Case Studies



“As a result of the work we have done in partnership with Orbit I have the clarity of thought I need to focus on what needs to be done in the business, we are much closer to the industry we regulate and everyone in the business understands how they can contribute to its success.”

- Joanne Prowse, CEO, PSA

The Client

Underpinned by an Ofcom approved Code of Practice, Phone-Paid Services Authority (formerly known as PhonePayPlus) is the UK’s independent regulator for the content, goods and services you charge to your phone bill, for example directory enquiries, voting on TV talent shows and texting donations to charity.  

Phone-Paid Services Authority (PSA) investigates complaints about phone-paid services and when rules are broken regarding clear and accurate pricing, honest advertising and service content etc. as a regulator it can fine providers, bar services and ban individuals from operating in the industry.

The Supplier

Orbit Business Development Limited is a business and people development consultancy with particular expertise delivering Leadership Development and Culture Change Programmes, as well as Sales Productivity Programmes.   Orbit is well respected for enabling organisations to achieve their business objectives by helping them put their consumers at the centre of everything they do.    

The Brief

At the start of the relationship, Joanne Prowse was Acting CEO.  She was looking for an impartial, ‘critical friend’ as a coaching partner and ‘sounding board’ to help her achieve clarity of thought regarding all the aspirations she had for the business.

As a senior manager Joanne Prowse was serving a complex set of stakeholders in a tough, rapidly changing and predominantly male market. She needed to quickly make her mark and develop a confident and distinctive direction both internally and externally, and to be confirmed in her CEO position.  The partner would also be required to help her build a strong team capable of delivering a challenging, new business strategy.

Joanne Prowse, CEO, PSA said, “The industry had come from a place that had been very complaints driven, highly reactive and to be quite honest pretty negative in some areas.  My views were that the business had a different more pro-active role to play.  One that would approach regulation and compliance from a collaborative point of view in the best interests of the consumer.   My vision for PSA was, and still is, to be a respected regulator that encourages innovation, becomes less prescriptive and more creative in the way we achieve outcomes in partnership with our service providers.”

The Solution

Phase 1 – CEO Coaching Programme
One-to-one sessions, every 2-3 months, over a two-year period working through live issues and challenges to drive a significant, strategic change in focus for a service-orientated, regulatory business.

Phase 2 – Leadership Development Programme
A six-month programme with Jo’s leadership team to establish a strong, bold and cohesive team capable of developing and delivering the strategic change.  Orbit used tools for 360 degree and behavioural assessment, delivered a programme of intensive one-day leadership workshops and gave one-to-one coaching for each member of the team over a 12-month period.

Phase 3 – Cultural Shift Programme
A natural progression from there was an organisation-wide cultural shift programme to translate the new, overarching strategy so that it could be delivered to all stakeholders via the wider PSA team. In partnership with the new leadership team, Orbit selected and trained a team of ‘culture change’ champions, defined the organisation’s values and delivered a programme of involvement for all staff in the organisation.  This included helping them select a number of business change projects to focused on improvement of the organisation’s ability to deliver the key values. The programme is now moving into a new phase of management development for all line managers.

Joanne Prowse, CEO, PSA said, “I was introduced to Gill Barstow, Director of Orbit Business Development by a trusted colleague who suggested we would work well together.  I was building a team from scratch and wanted a partner that would help me create a high performance team that would provide clarity and purpose and strive alongside me for excellence.  Gill has become a highly valued advisor who has helped me achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time. We work well together, thinking and working through challenges.  She has helped me make my mark clearly, boldly and consistently both inside the company and to our stakeholders as a whole.”

PSA - Phone-Paid Services Authority's Top 5

We asked Joanne Prowse, CEO, PSA to list her top 5 benefits as a direct result of the Orbit Programme:  

Joanne Prowse said, “
Having Gill Barstow as a sounding board and critical friend has enabled me to achieve absolute clarity regarding all my aspirations for PSA.  During a challenging time whilst wading through the important day-to-day inevitabilities of running a business, Gill helped me see through the mire and achieve clarity of thought.  This clarity underpins everything we have achieved in the last 2 years and gives me great confidence as I focus on what needs to be done in the business.’

