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The Client

The National Union of Students is the national confederation of UK students’ unions.

The Challenge

Develop excellent, connected managers in a national charity.

The Project

We worked closely with the leadership team at NUS to develop a 9-month development programme for every manager in the organisation (74 in total).

Even though campus was a familiar place to us through some of our ventures, this project with NUS was our first time working in and with the student movement. Because of the success of the project, and because we identified with the campaigning spirit at the heart of so many organisations in the space, we’ve not only continued to work with NUS, but also gone on to work with unions around the country.

For this project, we used diagnostic tools like 360 Feedback and produced a network analysis which gave us a good baseline picture of what was going on at the organisation. What this showed us reinforced anecdotal information from the organisation – that there was a disconnect between particular parts of the organisation that was having an impact on culture and performance.




Using this insight, we worked tactically to drive change in the organisation’s culture – with a particular focus on combatting silo working and improving the quality of management at all levels of the organisation.

We delivered a development programme for all 74 managers in the organisation over the course of 9 months, which included a range of workshops, 1-2-1 coaching and action learning. One of the most effective tools we used was Vertical Action Learning Sets.

Through this intervention, people in the Senior Management team were working with more junior Managers. Everyone was developing a shared understanding of the problems facing the organisation, and learned from each other about potential solutions, all working collaboratively to make it happen.

By the end of the programme, we could show that the number and quality of relationships in the organisation had increased by 35% (measured through network analysis). We could also see that the groups that had taken part in the programme had all shown positive progress against their self-assessment metrics.



Action Learning

A powerful, group-based approach to solving complex problems.

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Mapping & Profiling

Understanding your team or organisation, so you can make the most informed decisions.

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Our Work

University of West London Student’s Union

Helping a leadership team at a student union to implement a new strategy and change culture.

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