In 2015 a new Vice Chancellor (VC) was recruited at London South Bank University (LSBU) to deliver a transformation strategy and ambitious 5-year strategy to raise their reputation. There were significant leadership challenges such as low trust, silo working and poor communication.
He appointed a new executive team and Director of Organisational Development with a focus on transforming leadership, culture and engagement. These restructures disrupted staff, many of whom took severance.
LSBU partnered with JCA Global to embark on their Leadership Journey project with the objective of enhancing leadership capability and climate. JCA began by conducting key stakeholder interviews to diagnose the current culture and challenges. They then ran 1-day leadership development events for the senior leadership team, helping them to understand themselves and their impact.
"Providing leaders with the skills to best manage themselves and other throughout significant transformation"
A Leadership Climate Survey was launched to understand alignment between leadership behaviours and the desired culture. 35 desired behaviours were selected for Strategic and Operational Leaders and used to create a bespoke online 360° feedback tool. Each leader received a personalised leadership development plan and coaching to implement identified actions. Finally, a Leadership Academy was established, offering development programmes and management tools to effectively cope with change.
With support from JCA, LSBU were able to provide leaders with the skills to best manage themselves and others throughout significant transformation. The University were able to substantially advance their League Table positioning including from the 3rd to the 35th percentile in the Guardian University League Table; increase their external recognition through awards; and improve staff engagement and confidence in leadership. Engagement rose from 58% to 69% - notably, there was a 22% increase for “feeling safe to challenge the way things are done.”
These efforts have resulted in significant enhancements to the leadership climate which are driving a new culture in LSBU.