Delivering Results: Connecting Strategy & Leader Development

CLIENT:Barclaycard, part of Barclays PLC
LOCATION:Headquartered in London, UK and operating in 20 countries around the world
SIZE:3,000+ employees

Client Profile & Challenge

Barclaycard, a global payment business, faced dual challenges: Internally, it was driving a renewed focus on customer needs and customer experience through greater collaboration, innovation, and operational excellence. Externally, the financial sector was experiencing significant turmoil and rapid change.

The company needed leaders with the skills to manage in that difficult external environment while transforming the business. Its previous leadership development programs had been segmented within business units, but the firm needed a unified leadership development strategy that connected to its business strategy.

Particularly important, were a group of about 125 “managers of managers” who were responsible for developing and implementing operational plans to carry out the business strategy and deliver on stretch goals. Though these executives were strong and capable leaders, they had some gaps in critical areas.

To be successful these leaders needed to:

  • Collaborate,
  • Influence without authority,
  • Drive innovation,
  • Coach others,
  • Build and maintain relationships,
  • Gain global awareness,
  • Translate strategy into action, and
  • Enact principles of connected leadership.
Barclaycard connecting strategy case study

Solution & Results

Barclaycard worked with CCL and Ashbridge Business School to structure a program that would combine big-picture organizational strategy with individual leader development. The program was structured as 2 3-day sessions held 6 weeks apart.

The objectives of the leadership development initiative were to:

  • Build the leadership culture;
  • Connect strategy and leadership;
  • Align knowledge, skills, and action;
  • Improve ability to work across boundaries; and
  • Encourage ownership and engagement.

Coaching and action learning projects helped participants integrate lessons learned into their personal development, create practical plans for converting strategy to operations, and build stronger relationships within their departments and across the company. The leadership components were informed by our expansive expertise in leadership development, tailored to Barclaycard’s needs. This included our 360 by Design assessment and other personality measurement tools to help participants gain insights into their individual strengths, challenges, and behavior patterns. Participants learned strategies for giving and receiving feedback, influencing, communicating, and leveraging social capital as a leadership asset.

Over 2 years, 120 managers participated in the initiative.

Managers who went through the experience, as well as their bosses and their direct reports, reported strong outcomes. In particular, the participants made significant improvements in leadership effectiveness, collaboration, and influence. In the teams those participants led, 80% felt more empowered to do their work and 70% felt more engaged.


  • 100% of participants felt they had become more effective leaders,
  • 92% of participants’ direct reports said their managers had become more effective leaders, and
  • 92% of direct reports said their managers had improved their ability to “establish strong, collaborative relationships.”

Participants Say

“We had been a very high-performing organization and our managers had great experience and expertise. But new realities and our ambitious agenda require greater innovation in what we do and how we work. Our leadership development strategy had to acknowledge and address this so we would have the capacity we need in the future.”

James Prior

Head of Executive Development

“We are seeing the initiative people are taking to connect with others across functions, geography, and levels in the organization. They are not just staying connected with their colleagues from the course, but reaching out to other parts of the organization. They see the value that multiple perspectives can add to their work and their personal development.”

Eva Vandor

Head of Barclaycard Academy

“After the course, I felt lifted above the daily challenges of my role to a broader and more strategic level supported by the peer group with whom I attended the course. It was one of the best executive development courses I have attended.”


Barclaycard Executing the Programme

Partner With Us

Achieving business success requires a common leadership language and consistent feedback process. We can partner with you to design a leadership development program tailored to your unique needs using our research-based 360-degree assessments.

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