British Airways

High Performance Leadership

Exploring leadership capabilities in practice and how they can be successfully realised throughout the business in times of change.


In order to adapt to a changing environment, British Airways has introduced a 'High Performance Leadership' model to help achieve and deliver its business strategy. Up to 1000 middle managers attended a 'Masterclass' - delivered by Steps - to explore what these leadership capabilities mean in practice and how they can be successfully realised throughout the business.


Leadership behaviours are a key driver for BA, as a recognised global brand with a renowned reputation. In order to help create the right conditions for the introduction of this new model and way of working, the airline has created three leadership capabilities that are designed to help the business and its people develop a high performance culture. The capabilities will form a part of the performance management process and managers will be expected to role model and be measured against them.

The challenge for Steps was to create an engaging and thought provoking session for up to 150 delegates at a time. The session included:

  • A 'scam' speaker. Designed to portray the antithesis of desired behaviours and challenge the 'status quo'.
  • The exploration of case study situations through interactive forum workshop scenarios.
  • Group work/at table discussion groups.
  • An energising group exercise on effective communication, based around Chinese Whispers.
  • An energising feedback and motivation exercise involving throwing coloured paper balls into a bin!
  • Guest speaker. This former Olympian provided an empowering speech on motivation.
  • Action planning - focused group and individual time to consider what practical steps can be taken as a result of the day.

The exploration of each capability enables participants to explore and understand what they mean for them in their part of the organisation and what they can put into practice to achieve the desired culture change.

The style and approach taken by the Steps' workshop means that participants are constantly surprised and engaged by the subject matter, as well as challenged to consider how they can effectively play their part in delivering a culture of high performance and positive leadership.

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