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Why you need a reality check before hitting the corporate cascade send button

By Wayne Clarke, Founding Partner

Here’s a little story to start us off on this subject. I spent two days with the senior management team of a company, working with them to talk through and develop some new ideas around their corporate culture. We had done a good job, I thought, and had made some excellent progress. It was at this point that the managing director turned to the communications director and said: “Could you make sure you cascade this to everyone as soon as you can, please?”

Now, even had that been a sensible idea, the communications director would have had to possess the writing skills of William Shakespeare to have had any chance at all of condensing our two days of thought, debate and discussion into any kind of ‘cascadable’ document. They would not have had the remotest chance of turning all that work into a communication which would have encompassed even a second of all that hard work, let alone put it into a document which could have enthused a single employee down at the front line of their business.

Of course, it wasn’t a sensible idea. But, let’s be honest now: how many senior teams out there have not been so much in love with their own brilliant suggestions for the way to change their organisation from top to bottom that they haven’t, even just for a moment, applied a reality check before they hit the send button. It’s easy to do, of course, and that’s probably why it keeps on happening, but it’s not the best way to do it.

After all, you’ve just spent a lot of time and effort on that plan. To you it’s the coolest thing on the planet. An effortless set of proposals hammered out by some of the best brains at the top of your business. Why wouldn’t you want to share it with all your employees straight away? But that is precisely why you need to stop right there and think again.

Just because you’ve lovingly crafted it, it doesn’t mean anything. Down on the shop floor (and this is also based on a real story I came across) they are worried about that fluorescent strip lighting in the warehouse that has been blinking on and off like a disco for the past six months. They’re fed up asking for it to be fixed. Now along comes their line manager, who knows about the problem and, as far as they are concerned, has done nothing about it, who is about to gather them around and ‘cascade’ your ‘exciting’ hard work about the new direction for the business. You think they’re going to listen to a single word? You bet your life they’re not.

A couple of things here. First, and most obvious, you need to address the things that matter to those frontline employees before you have any chance of communicating significant cultural change. Secondly, you’re only going to be able to know about the things that really matter if you have some way to connect with them. Connect and you can tap into the fundamental intelligence that they will be only too willing to share if only you’d stop cascading and listen.

But we do listen, you’ll tell me. You point to your regular employee satisfaction survey as evidence of this. Fine. So how many of your surveys have open ended questions? Because of all the questions you ask, those are the most important of all, and I can tell you right now, from years of personal experience, that only 5% of managers read those open ended answers.

Just 5%. That’s an awful lot of flickering lighting, itchy uniforms and poor quality staff lockers which are not being fixed, and until they are fixed those days spent locked away with expensive consultants in hotel rooms are a waste.

Instead of hitting the cascade, here’s an idea. When you’ve done your corporate thinking, get each of the senior team to sit down with a group of front line employees and set aside a half hour or an hour on a regular basis with them for six months. By all means share your thinking with them, but above all listen and have a conversation with them, tap into their knowledge and the intelligence which they have in abundance, if you’d just give them a chance. It will transform your business in a way no conventional ‘cascade’ even could.

Which leads me to one other reflection I’d like to share. We are now in a world where everything your business does can easily be copied by a competitor. The barriers to entry in the world of business have never been lower. You could set up a bank tomorrow with as little as £250,000. What you do is no longer what’s important, but how you do it. The only thing your competitor can’t copy in a successful business are the ideas that drive that business and the people who take those ideas and make them successful. Everything else is up for grabs.

To be one of the leaders, you need to be different. To do that you need good people, and you need good managers to lead those people. While some managers are born to the role, many others find themselves, for whatever reasons, thrust into that position. Many of your frontline managers will be just 20 or 30 years of age. With luck they may have had good managers themselves to learn from. There’s the problem – too much is left to luck and not enough time is dedicated to giving those up and coming managers the training and support they need to do a difficult job well. And increasingly you need them to ensure that your all important cultural strategy is delivered where it matters – right at the frontline.

Two final things to think about…

One, how do you create a successful culture and get employees to be as enthusiastic about it and committed to it as you are?

Second, how can you make sure that the people who have to manage that cultural change have the backing, training and support they need to make it happen?

Fail to address those two questions and you can spend all the days and nights you can handle in expensive hotels arguing the toss over whether to include ‘unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit of frontline staff’ in the final document. Because you’ll be wasting your time if you don’t answer those two vital questions first.

Thoughts, suggestions, feedback or idea’s, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch:

World Class Manager India
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The UK training programme helps to up-skill India’s managers

Skilling India’s Future:  A Global Youth Skill Development Conclave organised by Ignite India and The Global Growth Institute hosted at Agni College of Technology was inaugurated by the Honourable Minister for School Education Shri KA Sengottaiyan on the 17th of May 2018.

