Ashworth, 37, head of learning and development at Co-operative Financial
Services, talks about her work aligning key performance and leadership
What does your role involve?
key aim of my role is to support the development of a single employee culture
for CFS [formed in April 2002 to bring the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative
Insurance Society under common leadership].
involves developing a professional, consistent approach to everything from
induction and orientation programmes to performance management and leadership
development, so that everyone in CFS is equipped to embrace the future
challenges of the organisation.
What are the best and worst things about
best is the opportunity to really do things differently and get involved with
all aspects of the organisation as we go through major change. The worst is having to say no.
What is your current major training project
or strategic push?
am developing a ‘Big 5’ suite of strategic drivers to help CFS achieve its
people objectives. It covers: performance management; leadership development;
team development; talent pool and succession management; and
orientation/induction to CFS.
aim is to raise organisational performance, improve bottom-line productivity,
create a single employment community and develop everyone in CFS – no mean
feat. I am working with people throughout the organisation to identify what the
key challenges are going to be over the coming years, so we can ensure that CFS
delivers on its promises.
What attracted you to training and
The opportunity to really help to develop people
– and to see the effects of that development throughout the organisation over
What are your favourite buzzwords?
is a key buzzword as I am working hard to integrate a new competency framework
How do you think that your job will have
changed in five years’ time?
challenge to develop people within a tight regulatory framework will increase. The
learning and development team will move to a more consultancy-focused approach
as the effects of the Big 5 are implemented, and CFS staff become empowered.
What do you think will be the core skills
for your job in the future?
Adaptability, lateral thinking and the ability to
Are you good at self-development?
becoming better every day. It’s sometimes hard to make the time, but I do try
to step back and see where I could improve.
What self-development have you undertaken
in the past 12 months?
have become psychometrically trained in some new tools.
How do you network?
working on various business projects,
and I always try to keep in contact with the people I have worked with.
If you could have any job in the world,
what would it be?
quite happy doing what I do, but I suppose a replacement for Michael Parkinson
would keep me cheerful. Especially if I could choose my guests – George Clooney
might be first on the invitation list.
Describe your management style.
Encouraging, challenging, optimistic.
What is your motto?
things differently, doing things better.