As a leading agribusiness, Openfield are one of Britain’s most successful and enduring cooperatives, committed to putting their members’ needs first.

Openfield are realising their vision to be an integral part of their farmers’ and customers’ businesses, building unique relationships that create value.



Openfield are a leading Agribusiness operating nationally & internationally, with their Head Office near Grantham, Lincolnshire. They approached PDW Group to work with them to create a development programme for both new and key members of staff, providing a comprehensive blend of internal and external PDW designed modules.

“I was impressed with the engagement across the different teams following the programme which we developed with Tim. Having seen the final delegate presentations it is clear that PDW were able to identify the main factors we wanted from the training.”

James Dallas – Chief Executive Officer, Openfield


Having recruited a number of new colleagues Openfield wanted them to gain more in-depth knowledge of their industry, the business and develop new skills & behaviours to assist them in becoming more rounded and capable individuals.

There was a need for more formal training, bridging the skills gap and developing personal productivity, business development, people management & leadership skill sets. The desired outcome to help the group deal professionally with situations that they would encounter in the daily work. In so doing providing the colleagues with the opportunity to engage in wider aspects of the business; to gain a better understanding of the Openfield Partnership and develop interpersonal skills, which they can use to advance within their own role, their careers and support the future growth of the business.

For PDW the Openfield challenge was also to go beyond the traditional, transactional requirements of professional development, and provide transformational development, developing behaviours that align to the values and ethos of the Openfield organisation.


Key to the success of our approach was to invest the time in truly understanding Openfield’s needs and working with them to provide the required blended approach of utilising Openfield’s expertise for the internal modules and PDW’s expertise for the external behavioural & professional development.

Having designed a programme with Openfield that spanned a six month period, alternating internal & external modules enabled colleagues to better align the functional/transactional knowledge that they required with the behavioural skills & tools that would enable them to maximise that knowledge and implement it to the greatest effect.

At the core of the behavioural aspects of the programme, was developing the groups ‘influencing skills’, as this is ultimately the single largest driver of everyone’s ability to be successful. With quite a diverse group with varying job roles we flexed elements of each module to suit individual needs. This meant that they had the opportunity to develop their influencing skills, whether it be winning new business, managing existing customers, leading teams or managing performance.

Adopting PDW’s unique experiential learning approach, colleagues brought to life real time scenarios, working with our support team to plan, practice and then reflect on & review their performance around scenarios that are typical or important for them, all in a safe environment. The invaluable and very honest feedback & coaching that they received helped them to develop the competence and build the confidence to apply the learning and behavioural skills back in the work place.

As the programme developed we would layer the introduction of knowledge and skills, so that, coupled with opportunities to practice back at work, we were able to support the group in developing genuine habitual change that would improve their performance.

“The PDW team were professional, courteous and efficient. They personalised the training making it more relevant to our sector and were always willing to meet the requirements of our individual learners. The use of role plays has benefited our colleagues and they are now more confident and adaptable in dealing with challenging situations.”

James Dallas – Chief Executive Officer, Openfield


Across the board, the colleagues have become more confident and as a result have gained more credibility within the business and with Openfield’s external contacts.  They are acting in a more professional manner and it’s been heartening to see their new skills being practised with success.

The level of engagement and cohesion that developed during the programme was a credit to the group, embracing the learning experience. The improved levels of structure and confidence when cold calling, managing their client accounts, and approaching their job in a professional manner, is clear to see.

The colleagues are now challenging the business and so its role in the next 12 months is to push the group harder in order to continue to gain from their learning.

The flexibility of the PDW approach enabled certain colleagues with varying roles to get the most out of the experience. There have been recognizable changes already in the skills learnt and applied to managing people and dealing with difficult situations by gaining a better understanding of behaviours, in particular ‘open questions’.  The ‘role plays’, whilst viewed initially with some intrepidation, but were the most useful, especially in building confidence, as evidenced by the excellent final presentations.