During the period Joanne Prowse is referring to here she managed the company through some extremely challenging legal, market and PR challenges.  As a result of her achievements her position as CEO was confirmed as permanent. 

Joanne Prowse had to build her top team and help them bond quickly.  The Orbit programme focused on developing a leadership team that would be high performance, strong and capable. 

Joanne Prowse said“In a relatively short period of time Orbit has been instrumental in helping develop a cohesive leadership team for PSA.  A team that is now confidently delivering our clear message via a united front to all stakeholders whilst dealing effectively with a number of complex industry challenges.”

The Orbit leadership programme provided the team with a set of tools to help them understand and implement the new strategy, for building a strong leadership team and a range of techniques to help them bring their people with them.  

Joanne Prowse said“ The reason I believe the programme has been such a success is all down to the fact that the Directors came away not only with a clear way forward in terms of the new strategy but also Orbit gave them a common set of tools to help them deliver it. For instance I hear team members refer regularly to their 360 and see evidence of them consciously looking to adapt their behaviour in line with this.  The 30/60/90 plan is keeping us aligned.  We are also using transactional analysis and situational leadership regularly as well as the coaching techniques Orbit has passed onto us.”

Joanne Prowse explained, 
“Through the culture-shift programme with Orbit we are moving ahead on solid ground.  The programme is focused upon everyone understanding where they fit in the overall PSA strategy.  I am very proud of the way individuals have stepped up to the challenge.  Silos are coming down and people are sharing information and knowledge with each other as we work together towards our common goals.  Thanks to Orbit we are getting to a point now where everyone in the business understands how they can contribute to its success.” 

As a result of playing their part in improving the organisation PSA achieved an upgrade in their Investors In People accreditation to Silver level (2016) and the assessors cited the culture-shift programme as a key success factor and the high level of enthusiasm and buy-in to the organisation’s values.

Joanne Prowse added, 
“The whole programme has been a key enabler that has brought us closer to the market we are regulating.  As a result of successfully implementing our new strategy for a more collaborative approach, market challenges are now better understood from both sides of the fence than they ever were before.  Things are moving quickly.  There is growth, investment and healthy competition.  Innovation is everywhere in this exciting marketplace and consumers are better protected and have more choice.

“Orbit has been instrumental in my development of a stronger and authentic 'voice' to better manage the diversity of my stakeholder community, be that internal, my Board or the broader, external market.” 

The industry thinks so too.  Rory Maguire, Managing Director of AIME (Association for Interactive media & Entertainment) commented on Jo’s opening presentation at an industry forum event shortly after she became the new CEO for PhonepayPlus (now PSA).  He said, “Anyone attending the PhonepayPlus forum on 30th April and had missed the last forum would be forgiven for thinking that someone had kidnapped their senior management and sent in body doubles as the opening presentations from Jo Prowse and Andrew Pinder reflected a sea change in the stance towards the broad industry and indicated strongly and positively, their post-Judicial Review tactical direction that stunned the 150 strong industry audience into silence.”

The Final Word

Gill Barstow, Director, Orbit Business Development said, “Joanne Prowse took the helm at a very challenging time in the history of PSA.  She recognised change was necessary in terms of the way the regulator related to its market.  Whilst dealing with complex legal, PR and leadership challenges Jo is successfully making her mark and taking the organisation forward and she is receiving impressive feedback from all corners of the industry. It is a real honour to work with such a forward-thinking CEO, to have been invited to work so closely with the senior team to move the organisation forward.”

Joanne Prowse, CEO, PSA said, “Orbit has been an excellent partner in our organisational development and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to any organisation keen to make major change happen quickly and effectively.”

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