Flight Centre's ‘Secret Sauce’ For Team Cohesion: An Interview with Ashleigh Conwell

With over 9 years of marketing expertise, if there’s one thing Ashleigh Conwell knows about, it’s how good team planning and management leads to cohesion and collaboration.

During her time at Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), she has made her mark on the iconic travel business, overseeing several teams and managing the delivery of major projects.

Her recent promotion to Marketing Implementation Manager, positions her as the first dedicated resource in Flight Centre’s 70-person Marketing team, in charge of the end-to-end planning, rollout and reporting for key marketing strategies in the Australian market.

Conscious of the autonomy this role offers her and the breadth of its scope, Ashleigh’s initial focus has been on establishing clarity around her remit and ensuring its close alignment with the visions of both her leader and the wider business.

“I might be working independently but I want to operate with the same structures I would as in a team. I want my team of one to be scalable in the future, not trapped in a ‘just me’ mentality - staying in a silo - but making sure that I’m demonstrating value.”

Ashleigh’s currently working on scoping out key projects for 2019 and consulting with internal teams to plan how they can most effectively work together to achieve business goals.

FCTG’s unique ‘Family Village Tribe’ framework facilitates this process and offers an innovative approach to collaboration and team orientation.

The Family Village Tribe Framework: Why It Works

Designed by former UK director and Australian HR leader of Flight Centre Limited, Mandy Johnson, ‘Family Village Tribe’ utilises Stone Age strategies to unite and empower internal teams by leveraging their natural instincts.

It creates a hierarchy of collectives whereby:

  • Family is the immediate team
  • Village is the wider department
  • Tribe is the business as a whole

These collectives are both accountable and motivated to contribute to their own success and work together with each other to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The framework offers both autonomy and support to leaders of each collective, whilst keeping teams aligned, efficient and in-sync.

Setting Village Expectations – Accountability Starts At Home

A core part of Ashleigh’s planning process is running ‘Expectations Sessions’ to improve accountability and create a structure which teams can use to self-regulate.

She believes these sessions are an important opportunity for teams to define expected and minimum standards for everything from attitude to response times to how to acknowledge and celebrate wins, giving the team ownership of their own culture.

Having expectations documented also empowers Team Leaders to have open conversations when Team Members aren’t participating to the standards they have set for themselves.

5 Love Languages – When Family Is All We’ve Got

Championing innovation to maximise team cohesion is something Ashleigh is particularly passionate about.

Most recently, her team incorporated the 5 Love Languages concept into FCTG’s planning at a Family level to help equip Team Leaders with a greater understanding about how their team members prefer to receive affirmation (effectively ‘love’ in a business context).

“It definitely helped to observe and understand the dynamics within each group. [Some Team Members] were polar opposites - some wanted a hug, some just wanted to be told they’re doing a great job, others wanted quality time at a coffee shop so they could load their Team Leader up with questions. Understanding what the team needs from you and from each other is really important,” she says.

Want to know more strategies for successful team planning? Watch the full interview with Ashleigh Conwell in The Interactive Mind’s Club House. Not a member yet? Join now!