Case Study - Partnership Between Two Major UK Retailers

You witnessed my 4Sight at Gateshead which is a moving experience of various challenges in my life. You then gave me very helpful feedback, support and advice so when you saw it again at Durham it was sharper, more direct and i was in control. thank you very much helping to remove the barriers.

Mike McCoy

Collaboration between these two organisations and a voluntary sector organisation, with a view to developing creative thought, exposure to different leadership styles, communicating and influencing without authority, consultation and decision-making.


  • Three managers from each retail organisation participated in a 6-month project, using 20 days management time.
  • Voluntary organisation wanted access to businesses to build a platform to develop working partnerships (rather than just funding) and to approach this with new perspectives and enabling new understanding.
  • The scope was open-ended, which enabled each organisation to determine its own parameters through a consultation process


  • Participants spent the first 4 months 'falling over themselves'. Facilitators had to resist temptation to intervene. The key learning point for the participants was about removing preconceived ideas and just being open and honest about how they were feeling with one another. As soon as this openness was achieved then it became much easier to work on the process without inhibiting behaviours.

Senior stakeholders from both retail organisations and members fed back after the 6 months. The desired outcomes set out at the beginning were exceeded, they:

  • developed their managerial skills
  • began to share best practice without barriers
  • had first hand experience of joint project management
  • felt valued and developed by their respective organisations
  • recognised that motivation retains good people
  • felt it helped individuals as well as the departments in which they worked

Future plans are to conduct a similar project, possibly with different organisations. Senior stakeholders are now beginning to network and address common corporate issues together.