Prosperity through people development

What we did

We created a management development and succession programme for Acteon, one of the world’s leading subsea engineering specialists serving the offshore oil and gas industry.

What we did

As a trusted consulting partner, we were able to provide genuine insight into the challenges Acteon faced. Our insight led to a progression in organisational development at Acteon and the creation of a business-changing management development and succession plan.

The scenario

Acteon’s leadership team of six presides over a privately owned, £497m turnover organisation (announced as Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Companies – 8th most profitable). Steady organic growth and recent investment to acquire new companies has seen a surge in the group’s turnover. Higher revenues have also raised the stakes for its leadership, now responsible for 14 subsidiaries. Massive growth has created a need for additional senior level support within the management structure

The organisation faced a problem: how to retain a flat structure, develop operating capacity and build succession, all at the same time.

We helped them find a solution to the problem.

The approach

Blueprint for success

It was clear that a structured approach to identifying and developing high calibre personnel was needed. However, before this could happen, we proposed that a ‘blueprint’ was necessary to record the reasons for the success of the current leadership team and the operational structure they had created.

For the first time, Acteon embarked on a process that explored and documented what made the senior team good at what they did, why they were valued so highly and what qualities and skills they exhibited that made them succeed. We also identified other factors that had become central to Acteon’s success, such as company culture and a decentralised operational style.

Once the all-important blueprint was in place, a succession plan could be confidently created.

The PACER Programme

We worked with Acteon to develop a structured, group-wide approach towards identifying and developing high calibre personnel with an aptitude for business improvement and management.

Talented individuals from within and outside are selected to take part in an intensive learning and development programme whilst continuing to contribute to the day-to-day performance of various Acteon subsidiaries. This provides a clear route for future senior management roles for the strongest performers, or PACERS.

Individuals work on operational issues across the group, coached by Acteon’s Vice President, Paul Alcock, so they continually learn about themselves and their own performance, as well as the company.

The results

Acteon has recruited talented individuals to deliver on its operational requirements and maintained its desired flat operational structure. In the longer term, it has secured the continued prosperity of the business through effective succession planning and people development.

Click here for news of our latest work with Acteon.

“Clearly, attracting and retaining talented individuals is central to any organisations’ prosperity. Where Wescott Williams added real value was in identifying the need to record our ‘blueprint’ or ‘genetic fingerprint’ for success, against which we can benchmark future recruits to the business. We have recruited good people into the business previously and performed phenomenally as a result, but what Wescott Williams did was turn this subconscious process into a conscious one. The consultancy’s insight led to the creation of a framework which enabled us to confidently employ recruits that will have a maximum positive impact on the business today and in the future.”

Paul Alcock, Vice President, Acteon

“It was a rigorous programme but it’s the fairest and most well thought out interview process I’ve ever been through. It was challenging to be tested in so many different and sometimes intense situations; however, I felt it was an intelligent way of working out if the candidate was someone you might want to employ. In the end, under such scrutiny, you just have to be yourself, as you can’t fake your own character and experience. Although it was tough, it gave me the confidence that if I could fulfil the tasks presented to me in the interview, then I should be able to fulfil the role. I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to be on Acteon’s management succession programme and just have to make sure I live up to expectations!”

Andrew Paterson, the first Acteon PACER recruit