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University of Oxford

Leadership team development

University of Oxford
Client University of Oxford
Region UK
Sector Public Sector, Health and Not For Profit
Offering Organisation Development & Culture
Leadership development

The Challenge

The University had developed a new strategic plan and work was starting on shaping implementation and delivery. New appointments had been made to the leadership group amongst both academic and professional leads and they was a feeling of confusion about both content ownership and leadership and accountability across the team.

Our Approach

  • We interviewed senior leaders across the University, including the Heads of Academic Divisions, Pro- Vice-Chancellors, key Departmental heads, and Functional Directors. As a result, we were able to map out the relationship between each member of the leadership team and the strategic pillars of the new plan
  • Leadership meetings and the calendar: one challenge the team faced was the amount of time they were able to meet as a team and the different views people had about the purpose of those meetings and indeed meetings in general. We facilitated agreement on the issues the leadership team agreed they needed to meet to discuss, the agendas for those meetings, and the style or type of meeting they represented.
  • Two strategic leadership off-site events: Input came from the 1:1 meetings and an in-depth analysis of the strategy resulting in a pre-reading document showing a summary of the situation. The workshop sessions were facilitated by strategic issues rather than by structure and involved a process of proposal, debate, and agreement. Unresolved issues were captured and by the end of both sessions, agreement had been reached on all questions.
  • Business planning: this work was also a significant input to agreement on the management reports that were required from the business planning process helping agreement across different parts of the University to be reached on faster more data-rich decision making.

Key Outcomes

  • Our interventions and the workshops in particular resulted in agreement about roles and accountabilities across the implementation programme, clarity about priorities and the interconnection between different areas of work and overall made better use of busy people’s time; making for easier and more effective working relationships.
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