Building Effective Relationships for Positive Business Impact

Motability Operations

Motability Operations is the commercial arm associated with Motability, the Charity that works to enable people with disabilities to become more mobile. The Finance team within Motability Operations had an opportunity to ‘step up’ into the Business Partner space to support the ongoing development of the business. Our interventions have resulted in increasingly trusting and fruitful relationships between Finance and the Heads of the business, leading to better decisions and implementation of planned changes.

The Story of Motability Operations

Motability Operations supports people with disabilities to achieve greater independence, by giving them access to affordable, worry-free mobility.

The purpose of the organisation is to improve the lives of over 700,000 customers and their families and focus on meeting their needs. They aim to offer unbeatable value and provide award-winning customer service.

They lease cars, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs in exchange for the mobility allowance awarded to people with disabilities. They are one of the largest buyers of new cars in the UK.

All of the profits are reinvested into the scheme for the benefit of customers.

The Challenge

To ensure that resources are used effectively, the Finance team play a key role in supporting an understanding of the total business value that underpin key decisions, as well as monitoring and reporting financial performance. This role is elevated in periods of dynamic change, be that the impact of pandemic, economic, market or technology (such as the shift to electric vehicles).

As a result, the Finance team needed to grow and evolve so that it could provide effective support, insightful challenge and impactful information to the Business Heads as they make the decisions needed to respond to the marketplace challenges and opportunities.

The Finance team members had a range of experiences and were at different levels of effectiveness with their relationship-building skills. They were finding it hard to get in front of the Leaders that mattered and build strong relationships with them. As a result, the senior Leadership were not benefitting from the insight that Finance could offer to make the best decisions for the business.

The Solution

Having heard the articulation of the ‘need’ during discovery meetings, we put forward a set of proposals to meet that need, which were adapted during discussions and finalised ahead of the first session. It was a smooth running and mutually collaborative journey. 

The ‘solution’ was a series of two, two-day Workshops for the team involving exploration of the role and journey of Business Partnering, coverage of the key skills needed to build effective relationships and practical application of these by means of ‘role player’ meetings and group discussion and practise. Individual coaching and feedback were given to each team member to enhance and embed their learning journeys.

The Results

It was apparent that even after the first Workshop the team had gained greater confidence in the value of their role and how it could and should contribute to the business’ success. They reported that they were beginning to be ‘invited in’ to their functional area management meetings and getting ‘face time’ with those making the key decisions and running key areas of operation. As a result, they were able to start informing the decisions and influencing the changes and the implementation plans to ensure they reflected the full commercial implications that were relevant.

Gareth Everson, Strategy and Planning Director, and head of the team in question had this to say about the role his team is now playing in the business: 

“…It was great to pull the team away from their day-jobs to focus on where they can add most value to the organisation, this being to proactively support optimal decision-making rather than reactively reviewing impacts after implementation. Andrew delivered a tailored programme providing the team with the insight, practical guidance and confidence to take their business partnering engagement to the next level.”

Andrew Deller, PotentialSquared Facilitator said; “The team were fully engaged in this challenging development workshop which stretched their thinking and skillset. Even by the time Module 2 took place, they were already reporting a greater level of engagement and impact with their customer areas.”

How effective are your Business Partner teams at achieving influence with those at the ‘top table’? Are they developing and sustaining strong business relationships of trust and impact? We work with Business Partner teams in Finance, IT, Risk and HR.  Get in touch to discover how we can support your team in maximizing their full potential.