Client Case Study - Sweco UK and Ireland

Sweco UK & Ireland

Sweco UK and Ireland engaged Ascend to help them to improve a number of aspects of their business, and business development practice. We designed and delivered a bespoke programme of development support to improve ways of working. 

The work we did with Sweco is driving increased collaboration across organisational boundaries, behaviour and mindset change to focus on consistent delivery of their Client Promise - strengthening relationships with clients and colleagues, working effectively with their new and existing clients to deliver value and ensure growth of Sweco's UK and Ireland business.
The Background

Sweco is Europe's leading design, engineering, environment and regulatory consultancy. The UK and Ireland business has undergone major change over the past 4-5 years and the integration of a number of other consultancies has led to the growth of Sweco in the marketplace over here, with some tensions and challenges arising as a result.

Ascend were engaged to support Sweco, working with Divisional Managers and their leadership teams to address the challenges of integrating and aligning different working cultures and business development practices, to drive and embed a more collaborative, joined up approach to growth and delivery of work, to fulfill Sweco's Client Promise.

The Approach


Ascend consulted with a working group representing a cross-section of divisional leaders, technical experts, business development and client relationship leads.

We carried out fact-finding 1-1s to get under the skin of the business; the goals, the challenges, the way the organisation works together, the processes and systems and the overall ethos of Client Promise and winning new business. 

By providing feedback and early insight to the UK President, Chief Operating Officer and other key internal stakeholders we enabled them to remove  immediate obstacles, and set out clear expectations of teams in line with the Sweco Client Promise to enable the behavioural change required.

We created a set of design principles based around delivery of Client Promise, to provide teams with autonomy we knew that they needed to deliver the results expected of them. 

This included the importance of senior leaders trusting their judgement, increasing accountability, and giving permission to do things differently.

By working with key colleagues at a number of different levels to field test ideas, take feedback and co-create the different parts of the solution, we ensured that the solution would land with the audience at the right level - Divisional, Business Unit and individual.

"The business has now hit its performance targets for the last 3 months, our pipeline of work is strong and people are talking about Client Promise and how we grow the business."

Chief Operating Officer, Sweco UK and Ireland

We facilitated of series of engaging, interactive workshops, both virtual and face-to-face with different audiences, working initially with the most senior divisional managers and leaders, as well as engaging wider teams in the subsequent action-oriented Business Unit-specific sessions.

The initial focus was on identifying the ways of working that enable and inhibit successful delivery of the Client Promise, followed by a series of bespoke sessions focusing on the most impactful areas of work, as agreed with the participants from the respective business areas.

This allowed client-facing teams to test out new approaches, challenge existing practices at a local level and change their work-winning practice. The result was improved collaboration across organisational boundaries, helping teams to win work in a more effective and efficient way adding further value for clients.

The Impact

The ownership and actionable outputs sat with the business unit teams, and focused on a handful of key areas that make a difference to them.

Teams we worked with are implementing their own actions and making changes to their ways of working to:

- Collaborate more effectively, including across organisational boundaries- Shift mindsets and behaviour to work differently

- Challenge some common perceptions and assumptions (and myths)

- Give their teams the autonomy to make brave decisions to better deliver Client Promise

- Deliver value for clients and win repeat business, growing the client base and footprint of Sweco UK and Ireland.