The Open Polytechnic

Strategy and Senior Team Development

Situation

The Open Polytechnic is a unique academic institution, having no physical classrooms or face-to-face tuition. The organisation has a long and successful history, but changes in Government tertiary education policy and funding criteria ‘shifted the goalposts’ for the Open Polytechnic, and it was clear to the leadership that its traditional model was no longer fit for purpose. However, transitioning to a new model proved to be a major leadership challenge as resistance to change became clear from tenured staff with strong union representation. Transformation would not be easy.

Solution

Catapult worked with the leadership team delivering a programme of workshops specifically focusing on:

  • Understanding each others’ leadership strengths and weaknesses
  • Developing a shared strategic mindset and simplifying strategy 
  • Identifying the nature of the culture change that would see academic and support staff becoming more student-centred.
  • Becoming more unified and collaborative as a team 
  • Managing crises in a rapid but deliberative manner
  • Developing innovative new products and services to future-proof the business

Catapult also provided professional coaching and support to the CEO.

Results

The leadership team has become a high-performing team focused on transformative change. Team members:

  • Focus their discussions on strategic outcomes
  • Use the purpose, vision and ‘strategy on a page’ to sort priorities 
  • Engage with each other based on the values
  • Respect, trust and support each other
  • Take the investment risks necessary for developing new IP and markets

The transformation process is now well underway. The most turbulent period of change has been successfully navigated, and attention is now focused on consolidating the new emerging culture and expanding into new commercial markets. Catapult has now been engaged to design and deliver an innovative leadership programme across the organisation in 2017-2019.

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