Engaging every Angel Trains employee in a common view of the future business

by Sarah

The challenge

Angel Trains is the UK’s leading train leasing company (these companies are known in the trade as ROSCOs), employing just over 100 people in London and Derby. With all the uncertainty in the rail industry following various reports and Government white papers, Angel’s challenge was to position itself strongly in the market, demonstrate the value it adds to its customers, stakeholders and UK plc, and be flexible enough to adapt to whichever way the proverbial wind blows in future.

To do this, the business had to become more proactive, with every single team and individual getting on the front foot and anticipating what their customers needed, perhaps even before customers knew it themselves! This was just as true for the likes of the Finance, HR and IT teams as it was for the customer-facing account managers or contract managers.

The Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Brown, and his leadership team decided that the time was right to engage with all his employees in what being on the front foot meant for them and to help them understand the part that they each played in delivering a very positive future for Angel Trains. This is when they called the Rambutan bunch.

The solution

We started off by helping the Board to articulate what the business challenges were, what being on the front foot meant and where they saw the business being in three years’ time. We did this through a combination of listening in one-to-one meetings and then facilitating them as a team. We described this future as if it was already a reality, by creating a newspaper front page -the team liked this so much it formed a central part of what came next!

With this vision of the future in the bag, it was time for the rest of the business to get their heads around what it was and what it meant. We designed a half-day workshop for them, which we ran several times so that all teams could attend and which we co-delivered each time with one of the Board members.The workshops took everyone on a journey from where they are today and the challenges they face, to the vision of the next few years. They worked collectively and individually to explore what this meant for them, in terms of behaviours, activity and relationships, before making team commitments about what they were going to do to contribute to the voyage ahead.

The result

There will continue to be plenty of change going on in the UK rail industry over the next few years. The ladies and gents at Angel are now more prepared than ever to face these challenges, and everyone involved is very optimistic. We’ve heard about loads of examples of where they’re being more proactive and their customers have made positive comments too.

Our favourite piece of feedback on the workshops themselves was, “My head hurts, but in a very good way, thank you.” We reckon this is because we really gave people the space and structure to think, and we love doing this!

What Malcolm said…

“Angel had a real sense of what we were trying to achieve but could not work out how to get there. Rambutan came in and LISTENED, they checked what we were after and took us with them as they designed a route path to our end goal. The feedback from the Angels has been amazing, the Front Foot events touched everyone, Rambutan were so close, had such a good understanding of the business that they became one of the team.”

Malcolm Brown, CEO

We’ll happily share more of this story over the phone or over a cuppa so please get in touch with us!