Sarah Ferguson, a Business Analyst Practice Manager at leading insurer LV= General Insurance, looks after a team of 30 business analysts. As an experienced manager, Sarah applied for a place on the Best Loved Leaders programme to formalise her approach to leading and developing a large team.
Sarah’s role is to make sure the analysts have consistent ways of working, manage resourcing and ensure that change projects run smoothly across the company. She is now approaching the final assessment stages of the 13-month programme, which leads to the Chartered Management Institute Level 5 Certificate in Management and Leadership.
Sarah commented, ‘I love the fact I’m dedicating time to my own continuous learning, which would undoubtedly otherwise have been de-prioritised. I’ve really enjoyed the course. Some areas of the course cemented leadership approaches I was already taking, perhaps having not realised the theory behind it. Other modules have been totally new to me. It really has enabled me to expand my horizons and gain new perspectives on how to help my team perform.’
Work-based project impact
Each learner on a Corndel Level 5 Leadership and Management Diploma benefits from a work-based project to demonstrate new leadership skills and put new tools into practice. For her work-based project element of the programme, Sarah proposed to lead an innovative project to reduce cost, time and risk for a forthcoming acquisition which would help LV=General Insurance diversify. Such an acquisition would usually require a costly large-scale integration programme involving many people.
Sarah came up with the idea of running a pre-acquisition discovery project to get a focused team set up ahead to work out exactly what was needed. Led by Sarah, and drawing on frameworks learned on the course, this highly focused and highly skilled team worked for four months to agree and document what was needed.
The recommendations have now been taken forward to inform integration projects such as IT build or process change, streamlining a complex, costly process. By effectively managing stakeholders and keeping them fully informed about the project, when Covid-19 struck, senior leaders were able to focus on the business’s response without the integration project being delayed.
Sarah recommends the programme to other leaders and highlights its relevance even for experienced managers. ‘I was absolutely surprised at how much I learnt. With the one-to-one support of my coach throughout, I was given guidance and regularly stretched to look at things differently. The course has made me realise the value of mentorship and the benefit of having a network of peers from across the business to challenge and support.’