Acorn Coaching and Development

Improving business performance

Carillion telent

Team Coaching for JV delivering BT Openreach programme

The Carillion telent joint venture, tasked with delivering BT’s Openreach programme of telecom network fibre optic upgrades across the UK, is now making better connections within its team and with customers thanks to Acorn Coaching & Development.

  • Cailliontelent-2


The Carillion-led joint venture with telent is responsible for the maintenance and development of the BT Openreach telephone infrastructure, delivering a number of services including civil engineering, cabling, heavy cable recovery and constructing the ‘Next Generation Access’ infrastructure in a contract currently valued £1.75bn over 7 years.

Openreach’s Next Generation Access programme is of key strategic importance to BT plc providing millions of UK homes with access to fibre-based superfast broadband.

Carillion telent has consolidated Openreach's previous regional supply chain into a national single delivery contract. Carillion telent has around 600 staff managing 2,500 strong field operatives across a supply chain that services the UK, excluding Northern Ireland

The scope of supply includes completing around 17,000 civil engineering orders and 4000 cabling and jointing orders each month, recovering around 60,000 tonnes of cable annually and replacing 36,000 telegraph poles each year.

As a result of the contract Openreach now has a single national supplier for network installation services with regional office structure and regional supply chain partners, replacing the previous arrangement of 5 separate regional contractors.


Carillion telent has worked closely with Openreach to meet the huge demands of the work schedule and balance the pressures of minimising disruption to BT service customers while also creating the new operational infrastructure.

Creating and maintaining the highest service, quality and safety standards and partnering behaviours has presented significant challenges with reorganisation of the delivery infrastructure adding to the pressures. Management have found themselves drawn into operational issues and fire-fighting, distracting them from strategic priorities.

Acorn was a brought in by a senior manager within the joint venture who was familiar with our no-nonsense approach to delivering business-focused results, to accelerate the performance of the JV team.


Acorn developed and implemented a programme of interventions designed to accelerate the performance of the team by 'starting at the top' and cascading a culture of performance improvement through the senior teams.

  • Acorn devised a series of one-day workshops designed to equip the Regional Divisional Managers with the skills and vision to provide more balanced leadership and distance themselves from day to day details, prioritising strategic delivery.
  • A series of 360 degree reviews were carried out with personal follow-ups by email to consolidate the learning process and development of the individuals.
  • Senior management then took part in coaching sessions to encourage high performance, and help them to avoid replicating the behaviours of the regional team by getting too involved in operational issues.
  • Acorn then carried out a diagnostic process to analyse the performance of the team. We used our Collaborative questionnaire to gather data about the functioning of the team from both sides of the JV and from clients and customers. We followed this with targeted interviews with internal stakeholders. Each individual then received feedback on their performance via a 360 degree feedback process.
  • The whole team then concluded the Team Coaching process with 2-day event, during which they were taken through our Team Coaching questionnaire to systematically analyse their collective capability in five key elements of high performing teams.


The team and its members came away with specific performance goals which they worked towards to raise the collective performance of the team. These included reviewing processes to create more alignment, more time for strategic leadership, and improved collaboration to resolve functional issues.

The outcome was more effective leadership and a dramatic uplift in performance, accompanied by substantial improvements in contract performance and delivery, helping to build a world class relationship with the BT Openreach customer.

The senior management team reported that the intervention helped them to improve their leadership performance and clarify their personal style.

Future plans include further one-to-one coaching with senior management and development work with the regional management teams.

'I have worked with Acorn on a number of projects over a number of years and find their knowledge of the business invaluable. They have the ability to identify and focus upon tangible business improvements, getting quickly to the nub of the problem and then offering insightful solutions that enable the team and business to meet key targets and goals.

As a consequence of this, we have recently commissioned Acorn to run a number of Leadership development programmes, along with individual 1-1 coaching and I am seeing the benefits start to flow through.'

Paul Dempster, Managing Director – Carillion telent

Back to the top

Carillion telent

"The Team Coaching process broke new ground for us, and proved to be the turning point for the team."

Commercial Director, Carillion telent