A Keynote Speech for the Home Office



The Home Office is a ministerial department which has been on the frontline of keeping citizens safe and the UK secure since 1782. Border Force is the division that secures the border by facilitating the legitimate movement of individuals and goods, achieved through immigration and customs checks carried out by staff at over 140 sea and air ports across the UK and overseas.

Being on the frontlines, and given the amount of change and uncertainty that the Brexit vote created, 150 leaders of the Border Force urgently needed support in terms of managing change and leading through uncertain times.

As changeologists, we were called in to support a large-scale leadership conference focused on helping leaders handle change. We were asked to deliver a 45-minute interactive speech on Managing Change, and run a series of action workshops that gave people the opportunity to deep-dive into a specific area.

Our Approach


We worked with senior leaders of the function to explore the challenges leaders were facing, and to  determine the key objectives for the speech. As part of a varied agenda we were keen to dovetail and support other elements of the day so we worked closely with the team to ensure a consistency of content and approach.


Given the amount of change-weariness we had encountered in our research we wanted to ensure the full engagement of the audience. To build buy in and to line up expectations we supported the team with comms in advance of the day.

We dug into their most recent engagement report and ensured that we shaped our language around the key challenges that people were facing, and presented them with the possibility of positive change.

We also created a portal to provide an opportunity for people to share thoughts and concerns in advance of the day. We wanted people to feel like they had an opportunity to share and we wanted to ensure their voices were represented in the contents of the speech.


We created a highly pragmatic, participative Leading Through Change speech, which gave people the opportunity to work through live challenges and create a personal strategy to manage change.

To kick off the speech we asked people to explore the challenges of managing change and reflect on which ones were true for them. We then looked at how to overcome the psychological barriers to change and explored what it takes to engage people through change, to move them from cynicism to active participation.

We explored how to empower ourselves and each other by working within the circles of control, and then examined the skills needed to become a great change leader, providing fresh ideas and tools alongside the opportunity for them to hone their skills.

For the deep-dive workshop we created a Mastering your Mindset session which gave people the opportunity to examine their mindsets, explore areas where they have blocks that inhibit their thought processes, and ways to open up their thinking to uncover fresh possibilities.


Feedback following each session was extremely positive. People commented how much more positive and inspired they felt having had the opportunity to explore new possibilities and engage with the content on a pragmatic level.

The comms plan has ensured that Senior Leadership has regularly followed up with the participants, encouraging them to put their learnings into practice in terms of how they lead their teams through change.

In terms of longer term impact, we’re currently awaiting the latest engagement results but word on the ground is that in spite of increasingly challenging circumstances people are feeling more resilient and able to weather and direct change.

For more information on this case study or any other aspect of our work, please contact hello@aoc.agency, or call us on +44 (0)20 3105 0904.