Iberdrola is a Spanish multinational electric utility company based in Bilbao. It has a workforce of over 31,000 employees in dozens of countries, on four continents, serving over 30 million customers. Subsidiaries include Scottish Power (Scotland), Elektro (Brazil) and Iberdrola USA.

Iberdrola integrated a new organisation in September 2008 that, distributes electricity and gas to 2.42 million customers.


A need was identified to support managers and directors in the subsidiary with structured and finely targeted leadership development. The initial target population was 90-100 people who were running departments or functions, and in some cases specialist individuals.

The Head of Talent Development had experienced one of our programmes, believing our approach was ideal for Iberdrola and that the pitch and content of the work we do would be a perfect match for their environment.

The Challenge

To design an intervention to support the development of high-performance teams and faster execution; aligned to a new global leadership competency model. This involved researching and validating the areas in which they needed support; reviewing existing programmes which were believed to be close to what was required; making modifications to focus on the identified needs; and ensuring consistency with senior leader development at Group level in Spain.

We worked with the corporate team in Spain to ensure alignment with the central strategy and their newly revised Senior Leader Competency Model. We carried out research interviews with key stakeholders; including senior leaders, HR and target participants. This surfaced the key issues they were dealing with and where to place emphasis in the programme. All materials, including case studies and content, were written and delivered to focus on real business issues and reflect their environment. Two pilot programmes were run in autumn 2012 to fine tune and validate the content.

The Solution

A programme that runs over 4 days that is highly interactive and experiential in which participants learn through:

  • working in small groups
  • using multiple development models and highly interactive exercises and case studies
  • experiencing, engaging in dialogue, and reflecting on their learning in ‘real time’
  • applying their learning to their own situations and issues
  • action planning to be shared and followed up with their own line manager

The content is linked directly to the Iberdrola Leadership Competencies, providing support for the worldwide rollout of that model, and direct practical support for the managers in developing the required skills and behaviours.

Participants work on personal strategies and action plans to develop their ability to execute quickly and effectively through others in situations where they have managerial or functional responsibility (direct or non-direct reports).

Topics covered:

  • Faster execution
  • Managing purposefully
  • Generating focus and energy
  • Taking personal responsibility
  • Focusing on the right things
  • Aligning decision making
  • Adapting leadership styles
  • Engagement and motivation
  • Developing powerful leadership legacies

The programme ran six times in the first year to cover the initial target population and received excellent feedback. Additional programmes are now scheduled to support leaders in ‘the pipeline’. In addition, 1 day follow-up workshops are taking place to reinforce the learning, add new insights and maintain momentum in applying the learning. The senior team have been delighted with the impact so far and have commissioned a new version for Supervisors. This has been piloted and is rolling out through the first half of 2014.

Sample Participant Feedback:

“The absolute best training I have ever attended. You guys made it work for me.”

“The best Leadership training I have been involved with.”

“The material was excellent and I feel useful for a variety of Management positions.”

“The content was spot on for the issues and challenges faced in managing a group of people. The learning activities were fun and I learned much about my personal leadership style. In doing so, I hope to focus my behaviour to match the various situations I face in the work place.”

“The way material was presented and exercised made the content relevant to current and future work situations. More application than theory made the information useful. This class made you think and find ways you want to and will work the material into real situations immediately.”