The British Land Company PLC is a FTSE 100 commercial property development company. With a current property portfolio valued at £17 billion, the company is viewed as one of the leading real estate investment trusts (REIT) in Europe.
British Land has developed a strong brand, setting a bold vision for the finance department: “To provide best in class finance expertise, execution and business support”.
The challenge was to take the vision and communicate it in a way that resonated personally with every member of staff, from graduates through the senior management.
A number of truths were identified in planning that underpinned our approach and led to the formulation of a clear strategy.
1. Best is a Sum of Many: To be the best as a whole, every part also needs to be the best (or at least be good and aspire to be the best).
2. Everyone Wants to Win: Who doesn’t want to be part of the winning team?
Therefore, we had to provide context to ‘best in class’ that could be interpreted by staff with different roles in different departments. Answering these questions provided a compelling 3 level messaging structure that allowed us to communicate the vision effectively to every member of staff, while motivating them to become best in class.
We captivated people with the vision by creating a buzz. When staff arrived at the Westminster Office we had implemented the messaging throughout the office.
Level 1: Set The Vision: To engage staff in the vision and seek the answer, we simply asked “Have you got what it takes to be best in class?”.
Level 2: Vision In Action: The vision in action was broken into ‘finance expertise’, ‘finance execution’ and ‘business support’. For each a working example was provided with the statement “That is best in class finance expertise (execution, or business support)”.
This messaging was communicated on posters and digital signage throughout the office.
Level 3: Individual Contribution: Each member of staff received a personalised mock-business book on their job function. The book was created to make them look like the expert in their field - “You wrote the book on it”.
The result was very positive, leading to a greater awareness and recall of the vision. More importantly, it provided a more in-depth understanding of what the vision meant and how it could be fulfilled on an ongoing basis by every member of the team.