February 14, 2020

MDA - Developing the Leaders of the Future

MDA - Developing the Leaders of the Future

The Challenge

In 2018, with a clear, ambitious, organic 5-year growth plan, MDA recognised the need to develop their talent, their next generation of leaders, to:

  1. continue to build a resilient business
  2. grow organically through repeat and new business
  3. deliver stronger than average profitability AND client value as a niche player in the market
  4. extend their collaborative and supportive environment to continue to attract strong professionals and talent into the wider delivery and client-facing team

With this purpose, MDA commissioned Rathbone Results in June 2018 to design and deliver a customised management development programme. Following broad consultation with Board Directors and emerging leaders, development needs were identified. Performance emerged as a key theme.


A bespoke programme consisting of three non-consecutive highly-participative one-day workshops was agreed – delivered over a period of three to four months to create momentum. The programme includes pre-work, for participants to prepare to engage more quickly, and post-workshop 1:1 coaching, to support the application of learning, for cohorts of six emerging leaders at a time. From managing and leading self and others to managing and leading the business, to managing and leading teams, the workshops raised self-awareness, sparked discussion and encouraged individual and collective action.


The first cohort completed the programme between October 2018 and January 2019, and the second between October and December 2019. Benefits to MDA are beginning to accrue, including the following:

  1. Promotion to the Board of one participant from the first cohort of 6
  2. 6% sales increase in the year against declining construction activity and GDP growth of 1%
  3. 4% increase in fees per fee-earner
  4. 11% reduction in debtor days
  5. More targeted business development (BD) activity through key account management
  6. Greater team-working through regular team meetings and structured activity reviews
  7. Greater collaboration and cross-selling across and within regional offices

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