India has long recognised the need for scaling up their efforts to enhance skill development across the country, in the context of their transition to a knowledge-based economy, through the creation of a professional skilled workforce.

Governmental efforts, especially in recent times, in the area of skill development has shown through a variety of schemes and programmes. The Global Growth Institute (GGI) has signed a partnership agreement with Ignite India in their new joint mission of “imparting skill development training to 1 million youth across the world.”

The Honorable Minister spoke of the importance of developing skills at schools and colleges. He also emphasised the government is taking all steps to eliminate “mug-up” practice for exams.

Wayne Clarke, the founding partner of the GGI said: “We are incredibly proud to launch World Class Manager in India. We believe the rollout of the programme will play a significant role in local communities who are in a desperate need to upskill their managers.”

He added: “World Class Manager has been successfully deployed in the United Kingdom, Mongolia and Turkey.”

Over 700 students from different colleges have participated in the conclave where 50 speakers from a diverse set of industries will be sharing their knowledge and perspectives on the topics such as: future of education system, the new age skills for a transforming economy, entrepreneurship, skills gap, leading and building game-changing teams.

World Class Manager, red thread partnership
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Innovative Disruptor Product (World Class SME) helps UK SME’s upskill their managers, fast!

There are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK which make up over 99% of all businesses. According to a recent study*, a fifth of workers (20%) don’t trust their managers. One of the main reasons for it is that they don’t feel supported at work (59%). People are often promoted in managerial roles but don’t necessarily have the tools to manage effectively!

This creates a real challenge to effective leadership, improving productivity and building successful businesses.

The GGI (creators of the acclaimed online World Class Manager programme) have recently signed a partnership deal with the Milton Keynes based consultancy The Red Thread Partnership to address these problems. Together they have created ‘World Class SME’ – an innovative, online programme of bite-sized learning, accessible on any device.

Built on best practices from 1000’s of great managers around the world, World Class SME enhances the performance of managers, teams and their organisation.

Wayne Clarke, the Founding Partner of the GGI said: “World Class SME is designed to help UK companies win in every competitive and global business world. It levels the playing field as we know that managerial strength is key to productivity, customer service delivery and profitability. We believe it is a 21st-century solution for today’s time-poor manager and cost-constrained world.”

The Red Thread Partnership is a leadership development company helping UK SMEs develop leaders, nurture and grow great teams. Freddie Guilmard, the Managing Director said: “This is another commitment from The Red Thread to be seen as a disruptor in the Learning and Development sector by enabling managers to get access to World Class content at an affordable cost.”

According to the survey conducted by Academy for Chief Executives, the number one issue for SME Businesses is the Quality of People – recruiting, retaining and developing employees, is seen as paramount. One way to boost productivity levels is by improving management quality. World Class Managers lead effective teams, create great working cultures, increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and employee turnover.

The online World Class Manager programme (a core component of World Class SME) is already being successfully used by some of the UK’s leading companies who are reporting improvement rates of over 95%.

*Study in The Culture Economy.

World Class Manager Reaches Turkey
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The UK and Turkey relationship strengthen by the roll-out of manager training programme

The UK company Global Growth Institute (GGI) works with governments, companies and leaders across the globe to maximise their investment in people. GGI launched their bespoke leadership programme World Class Manager (WCM) in the prestigious British Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on the 26th of April 2018.

The programme will be rolled out across the region to help young Turkish leaders and managers to benefit from the best practices from thousands of managers around the world and to meet global management standards.

Wayne Clarke from the GGI said: “The launch in Turkey is incredibly significant to us because of the potential and scale of change we can achieve. Turkey has a fast-growing economy and 50% of their population is under 30 years old. The rollout of the WCM in Turkey would fulfil our desire to make an impact on the international level.”

The Department for International Trade has been extremely helpful in helping us to establish our partnership with Turkey and we appreciate their help in allowing us to hold the event at the location,” he added.

The WCM has a big impact on the relationship between the UK and Turkey as the programme puts managers from both countries into one ecosystem where they can share and learn from each other.

Ismail Haznedar, the Managing Director of Stratejik Isler Danismanlik said that the current economic challenges in Turkish economy present huge opportunities.

He said: “Majority of the Turkish companies are at the growth stage now, but they lack something very important and very crucial – the global experience.”

The WCM offers the global perspective. Future managers from some of the local Turkish companies will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of other international and global companies. This should bring a great value to them and help to boost their growth process.

Ismail Haznedar added: “We have participated in Turkey Management Innovation Forum and took part in a panel session about technology and shaping the future management in Turkey. It was highlighted that people and human capital, in particular, should be the main strength of our country. We need to invest in our talents, engage with them and create opportunities for them.”


