Driving operational performance to improve efficiency and effectiveness - a Networked Learning Approach

Facts and Figures

    • The programme was first developed in 2009. 
    • 21 programmes have taken place to date, involving over 300 managers from Australia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam and Singapore.
ANZ snapshot graphic

The organisation

Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Bank is a highly successful and well regarded company operating in 32 countries in Australia, New Zealand, throughout Asia and the Pacific, and in the Middle East, Europe and America. The group provides a range of banking and financial products and services to more than 5.7 million retail customers, employing over 39000 people worldwide.

The business issues

ANZ’s Global Services and Operations, has a key role to play in the delivery of this strategy. As the Bank’s core support division, it is accountable for the global delivery of ANZ's information technology solutions, infrastructure and operations in all locations including the back-office operations capability in India, Vietnam and Singapore.

The backbone of Global Services and Operations is its people. ANZ identified a development need throughout the division and decided to create an Operations Academy to address it.

A steering committee drove the initiative from the top of the organisation. The priority was to provide development at Team Leader and Senior Leader levels.

The challenge

ANZ needed to raise the profile of its Operations division. There was, and continues to be, a drive for increasing the performance and contribution that ANZ Global Services and Operations division delivers. Specifically, the organisation wanted to:

  • Upgrade operations management knowledge and understanding so that ANZ Operations compares with world class organisations
  • Upgrade the ability to apply this knowledge effectively so that ANZ Operations becomes continuously improving
  • Sustain and embed learning by focusing on building knowledge, demonstrating application and evaluation - all in equal measure
  • Significantly improve operational performance as a result of all of the above.

Why Networked Learning?

We were tasked with designing and delivering a development initiative that was not a traditional face-to-face programme. The target audience have operationally focused roles and are geographically dispersed. ANZ needed a solution that would be both time and cost efficient. It did not want to take managers away from the business for any significant periods of time.

A Networked Learning Approach

The Operations Academy begins with an online learning and activity schedule.

The pre-programme work requires managers to be organised into learning teams (clusters). Clusters are made up of managers who work closely with one another in order to help with the process of applying the learning back to the business.

Participants are asked to:

  • Write a short biography of themselves
  • Articulate their learning objectives
  • Watch a video from their COO and also one from the Cranfield programme faculty
  • Listen to a podcast, presentation and radio documentary
  • Complete a task to map a work process that will be used on the face-to-face part of the programme.

The pre-programme work is completed over a four week timeframe with an on-line moderator behind a web-based dedicated ANZ portal. It is followed by a 3-day face-to-face programme, delivered in Australia or India, close to where the participants are located.  This workshop builds on the pre-work and contains input sessions, case studies, a simulation and multiple exercises, all attuned to the financial services context. The programme culminates in a work based project, extending over 11 weeks, and presented to senior managers in ANZ Global Services and Operations. 

Throughout the programme there is on-going dialogue between the Cranfield team, the ANZ champion, steering committee and line managers to create a less formal learning culture and to ensure that participants remain engaged throughout the 6 month process.


The success of the programme is measured by the quality of the project and implementation work.

ANZ monitors project progress and recognises and rewards the participants who have demonstrated they have genuinely applied what they have learnt to the benefit of the organisation.

Participants who have delivered the best projects have received monetary rewards for their success in bringing about change and real improvements in operational efficiency and/or effectiveness.

Why Cranfield?

ANZ and Cranfield shared the view that world class operations functions:

  • Continually review “what must be done well” and redefine industry performance
  • Move from “problem fixing” to predicting and driving the change – “lag to lead”
  • Engage everyone in the process of continuous improvement, building ownership of customers and of processes
  • Are never satisfied with the status quo.

The bank chose to partner with Cranfield for its expertise and experience of:

  • Delivering operations learning in both manufacturing and services contexts
  • Globally delivered, technology enabled, customised executive development
  • The financial services sector.

ANZ felt there was an understanding of operations in a service environment at Cranfield that it had not found at any other business school around the world.