Housing - The Guinness Trust Group

The Guinness Trust was founded in 1890 with an endowment of £200,000 from the grandson of the founder of the Guinness brewery in order to "ameliorate the condition of the poorer classes of the working population of London. Currently the Group provides accommodation for more than 60,000 people in over 25,000 homes across the country. It is one of the largest housing associations in England with fixed assets of over £1bn and a turnover in excess of £90m. It's motto, "the long term approach" reflects an ongoing commitment to "improving the lives of people on low incomes and supporting lasting communities".

Cygnet's work with the Guinness Trust began with sessions with the Corporate Management Team clarifying an understanding of the strategic challenges facing the organisation and reflecting upon the culture change needed to bring about those changes.

Working with an in-house project team to draft the competencies needed at each level of the organisation was the next step. Cygnet's familiarity with the MCi framework proved invaluable here. Cygnet then facilitated the testing of this draft competency framework with various focus groups, analysed written feedback and together with the project team produced a working framework.

The next step was to profile around 100 senior staff against these competencies using a mixture of written feedback and an interactive profiling day. Each participant received a brief written report on how they measured up against the framework, but more importantly generic needs within the organisation were identified.

Together with the project team, Cygnet then designed a 6-day programme of management development to address these needs. This was subsequently rolled out in an amended form to some 300 next level managers.

As Cygnet gained an increasing familiarity with the business, they were able to provide various other services to the Trust. These ranged from facilitating the Corporate Team in the development of their 5-year plan to gathering feedback from tenant forums, to helping design a Project Management System and provide training in its use.