Back to News & Articles

October 3rd, 2017

Mike Notman, Managing Partner

Some time ago I took it upon myself to trace family members who had served in the 1st World War and discovered that one relative was buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery near Poperinge, Flanders. More recently, accompanied by my daughter, I decided to visit and it was here we experienced at first hand the professional and dedicated work of one of our client organisations.

‘One Best Way’ of working for horticultural staff

A few years ago, Bourton Group were asked to support an Improvement Programme for The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).  At the time, the CWGC was gearing itself up for the start of the centenary commemorations for the Great War, 1914-18.  Bourton was asked to assist in introducing a ‘One Best Way’ of working for horticultural staff across the Commission, to reduce operational costs and deliver high customer satisfaction to what was anticipated to be a huge increase in visitors.

When we started our work with the Commission, I was relatively unaware of their work, but soon discovered the huge depth and breadth of their operation and the dedication that they have to ensuring they do it well. The CWGC is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration, of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars.

Walking into Dozinghem with my daughter, we were struck by the peace and quiet, the beauty of the location, and the care that is being given to maintain a place where some 3,300 soldiers lie.

As a visitor to the site and ‘customer’ of the work that staff carry out, what we saw looked immaculate with well-maintained headstones aligned and spaced perfectly, grass mown to precision length and edged perfectly. It was very clear to us that the staff take their roles very seriously and professionally.   My daughter commented that she felt happy that her relative was being so well cared for, and that despite the solemnity of the place and the site of so many graves, it was strangely uplifting to visit.

My colleagues who worked on our improvement project tell me that this is no exception, and that this is the standard that the Commission and their staff set and maintain.  The Commission is responsible for the continued commemoration of 1.69 million deceased Commonwealth military service members in 150 countries and since its inception, the Commission has constructed approximately 2,500 war cemeteries and numerous memorials, and I would personally like to thank them for their dedication and hard work.

Mike is a highly experienced organisational development, performance and change management specialist, who is probably best known for his challenging approach to the development of leaders and teams to effect cultural transformation. Mike has delivered significant change programmes in a wide range of private companies and larger public bodies as well as numerous growth orientated service and manufacturing businesses.

Want to keep up to date with best practice about Lean and Leadership and hear from others in similar continuous improvement and leadership roles about their success stories?

Sign up here to be part of our Lean and Leaders community.

Back to News & Articles