By Matthew Labuda, Head of Customer Service North, Angel Trains

9th December, 2022

“I’m Iron Man” was not an admission that I ever thought I’d hear our Technical Director say. For the record, he is not Tony Stark, however, for the purposes of an internal workshop he was!

I’d been tasked to reinvigorate our company values and, through word of mouth had found and contacted Guy & Co to help.

Getting corporate values right is as essential as it can be hard to do. On the one hand, you can end up with values that are too general and don’t act as a call to action. And on the other hand, they can be far too specific and then don’t necessarily resonate as they should.

Angel Trains is a fairly unusual company in that we operate in a highly regulated market, with a pretty fixed customer base, with well-established competitors. Our ability to differentiate ourselves by what we do is therefore pretty limited.

The challenge that we set Guy & Co was, in this context, to help us to identify values that would set us apart from the competition, resonate with our employees and be authentic. Simple then.

From the start, the approach they took hit the mark. Their initial analysis clearly showed that in a very small space of time they understood the market dynamics. The workshop approach we then took applied a method with candour and no small amount of challenge. It was insightful in a way that not many of us who took part expected.

Having established a working framework for discussion Guy & Co helped to pull together the output from a series of cross-company working groups designed to tease out values that came from the people within the business. We wanted to ensure that these weren’t value dreamt up at a senior leadership team offsite, but ones that came from the real lived experiences of everyone in the business.

At all times during the process, we were constructively challenged to ensure that the values we were identifying truly reflected our business. With a room full of finance, legal and engineering experts this wasn’t always straightforward, yet the Guy & Co team were able to help us keep to the right balance of detail and debate.

I’m happy to say that the five values that came out of the process were ones that every member of staff felt like they had a stake in.

Angel Trains values

To help demonstrate this, Guy & Co created an internal video in which members of staff were asked a series of questions on how the values resonated with them. It was the perfect medium to communicate back to ourselves the emotional attachment that people felt.

With the help of the Guy & Co team, our next steps are to continue to embed the values in our business and to use them and the positive behaviours that they drive, to truly differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

I was thinking about how to end this piece, but I think I’ll just use the words that Malcolm, our CEO, said to me just after one of the first workshops with the Guy & Co team. “They get us,” he said. He was right.