When a British telecommunications company landed its largest-ever contract in 2021, their initial deadline loomed large and steep. The Year One target for the multi-billion-pound project would define the company’s possibilities moving forward: Make more than one million homes service-ready across five sprawling UK regions of network infrastructure. The work plan called for all the coordination, community relations, ground-burrowing equipment and physical labor needed to lay high-speed fiber in thousands of urban and rural neighborhoods.

A lingering pandemic and emerging labor shortfall in the wake of Brexit were the broader issues framing multiple logistical and leadership challenges. Company leadership brought in JMW to support their success in the complex, high-profile endeavor. The independent business—the country’s third-largest full fiber enterprise —needed to immediately ramp up cohesion among the 26 construction companies mobilized for the effort. These build partners and hundreds of subcontractors would have to be fully engaged for the company to deliver on its ambitious commitment.

In conversations with JMW at the outset, senior leaders agreed they could achieve the velocity required by first relinquishing a command-and-control approach in favor of a collaborative partnership mindset. After a series of conversations with leadership to fully assess the challenge, JMW launched the work more broadly with a forum that included client leaders and build partners from all five regions. The session and related coaching laid the groundwork for a significant shift—from a conventional top-down mindset to a collective vision of the project held by the client and its partners. As the most critical stages of the work got underway, all key stakeholders were bound by a collective vision of the project that emphasized shared accountability and mutual trust.

The next phase of the engagement entailed JMW consultants working in each region with client liaisons, build partners, and key contractors to reinforce alignment in the field. The team supported project leads engaged in deep collaboration with contractors, often innovating to overcome obstacles such as significant resource constraints. As year-end approached, the company knew its million-home objective could be in jeopardy.

The client and its partners generated enough velocity in the closing months of 2022 to meet their goal of one million UK homes ready for gigabyte-capable service. Upon marking its historic results, the company secured more than £1.25 billion in new investment, extended its build partnership with an integral construction partner, and remained on track with a £4 billion investment program to reach 8 million homes by 2025. The outcome also secured the company’s position as the country’s second-largest full fiber provider. It went on to launch a new brand in 2023, with commitments and brand values reflecting insights gained during a transformative year that included their JMW engagement. 

The company’s performance highlights for 2022 included:

  • 1 million+ homes service-ready
  • 40% growth on prior year’s performance
  • 83% increase in nationwide fiber footprint
  • Over 75% of supply chain met or exceeded performance expectations
  • Achieved average run rate of 22,000 premises per week in second half of the year
  • Elevated from #3 to #2 large fiber network provider in the UK
  • On track for future success, including 8 million homes access-ready by 2025