Success Story – Leadership Assessment and Development

Delivering Executive Coaching, SLT Assessment and Development and Succession Planning in organizations such as Mendip and Wiltshire Councils, London Borough of Sutton, Watford Council, Public Health Wales, National Composites Centre, Gloucestershire Constabulary; to improve collaboration, drive major and ongoing transformation and create new mindsets and cultures.


Business Issue

The Corporate Management Team of the London Borough of Sutton agreed that with changing membership and a move to a commissioning Council, it was critical to undertake Corporate Management Team Assessment, Development and Coaching around the Leadership Competencies, Core Behaviors and Values. Key objectives included the alignment of the new team to provide a clear and unified leadership vision for the direction of the Council during rapid change and to establish a joint sense of corporate leadership within the political context.

Natural Talent was awarded the contract in competition with 14 other Consultancies, due to the detail of the proposal, its proven track record of success, and its ability to provide consistency across all the interventions required, including relevant up to date Assessments, Executive Coaching and ongoing Leadership and Management Development.


The CEO and 6 members of the CMT firstly undertook online assessments including the Strength Deployment Inventory, which identifies an individual’s personal strengths and motivations and how these relate to those of their colleagues – whether things are going well or badly.  It demonstrates how to use these strengths effectively to improve working or personal relationships with others.  They also completed the NEO Personality Questionnaire, and Leadership Judgement Indicator, which measures the accuracy of judgement when dealing with leadership decisions and is designed to help any person in a formal or informal position of influence to become more effective and so more successful in their leadership decision making. In addition, online 360 Feedback was obtained from their peers and direct reports.

All online assessments assessed the Council’s key Leadership and Management Competencies, Behaviors and Values, including overall strategic leadership, vision-setting, commercial acumen, emotional intelligence and resilience. Three of Natural Talent Consultants were involved and initially mapped Sutton’s Competencies on to those of the assessment and development tools.

The Corporate Management Team then attended a Development Day where they completed a challenging Group Exercise regarding decisions around cost savings at a London Council and individual presentations to demonstrate their understanding of the complex scenarios, as well as their commercial and financial management skills. They then took part in a Group Problem Solving Exercise to identify personality types and behavior change when under pressure. The afternoon session concentrated on the outputs of the Strength Deployment Inventory in order for the team to adapt styles to work together more effectively, as well as completing the Team Assessment Questionnaire, and identifying the overall Strengths and Development Areas for the team.

The highly effective Team Needs Questionnaire provides feedback on the key behaviors needed by effective teams. The Team Needs Questionnaire identifies the reality of how successful the team really is by asking all team members to score the normally observed behaviors; the scores are then benchmarked against high performing teams. Behaviors include: Confronting Issues, Driving for Results, Communication, Planning, Dealing with Strong Personalities, Decision Making, Meetings Management, Creating a Vision, Trusting each other, Openness, Inspiring Others.

The results of all the online assessments and Development Day were collated into an overall Summary Report and individual Feedback Sessions were conducted with each CMT member. A Team Feedback Session was facilitated by the Director of Natural Talent in order to agree on the most effective methods of working together to deliver the strategy.


As a result of the detailed data collected from the online assessments and Development Day, recommendations were made for ongoing Leadership Development to include 1:1 Executive Coaching to enhance skills and modify behaviors to become more effective leaders.  Team Development was also recommended to ensure the CMT work efficiently at a corporate level. A Team Contract was drawn up to ensure business and team objectives were aligned and achieved.

‘The two exercises the senior management team took part in as part of the Leadership Development Centre were spot on; the scenarios were completely relevant and covered the key issues and challenges we have to deal with on a day to day basis.  Thanks to you and Sue for your excellent facilitation of the day and valuable input to the team dynamics.’  CEO, Borough Council

‘Thank you for your insightful comments regarding my development areas; I was not fully aware of how I came across to people. I appreciated your empathy and admired the honest, practical approach to delivering all the feedback – impressive. I am very interested in all the Development Activities you have recommended.’  Director


Image is of County Hall, Trowbridge, designed by Stride Treglown:

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