Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership

Cleanaway, Australia’s largest waste management, environmental, and industrial services company, recognised the need to enhance its leadership capabilities to achieve its ambitious goals. To maximise the existing strength of strong management and foster a culture of leadership, Cleanaway partnered with Lighthouse to design and implement a comprehensive Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program. The program targeted branch managers and regional managers, aiming to build commercial acumen, financial skills, and leadership capabilities across the organisation. 

Following a flurry of acquisitions in 2018, Cleanaway expanded its operations to become the major player in waste management, environmental services, and industrial services in Australia. With over 260 branches and profit centres and a workforce of more than 7,000 people, Cleanaway aspired to further strengthen its market position and achieve significant growth. The company identified the need to integrate strong leadership into its management culture to drive performance and successfully navigate the merger integration process.


Cleanaway recognised the need to maximise the existing disciplines of strong management by adding Leadership – Cleanaway wanted to investment in leadership capability to complement its strong management foundation and culture. 

The secondary goal was to provide branch and operation managers with the business and financial acumen to understand and influence the key business drivers that populate each branch profit and loss performance. 



The Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program was designed to address the specific needs of branch, operations, functional and regional managers through three distinct elements: Commercial Acumen & Financial Skills, Leadership Essentials and Executive Leadership Development. 

  1. Commercial Acumen and Financial Skills. Cleanaway partnered with Lighthouse to develop and deliver a custom program focused on building commercial acumen and financial skills among branch managers. This program aimed to enhance their understanding of Cleanaway’s operating model and financial statements, enabling better branch operations and communications. The program included custom workshops facilitated by Lighthouse, resulting in the training of 200 branch managers between 2019 and 2020.
  2. Leadership Essentials. The Leadership Essentials program targeted front-line leaders, including branch and operations managers, to increase awareness and motivation of their personal leadership style and their role in leading teams and businesses. The program leveraged Cleanaway’s cultural strengths of clarity, alignment, accountability, and performance, while focusing on building capabilities in engagement, coaching, and development for continuous improvement. The program was facilitated by Lighthouse, with content covering self-awareness, leadership mindset, coaching skills, difficult conversations, emotional intelligence, and leadership communication. A total of 200 front-line leaders were trained.
  3. Executive Development Programs. The Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program also included executive development programs for regional leaders and mid-to-senior leaders. The Regional Leaders Program introduced a three-part leadership model, focusing on leading self, leading others, and leading the business. The program aimed to shift regional managers’ mindset to a leadership orientation, improving their ability to hold performance and development conversations. The program was facilitated by Lighthouse, resulting in the training of 35 regional managers.

The Cleanaway Leadership Development Program targeted mid-to-senior leaders who play critical roles in business performance and decision-making. This fully virtual, five-module program covered topics such as self-awareness, leadership mindset, leadership shadow, coaching skills, difficult conversations, emotional intelligence, and leadership communication. The program was facilitated by Lighthouse and 130 leaders were trained.

” Lighthouse were true partners in the sense that they worked seamlessly and closely with us to deliver a solution that met our needs. Their knowledge and expertise in this field, along with the ability to align it to the Cleanaway requirements was exceptional “

Jim Nolan


The Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program delivered significant shifts in mindsets and behaviors, driving positive outcomes for Cleanaway.

Noticeable shifts in mindsets and behavior:

  • Regional Managers now consciously operating in their Circle of Control – delivering results more effectively by placing their focus on what they can influence. 
  • Branch Managers now managing ‘up and across’ the business initiating conversations around business performance and influencing key lead indicators. 
    • 95% claim enhanced skills and confidence leading to ‘Performance Conversations’
    • 85% can better articulate the levers (actions) which drive business results (lag indicators)  
    • +80% lift in Branch Manager Commercial Acumen and Financial Sills capability 
    • Internal Networks established to provide broader influence and knowledge sharing – led to numerous operational efficiencies and commercial opportunities

The Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program empowered Cleanaway’s leaders, creating a culture of leadership that complemented the company’s strong management foundation. The program’s impact was evident in improved financial performance, operational efficiencies, and the successful integration of acquisitions. 


Through its partnership with Lighthouse, Cleanaway successfully implemented the Multi-site Profit Centre Leadership Program, building enterprise capability and fostering a culture of leadership. The program’s focus on commercial acumen, financial skills, and leadership essentials resulted in noticeable shifts in mindsets and behaviours among regional, functional and branch managers. The program not only enhanced individual capabilities but also drove improved financial performance and operational efficiencies across the organisation. Cleanaway’s commitment to building leadership alongside strong management positioned the company for continued success and achievement of its long-term goals.

Mark Emerson

Written by

Mark Emerson


I’m passionate about partnering with C Suite Leaders to co-create Leadership Systems that align the Leadership Team to strategy and culture, cascade execution through the Extended Leadership Team and build capability across all Leaders to deliver outcomes for the Enterprise. My strength is instinctively identifying ‘the next best step’. Let’s discuss how this applies for your team.