see who else also had decided on the same quote as them and then had a brief discussion about why that particular one resonated with them.

This led to a discussion about leadership and the flexibility and creativity which is often needed to be an effective leader. Within DHL there is a structure and uniformed approach happening most of the time but also a drive to enable staff within the organisation the opportunity to be flexible, which sometimes leads to a clash within the leadership development programmes they are running.

Leadership quadrants

Next the group explored the respect and results model of leadership which is used within DHL. The model was drawn out on the floor in four quadrants with amount of respect on the y axis and drive for results on the x axis.

Greg and Marek explained that depending on a leaders level of respect and drive for results they would appear in different quadrants of the model. For example a leader with a low level of respect but a high drive for results might be perceived as uncaring or as being a bully in their role. Additionally a leader with low respect and a low drive for results could affect the overall performance of the company.

To further understand the model the group were invited to roleplay different leadership styles, moving around on the quadrants to show the levels of respect and drive for results that they were showing at any one time. The group observed that it was possible to move someone from one style of leadership to another and that sometimes it is necessary to try different style depending on the situation.

Discussing leadership

Discussing leadership

What does leadership mean?

The participants were split into four groups and asked to consider what they felt leadership means across four categories in order to build up a picture of the ideal leader. They were asked to consider think, feel, say and do as the categories of leadership.

The participants felt that a leader should think in a strategic and sustainable way with a high level of self-awareness. They should be looking for the win-win in situations, keeping updated being logical, critical and analytical. The group also felt that a leadership should think in a visionary and entrepreneurial way, thinking about growth and impact, being practical and have a personal philosophy that brings people with them.

When considering how a leader should feel the group thought they should be passionate, but with understanding and empathy. They should be able to show appreciation to their colleagues and should be appreciated by both people below and above them in the hierarchy. People should be able to trust in them and they should have self awareness, always in the here and now.

The participants next discussed what a leader should say. They felt a leader should use positive language, showing appreciation and gratitude where it is needed. They should give constructive feedback verbally to those around them, and should be able to tell people that they care and the organisation cares. More than anything they should walk the talk.

Finally the group discussed what a leader should do. They said that a leader should follow through on everything in the think, feel and say areas, behaving authentically at all times. A leader should show integrity, respect and gratitude and act in a congruent way in line with what they are saying.

Building the tower

Building the tower

Feedback by giving aid

Greg and Marek opened the afternoon session by defining what people understand as feedback. The participants defined feedback as…

Giving information on how a process has been fulfilled, focusing on positives and things that can be improved. Desirable outcome is to approve the repetition of the work.

Greg and Merek gave the DHL definition of feedback as…

Communication to a person that gives them information about their performance, their behaviour and its impact on other people in order to build either competence or confidence.

They went on to say that there are two types of feedback: Motivational, to thank someone for doing a good job, or developmental, to build personal competence. They explained that DHL trains people in the two styles separately because they believe it is more important what the individuals takes away from the feedback rather than what the person giving the feedback says.

Next Greg and Marek explained that people respond to feedback in five stages. These are…

  • D – Denial
  • E – Emotion
  • R – Rationalisation
  • A – Acceptance
  • C – Change

They then introduced the AID model which is designed to give short, easy to understand feedback. Using the model people give feedback using just one sentence made up of three distinct parts…

  • Action – what is the problem
  • Impact – what is the effect
  • Do – what can you do about it

DHL believe that the model can be used anytime in every day situations to give instant feedback. However, they also use it as part of their appraisal systems which is linked directly to salary and performance reviews.

Following the instructions

Following the instructions

Puzzling for profit

The final session of the day saw the participants split into two groups and were asked to appoint a leader (who would receive feedback) and several observers (who would take notes) in each. The leader was given a set of instructions to the task that they would then have to carry out with the ultimate aim of producing as much as possible of two products for their fictional customer.

The two tasks that the groups needed to complete were to recreate a Lego tower that only certain members of each group were allowed to see and also to do as many 3×3 or 4×4 word grids as possible within the allocated time.

Reflecting the learning

Reflecting the learning

Following the time for completing the task the participants came back together toe reflect on what they could have done differently. They felt that overall they jumped into the task too quickly with no serious planning taking place and that too much excitement about the Lego meant people were drawn to that task. They also thought that the understanding of the rules was a bit unclear and there might have been a better way to share the information within their groups. Following the reflection on the task the groups gave feedback using the AID model to their chosen leader while Greg and Marek offered support on how to best use the model effectively.

The final part of the day saw the groups reflecting on their learning from the sessions in relation to the the Guild, youth work, themselves and training overall. You can see the groups reflections on Google Drive here.

Check back on the blog tomorrow for the final instalment from Youth Trainers Reboot.

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