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Metro Trains

Published on 01 Mar 2016

In late 2009 Metro Trains Melbourne (Metro) was awarded the franchise to run Melbourne's metropolitan train network. The challenge involved transforming the declining level of rail service delivery and bringing four separate companies together into a single operator.


The network involves 4,400 rail professionals, services 415,000 customers a day and 230 million customer journeys a year. Metro identified that a historic lack of investment in leadership development made it difficult for leaders to be effective, presenting a key challenge to lifting the performance of the network.

The CEO, Andrew Lezala, had the view that "We could hardly be critical of leaders if they were asked to lead people without the skills and development to do so". Lezala believed it was a priority for the business to assist the 450 managers to lead their teams, to connect across the four companies, to delegate, to hold people accountable for lifting performance, to lead the change and to enjoy their leadership roles.

“We depend on leaders who can inspire and create the desire within the hearts and minds of the troops... So we decided we needed to open our manager’s eyes to their own behaviours and potential to develop as leaders.”

Andrew Lezala, CEO

The Solution

Upon being awarded the franchise, the CEO and his executive team began a renewed focus to raise the calibre of the leaders in order to enable them to lead a constructive and collaborative culture. This involved designing an innovative leadership program using Human Synergistics together with Hardwired Humans methodologies. (Andrew O’Keeffe of Hardwired Humans, a Human Synergistics Life-Time Accredited Practitioner educates leaders on leading constructively by understanding and using human instincts.)

The program involved leaders in groups of approximately 14 spending five days together at Melbourne Zoo spaced over 12 months. The program is designed around and uses the Human Synergistic Life Styles Inventory®, or LSI, to help people assess and improve their leadership effectiveness, together with the Hardwired Humans framework to enable leaders to make informed choices about their leadership behaviour.

The Life Styles Inventory® enabled the individuals to understand what is supporting and what is hindering their efficacy as leaders. Leaders completed their LSI at the start of the program and again at the end, allowing them to see how they have shifted as individuals and a group

The Human Instincts model provided the leaders with a framework of the 9 human instincts that describes human behaviour so they could make more informed decisions on their role as leaders, on their use of power, on organisation design, on relationship building, on giving feedback constructively, on persuasion and influence, and on change management.

At the completion of the program each group presents their pre- and post-LSI results to the CEO and the executive team to demonstrate their shift as leaders becoming leaders who use power more constructively – and to celebrate achievements and learnings from the program.

“The program gives our leaders the tools to manage the change. We knew that it would only be done with a more effective relationship with our staff and that would only happen if our managers were given the skills to manage a distant and in some cases disengaged workforce.”

Nick Dickinson, General Manager Human Resources

The Outcome

The results have been outstanding. On-time running of the railway has improved from a below-target 84% within 5-minutes of the scheduled time to a rolling average that consistently hits 92% to 93%. There has been a decrease in industrial relations issues and workers’ compensation premiums have reduced by $2million a year. Employee satisfaction has improved by 4%, absenteeism has reduced by 2%.

There have been several key reasons for improved on-time running, but CEO, Andrew Lezala credits the leadership program as a significant contributor to the improvement in the performance culture.

“Performance, customer satisfaction, safety stats and financial performance are all at record levels and it is the people that have made this happen.”

Andrew Lezala, CEO

Diagnostic Tools: Life Styles Inventory™ (LSI)

Download the detailed case study - PDF, 1.2 MB