Theory U @ Belfius Bank, Belgium

Since a couple of years, I work for Belfius Bank, together with my colleague Stien Michiels.

Focus of the work is the design and delivery of Leadership Journeys for high & young potential (team) leaders. 

Context: (1) Macro:  The financial sector in general is in transition. This bank is state-owned since 2012, as a result of the financial crisis, and thus becoming more aware of its role in society. (2) Micro: Belfius has highly competent managers, but struggles with leadership. The new CEO wants a more participatory leadership culture within the organisation. 

Below follows the description of the Leadership module we developed for the high potential teamleaders. The whole program takes 9 months, with 2 phases:

Phase 1 (4 months): The participants first develop their management competences: project management, OD, feedback culture, financial managent. (we are not delivering this phase)

Phase 2 (5 months): leadership journey, using Theory U.  

5 meetings:

1. Inspiration session: stories about inspirational leadership around the world.

2. CEO shares his vision for future, followed by a dialogue, in a world cafe setting.

3. 2-day workshop: starting with an introduction in Theory U, followed by learning journeys (visiting leaders in diverse organisations: a museum, ngo’s,  government, companies…).  Day 2 starts with reflective journaling and collective crystallising of the insights and vision.  Those are translated in prototypes.

4. During 2 months participants are given the time to develop the prototype and to start experimenting within the bank, in collaboration with all stakeholders involved. There is one intervision meeting, where they present the status and receive feedback and coaching.

5. 2 day-workshop. 1 day training in presentation skills and impro, followed by time to prepare the presentation.   On day 2, all the prototypes and their learnings are presented to the CEO and board of directors with an advise for the bank.

Outcome: 

Leadership skills:  Participants develop individual leadership skills, as well as collective leadership skills (how to work together, how to innovate within their organisation).  

Innovation: Every cycle, the CEO and board choose the prototypes that they believe in and start the process towards upscaling, involving the teamleaders of the training.