World Class Manager BG healthcare partnership
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GGI partners with BG Healthcare to develop World Class Managers

GGI partners with BG Healthcare to develop World Class Managers

Why engaging managers matter in the Healthcare Sector

 In today’s fast-paced world, we need to keep up with the demands of our customers, the needs of our shareholders and ultimately engage the most important asset of all, our people. Swap those customers to patients who need the ultimate service level, care to make them better add in an increasingly squeeze of budgets to satisfy your shareholders and a struggle to attract, retain and develop talent.

All major organisations in Healthcare are feeling the pinch in every sense of the above, with the latest analysis in December 2017 showing the NHS alone has at least 36,000 full-time equivalent nursing vacancies, and the number could actually be as high as 42,000.

Here at The Global Growth Institute (GGI), we understand the importance of employee engagement, Where engaging, retaining and developing world-class managers should be at the forefront of any organisations success. It has been proven time and time again that engaged employees are:

  • Happier in their work
  • More reliable
  • More productive
  • Willing to go the ‘extra mile’ for colleagues and customers, which has a knock effect on improved patient care
  • More creative and willing to contribute more to the success of the organisation

According to the CIPD statistics, 7 out of 10 people leave the manager, not the organisation. They join the organisation because they believe in the cause and purpose but 70% of the time they will leave due to bad management. This is a staggering statistic. We must equip all managers to be the very best at what they are meant to do – manage people.

Our journey in the health sector began back in September 2017, when we held a launch conference event for the sector along with Bryan Griffiths, Founder of BG Healthcare Consultancy. Bryan has a wealth of experience as a medical devices development professional and has also worked in the NHS in a number of innovation roles. Bryan has experience of running both national NHS programmes as well as regional clinical initiatives.

A large number of people attended the conference to hear from GGI’s Founding Partner Wayne Clarke and Bryan to gain insights of what ‘great’ looks like and participated in an in-depth discussion around how best practice can be applied in their organisations, trusts and various roles.

Following the success of the event, we have since launched World Class Manager in some of the Northwest biggest Hospitals and NHS trusts. The GGI & BG Healthcare work closely with each trust to develop a number of managers, hold focus groups and gain real-time feedback of what can be done to help further develop management levels and improve organisational performance.

  • On-line course means no requirement to leave the workplace
  • Short bursts of learning mean no requirements to take time out of the working day
  • Low cost for the full online programme means a lower investment is required


A recent Gallop survey measured over 50,000 businesses that included roughly 1.5 million employees from 34 countries. The research showed that those in the top quartile had 37% lower absenteeism than those in a lower quartile.

Managers are key to help tackle absenteeism in the workplace. The relationships they build with their team will make them more aware of the team members work / life balance, both physical and physiological well-being as well as their economic and environmental health.

By managing a team in a supportive and true way, engaged workforces reduce absenteeism. This will directly affect bottom line performance.

Employee Turnover

Whilst a certain degree of employee turnover is considered healthy and a refreshing morale booster, a high rate of turnover (particularly if it is sustained) can result in a lack of engagement. The average rate of employee turnover in the UK stands at around 15%, though this figure does vary from industry to industry.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that low levels of engagement across an organisation can lead to higher rates of employee turnover and vice versa. In one study, 66% of highly engaged employees reported that they had no plans to leave their company, while only 3% of them were actively looking to change jobs, compared to 12% and 31%, respectively for disengaged employees. Another study of nearly 24,000 business units compared top quartile and bottom quartile engagement scores and found that those in the bottom quartile averaged 31% –51% more employee turnover.

According to the Telegraph, NHS spending on agency staff increased by £400 million in the 2015-2016 financial year, and despite an attempted crackdown, locum staff cost the NHS £3.7 billion. By equipping managers to engage employees, we can contribute to reducing this cost.

Customer (Patient) Satisfaction Levels

Happy Employees = Happy Customers. This is not just speculation; these two elements are deeply connected. The Gallup Workplace study found that companies in the top quartile of employee engagement experience had 10% higher customer ratings!

Engaged employees not only spread their enthusiasm to customers, but they are also more dedicated to providing the best product and service to their customers. While studies show that engaged employees lead to satisfied customers, satisfied customers also play a role in employee engagement. Positive customer experiences can reinforce how employees feel about the value and purpose of their work. While it’s important to learn from negative customer experiences, customer success stories serve as a paradigm for behaviour and decision- making going forward.

Managers and supervisors should highlight and recognise customer satisfaction to drive engagement.

Employee Productivity

Employee productivity is key to any business. After all, when teams are able to make substantial gains and improvements in a short amount of time, it can have a huge impact on the bottom-line. The more efficient your employees are, the more successful you’ll be as a business.

(Source: The McKinsey Global Institute, Gallup,  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tower Watson, Cornerstone)