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Featured Customer


“I found the New Leader training helpful, in that it helped me be more self-aware, and enabled me to speak to people based on their values more than mine. This helped keep communication flowing rather than hitting my trigger points! This assisted me and my team to be more productive.”

Stuart Gardiner

Conference & Banqueting Manager


“TotalSDI is the heart and soul of the New Leader program.”

Steve Russell

Learning and Development Consultant

The Challenge

Since 1976, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham has grown from seven exhibition halls to 19, with an additional 34 conference suites and a host of additional outdoor spaces, making it one of the top event venues in the UK. NEC recognizes the key to its success is to focus on people and relationships in order to maintain the quality of their award-winning services. To do so, NEC focuses on developing greater relationship effectiveness in their internal teams as well as with the diverse set of customers and stakeholders with whom they interact. That’s an enormous challenge for NEC and its staff of 2,000, given it hosts 750 major events each year attracting seven million people. To meet the challenge, NEC invested in relationship skills of both internal and customer-facing teams by integrating TotalSDI into its leadership development program.

“Knew that investing in the relationship skills of both internal and customer-facing teams would make the biggest impact on every single touchpoint of the NEC’s customer experience.”

The Core Strengths Answer

Steve Russell, NEC’s Learning and Development Consultant, designed the New Leader training program as 3 modules delivered 4 weeks apart. The training incorporates and utilizes the TotalSDI suite of assessments as the thread connecting the key modules; Managing Self, Managing a Team, and Managing Wider Organizational Relationships. Russell notes, “TotalSDI is the heart and soul of the New Leader program.” The training program helps participants gain a greater understanding of why they do what they do and why behavior changes in conflict. Participants also learn how and when to deploy the right strengths for a given situation in order to manage key relationships and contribute to positive team dynamics. The training is action oriented and has participants create their own action plan detailing how they will implement the lessons from the training to improve their overall relationship effectiveness. SDI 2.0 has also become foundational to other spin-off training modules at NEC, including:
  • Developing interpersonal skills to reduce workplace conflict
  • Personal impact coaching
  • Identifying team strengths to address specific challenges
  • Adopting a common language to create a collaborative work environment


New Leader program participants gain a number of key benefits:
  • Increased productivity from motivated employees
  • Improved communication at all levels
  • More authentic, effective leadership styles
  • Reduced workplace conflict
  • More self-directed, emotionally intelligent team members

About the Company:

Opened by Elizabeth II in February 1976, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is located in Solihull, England. It has 20 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 611 acres (2.54 km2) and is home to the Resorts World Arena, making it the largest exhibition centre in the UK. It is the busiest and seventh-largest exhibition center in Europe.

When relationships work, there isn’t a problem that can’t be solved.

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