Where the requirement is best met by a bespoke programme, Staff College have developed one-off interventions specifically designed to meet the requirements of an individual, team or organisation.

While the length and nature of these events will vary, dependent on the needs of the team, all events will have three distinct phases, a ‘diagnostic phase, a ‘development phase’ and a ‘support phase.’ Each of these phases is vital to the success of a programme in bringing about longer term sustainable change.

A key element of the course is that the team works on real issues and not case study material. However, unlike management consultancies, we are not here to provide the solutions to the challenges the team faces. Our role is to provide the environment, support and challenge necessary for the team to be able to decide and agree their own processes and work towards solutions to their problems. The team are the subject matter experts, and for there to be longer term change, they must own their solutions.

The work will involve a series of exercises and challenges with ‘straight talking’ feedback that develops self-awareness, an appreciation of the impact on others and the ability to differentiate helpful and unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

By helping a group gain better insight into how they currently work together, we can then provide the necessary support and challenge to help them work better together.

It is worth noting that this way of working can involve high levels of self-disclosure and emotionally stirring material so if this could be an issue for members of the team it is important to discuss this at the diagnostic phase.

Our approach

We work with senior leadership teams and our initial engagement is often due to a team wishing to ‘improve’ in some way. This includes element that are:


A new team wishing to get off to a good start by developing good practices in both the content and process of their work.


An existing team that wishes to go from ‘good to great’ or feels it needs to ‘shift into a higher gear’ to meet new/increased demands.


A team that is not functioning the way it wants or needs to due to one or more historical/current issues.

Senior leaders are often engaged in wicked problems. We define these as highly complex problems to which there is no obvious or neat solution. Therefore, our focus is on the processes of leadership and how people find a way through persistent, and often stubborn, areas of concern.

We believe that the ‘process’ or ‘the way that people go about doing a task’ needs to be understood and led so that the actual task itself can be accomplished to the best of a groups’ ability.

We raise awareness of group dynamic issues and group structural issues, including but not exclusively

• patterns of contribution

• who gets listened to/ignored

• how decisions get made or avoided

• how people prioritise their attention i.e. sticking to the primary task vs. drifting into other areas

• how conflict is dealt with or suppressed

• the structure of the agenda – does ‘form follow function’?

• the nature of different roles in the group

• the use of time and space

Programmes normally consist of a mixture of

• Process observations (as above)

• Process interventions (commenting on the groups work in the ‘here and now’)

• Taught material (useful ideas and techniques to improve group functioning).

• Generative sessions:

o group members getting to know each other better
o working on mission/purpose
o working on strategy and planning

• Reparative sessions (where necessary):

o resolving conflict
o learning from difficult experiences
o improving poor behaviour patterns

Staff College is more than a programme, it is a lever for cultural change in leadership with profound power to help us achieve the quality of care our patients need and the quality of working life our staff deserve. Being part of the program and taking my board team through the program is an integral part of our leadership journey that has, is and will, deliver substantial returns for the investment. Join us – it’s worth it!  

Medical Director, NHS FT

The course was really excellent – a consensus view in our group! The style of teaching was fantastic, the exercises useful which made overall for a really enjoyable educational experience. It was also useful receiving constructive criticism which is rare within the NHS. It was also particularly valuable doing the course with my fellow directors and GP leads which made it more relevant and the timing was just right given so many of us have our first board meeting together next week.  

Pathway Director and Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant, NHS FT, post completion of a bespoke team development programme, 2012