- Case Study -Anaergia
Anaergia is a global leader in complete waste-to-value technologies, with projects and installations in 17 countries. Using waste to make renewable fuel, clean water and organic fertiliser, they’re committed to applying their expertise and technologies to combatting climate change by transforming waste into useful resources with the aim of protecting the environment and sustaining life for generations to come.
Countries with projects and installations
The environment, and how to preserve it for future generations, is the single most urgent challenge that humankind must deal with in the 21st century. Anaergia created a solution to eliminate a major source of greenhouse gases, by cost effectively turning organic waste into renewable natural gas (“RNG”), fertilizer and water, using proprietary technologies. It builds, and in some cases operates, plants for extracting organics from waste, implementing high efficiency anaerobic digestion, upgrading biogas, producing fertilizer and cleaning water.
Anaergia’s customers are in the municipal solid waste, municipal wastewater, agriculture, and food processing industries. In the UK alone, Anaergia can boast 13 biogas installations, and its senior team is made of experts in design, engineering, project management and high skilled personnel in relevant corporate functions.
The growth in environmental-related industries offers participating companies many opportunities but also many additional responsibilities and challenges. Anaergia was no exception, and its senior management was acutely aware of the need to foster an achievement, result-oriented culture, but nonetheless based on teamwork, effective communication, honesty and respect for the individual.
Anaergia contacted The Supply Chain Academy in search of a partner who could embark on, and assist with, an empowerment programme for its top team and, at a same time, provide a suite of tools and mechanisms to establish a sense of common purpose, commitment and belonging.
Jess Crane at Anaergia, said: “Before working with SCA we would hold our own team meetings to address the issues we were faced with as a business. Each time it felt as if we were going over old ground and not moving forward. The decision to bring in an external facilitator to our meetings was a breath of fresh air.
“SCA spent time building a picture of the business beforehand, so they could tailor a training programme that was relevant, challenging and inclusive. The feedback from our first session was fantastic and all very positive. The facilitator made us view things from a different perspective and we have introduced a number of the areas we discussed into our business.”
At The Supply Chain Academy, we have a longstanding tradition of working on change initiatives together with our customers, by co-designing the intervention in a way that takes into consideration our customer’s objectives, culture, communication style and concerns. We knew that the request to instigate and facilitate a behavioural change in an already successful, dynamic, growing organisation such as Anaergia, would have represented an exciting experience. Adding to the challenge, our intervention was to be delivered in a way that could minimise the risk of operational disruptions in an already busy organisation. As a result, we proposed to initiate this transformational journey with a cutting-edge change management technique, Appreciative Inquiry (AI).
The starting point, and over-arching principle, is that people, the participant in Appreciative Inquiry session(s), already have the experience, knowledge and skill to make changes effective and projects work. The guided workshop that our facilitator delivered at Anaergia, was one of SCA’s “Accelerated Development Events” aimed at providing the top team with a new tool to enable them to look at change programmes and projects from a new perspective but more importantly, more effectively together as a group. Appreciative Inquiry emphasises positive idea generation over negative problem identification. The model utilises questions and dialogue to help participants uncover existing assets, strengths, advantages, or opportunities in their organizations, or teams, and then collectively work toward developing and implementing strategies for improvement.
The first interactive session of the workshop was led by some defining questions, such as:
- What as a group, is your definition of success for the Company?
- What will make you smile and say ’we did it’ at the end of the business year?
- What do you want to be your core DNA?
The facilitator solicited feedback and interaction on the various viewpoints from the group to coach them to reach an agreed common definition of success.
The following session was utilised to ask participants to think of a successful endeavour (e.g. project) from the past, by striving to distil the characteristics, features and circumstances that had determined the success of their chosen examples. Then, working in groups to share their findings, attendees were able to concur on what “good looks like” in a project. The development of this ability to identify, communicate, and generate both rational and positive emotional responses to a common vision and the shared features of successful activities, represented a watershed moment in our intervention at Anaergia. As a result, following the workshop, the customer decided to progress with an Insight Discovery Programme in parallel with one-to-one business coaching for some key senior team members.
The rationale for deploying an Insight Discovery Programme is that the success of any organisation is built on the performance, communication and connection of its people. Reaching and maintaining a high performing culture can be achieved by improving self-awareness and in turn, the awareness and understanding of others. In our approach, we implemented strategies to deepen understanding, build trust, create greater impact from communication and enhance collaboration so that individuals and teams could reach their fullest potential and optimise their internal and external clients’ connections in more effective ways.
Insights Discovery is a simple and accessible four-colour model that helps understand ourselves and others better. Supported by an Insights Discovery Personal Profile, it helps create a common language within the organisation that makes it easier to identify strengths, address weaknesses and create stronger and clearer connections. The Insights Discovery model is thought and action provoking, creating a powerful foundation for ongoing development and learning programmes enabling people to be more aware of how they act, communicate and of their impact.
This is an ongoing exercise and some other initiatives, triggered by the outcomes of the initial workshops, are still being delivered. As honest Change practitioners know, behavioural change requires persistence, personal dedication and, above all, time. And yet, the positive impact of this work with Anaergia has already been embedded in the way the organisation operates.
In particular, the first workshop inspired by the Appreciative Inquire methodology led to noticeable results in establishing and clearly articulating a “Proposed Single Vision” for the future of Anaergia UK; participants were able to coalesce their ideas around shared leading themes to be used as guiding principles in their daily activities. A second, equally important result was achieved by carrying out a high-level review of working practices at Anaergia; at the end of the workshop, the attendees identified a list of effective habits that they had already adopted and were committed to maintain in the future (the “keep doing” habits), but also some performance-limiting actions and behaviours they wanted to eliminate (the “stop doing” habits).
It appeared that some issues underpinning these less desirable work practices could be tackled by improving the team’s appreciation of the crucial role of communication and self-awareness in improving working performance. In this respect, the Insight Discovery Programme provided the ideal forum and framework to help team members build greater understanding of themselves and their colleagues so that they could have more respectful, productive and positive working relationships, even virtually.
By knowing each other’s personal preferences, team members started reflecting and taking actions to better meet the needs of colleagues within their interactions, in meetings, everyday conversations, when collaborating on projects, and under pressure.
Jess Crane at Anaergia, said: “The Insights programme was a real eye-opener to recognise firstly who you are as a person but secondly appreciating your colleagues, as there was the understanding of what made them tick by seeing where they were placed on the wheel in relation to yourself.
By carrying out a number of exercises, over the course of a few training sessions, we got to understand each of the colour energies better and how these leading colours can work well together or sometimes against each other, in relation to our teams. This gave us the knowledge to adapt the way we would speak to colleagues or the way a task was approached, it could almost be described as a light bulb moment in some cases and has certainly changed the way we view ourselves and each other, for the positive.
The work we have done with Insights will stay with us and we look forward to continuing this with SCA in the future to build on our changed perspective and implement it into how we conduct our projects and improving the business.”
Our Creative Team
Paul is an experienced Human Resources and Managing Director with a history of working in Blue Chip multinationals, professional services, the public sector and more recently in the education management industry.
CP Training Gen Manager
Neil has been working in senior positions within supply chain education for the past five years, following over 25 years of practical logistics experience in a Blue Chip mulitnational company.