by Gwyn Williams and Bruce Milroy

Case study

The following is a case study of a senior management team.

This team led a function that was performing well, yet the managers felt it could perform to a higher standard.

The team got together to debate some of the issues highlighted in this section on building a high-performing team and created the following output document.

The aim of getting together was to examine the level of clarity they had around the way they behaved towards each other in the team, and the impact this had on their ability to make decisions and communicate consistently with their staff.

The following documents were circulated to all members of the team and were reviewed at meetings over the following months to test and check whether progress was being made.

Board of Management (Retail sector)

Document 1: Overview


Following the 15th/16th December awaydays we have decided to radically change the way we manage the business in order to consolidate and accelerate the change next year.

The changes outlined below will result in faster decision making and action, clearer accountability and increased focus.


  1. The Board of Management (BOM) will meet fortnightly for [three hours] alternating between driving business performance and strategic programme.

There will be a number of standard reports for these meetings.

The BOM will focus on policy, commissioning work and decisions.

  1. Specific Director accountabilities will be dealt with through monthly one to ones with the MD. These sessions will focus on business objectives, supported by standard progress reports. These meetings will be 120 minutes duration.

Quarterly formal performance reviews will take place, including a review of progress of development plans.

  1. BOM Directors have formal monthly one to ones with each other to deal with cross-functional opportunities and issues.
  2. The BOM will meet for two days every 90 days to cover:
  • BOM effectiveness and efficiency
  • Big picture review
  • People development/succession planning
  1. The Programme Office will be strengthened by moving all project managers under the Programme Office and setting up a ‘Design Authority’ to maintain a rolling Integrated Plan, stop projects, initiate projects and coordinate across Retail functions. The Programme Office/Commercial will report to the BOM meetings monthly.
  2. A ‘Guiding Coalition’ will be set up to drive action around enhanced performance and the Values.
  3. The ‘first line’ will be immersed in the plans and be updated regularly as to progress.
  4. BOM sub-groups may be set up to drive specific large activities (for instance Plan B Products) at speed

Document 2: Ground rules

  1. Each meeting will have an agenda, reports based on fact, minutes and action points.
  2. Nothing will be discussed that isn’t on the agenda.
  3. Reports/documents and so on must be circulated three working days in advance or the item will be thrown off the agenda.
  4. Each agenda item will be marked for Discussion/Decision/Action to help us identify what needs to happen.

The decision(s) required by the Board of Management must be clearly stated.

  1. Decisions made will be final, cabinet responsibility applies.
  2. Keep out of the detail.

Document 3: Fortnightly meetings agenda

  1. Business performance

To include half-hour round robin

Review of:

  • Previous month’s sales performance )
  • Operating performance                   ) KPI’s
  • Financial performance                     )
  • Risk review
  • Year end latest forecast
  • Opportunities and issues
  • Compliance report
  • Report outs on specifically commissioned actions/projects
  • CBA sign offs
  1. Strategic programme

To include half-hour round robin

Strategic review

  • Previous actions
  • Programme variances and issues
  • Benefit delivery cost management
  • CBA sign-off

Strategic preview

  • Competitor analysis
  • New ideas
  • Issues to resolve


  • Cross functional/cross business unit/BOM
  • Post implementation reviews

Document 4: Director monthly one-to-ones (two hours) agenda

  1. Previous action point review
  2. Functional review (report)
  • Performance and variances against plan/targets
  • Issues resolved
  • Issues outstanding
  1. Functional activities next two weeks (report)
  • Achievements/results expected
  • Issues expected
  • What’s coming 60 days out?
  1. Effectiveness
  • What support required from MD
  • Team effectiveness
  • Cross-functional issues
  1. Action point summary