Barclays was, at the time, bringing together all of their UK retail banking operations to create a single retail banking capability. ‘The Power of One’ was chosen as a title for the programme to illustrate the opportunity not just of the joined up organisation but of the potential difference the contribution from each member of staff could make.
The Birmingham National Exhibition Centre was hired and staff from all units in Barclays retail businesses were tasked with brining to life their part of the future strategy by creating an exhibition booth that should include an interactive challenge as well as four posters that articulate the key developments for their area. Around 60 booths were created, split into three themed areas – living the power, delivering the power, sharing the power. Activities at each site ranged from the simple (quiz style learning) to the complex racing multi-track scaletrix cars around a large track accompanied by a scripted narration, as an analogy of the changing market place and the pace of change.
As people visited each exhibition stand they were tasked with completing a personal track record to ensure they had captured the learning from each and considered their role in supporting delivery of that component. The 3 hour – go-where-you-want exhibition was followed by a brief collective session were some key messages were delivered. When participants returned to their normal work, they teamed up with others from their area to discuss the future and consider what they as a team could do to play their part in contributing to it.
The impact of the event was enormous. It created a huge amount of energy around the strategy and built levels of confidence as well as understanding about what everyone needed to do to win – The Power of One. So successful was the format that for the next 3 years the approach dominated the engagement agenda for the UK Retail Bank with annual strategy communication cycles being based on similar, but ever more ambitious approaches. On one occasion Wembley Stadium was hired and the entire organisation was invited to a learning/celebration event over a three day period.