Empowering management to lead organisational change
Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation whose mission is to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Their funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries working in science, population health, medical innovation, the humanities and social sciences, and public engagement.
Our client’s needs:
Wellcome were looking for ways to grow the organisation’s political and sociological influence in driving world health agendas. In particular, they wanted to transition from being an organisation that made decisions about which programmes to fund, to an organisation that was proactive, innovative, collaborative, and accountable. Part of this included a new strategic approach with a stronger emphasis on the role of its leaders.
To support and prepare their leaders for the transition, Wellcome engaged us to create a development programme. Its aim was to act as a lever for transformation and change, driving and supporting the organisation’s ability to realise its ambitions. A strong requirement was a focus on applying learning to real live Wellcome projects.
Our starting point was to first assess how we could best help Wellcome achieve their goals. We carried out one-to-one discussions with the senior leaders to explain the programme, clarify expectations, and define the benefits and the individual leader’s personal success measures.
This diagnostic work helped to clarify the needs of each senior leader and how to best engage them in their personal development. It also meant that by the time that we started designing the programme, we had immersed ourselves in the language, strategies and principles of Wellcome Trust, and were able to translate these clearly into learning outcomes and approaches.
We built a 12-month programme that incorporated an engaging mix of both group and individual work. A strong thread that ran throughout the programme was ‘how can we apply this learning in the real world?’
The core elements of the programme were:
- One-to-one diagnostics and coaching
- A two-day launch event
- External live case studies
- Transformation workshops to apply learning to real internal challenges
- Bite-size sessions on key thought leadership topics
- Facilitated action learning sets to develop personal and group effectiveness
Throughout all sessions we used polling to understand the engagement of participants. We also regularly met with Wellcome to discuss the workshops, participant feedback, and organisational changes to ensure that the topics and training remained relevant.
At the end of the 18-month programme there was a noticeable difference, both at an organisational level and in individual performance. Overall, the management team had a greater understanding of the role of a leader and the benefits of leadership. Individuals had more clarity on Wellcome Trust’s strategy and how their roles contributed to it. There was a collective commitment to changing behaviours when working together.
As a result, Wellcome saw a significant increase in the pace of change. There was a noticeable increase in confidence when it came to problem solving, with leaders better able to support each other through the process. One participant described the impact on his team as “transformational.”
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