Capacity Building


Bristol City Council


Bristol City Council is one of the largest employers in the city, employing over 7,000 members of staff.
As with all councils, there is a constant demand to provide consistently high quality services,
at reasonable cost, at a time when resources are under pressure.

“A hard working committed community who believe in what they do
and who are disproportionately impacted by a poor email culture.”

The Programme

The emphasis of the Capacity Building programme was on creating time
to work on what’s important, rather than working more.
The programme centred around an initial workshop delivered
as a full day or two half days supported by 121 mentoring.

We provided space, tools and support to help participants identify
ways to increase their capacity and maintain control over their work.

What we did

The practical workshops allowed attendees to actively work through their current and future projects and tasks: planning and building a systematic workflow suited to their work style. Teams were able to explore ways to work more effectively together.

A month later, hour long one-to-one mentoring sessions supported participants in embedding practices that matched their work style and making the changes permanent. A different emphasis was placed according to role complexity, for example the focus was extended to help directors and their assistants to work with greater coordination and directors to work more effectively with their peers and direct reports.

The programme identified unhelpful patterns and introduced practical tools to help shift behaviours, support improved email handling, task planning and project management.


The Capacity Building programme doubled productivity among participants
and trebled the number of effective people.
The number of those rating themselves excellent at email management
increased from 14% to 71%.
The number of people highly engaged in their work increased by 50%.

At the start of the programme 77% of participants were categorised
as partially or unproductive,
by the end of the programme this reduced to 15%.

By the end of the programme the number of wholly
effective people had increased from 4 to 26% and the number of effective people had trebled from 19 to 59%.

The impact of the programme
was monitored through a self assessment survey.

Participants scored themselves across
a number of dimensions before,
during and after the programme.

We produced a productive worker metric
based on an average of the total scores across
all dimensions tested for all participants.

This score doubled over the course of the programme.

A particularly satisfying outcome is the increase
in engagement at work. As people discovered increased agency
in the management of their work they find themselves able to deliver more effectively increasing their satisfaction.

The programme established the basis for a cultural shift
in personal organisation and task management
across the organisation.

Improvements have proved enduring.

What they said

“I already feel more responsive, and can focus my attention on important tasks, rather than constant fire-fighting




“I went to the Personal effectiveness session with Moyra on Monday
and can honestly say it’s transformed my life for the better.
I’m loving being more organised and achieving results.”


“Hardest training I’ve done.
Most unique.
Probably going to be
the most beneficial.”