top of page
Author Display Picture

Why collaboration in programme design and delivery is important to us


Juliette Phillipson - 2024

Context is key in leadership​ development. When developing a leadership development programme, we work with organisations and individuals to co-design and co-deliver leadership programmes to meet local needs and context. Collaboration between internal and external faculty in the design and delivery of a leadership development programme is crucial for several reasons. 

Internal faculty refers to individuals within the participants organisation (e.g. senior executives, clinical leads, educational directors), while external faculty refers to specialists who are not employees of the organisation but are brought in to contribute their expertise to development programmes (e.g. academics and researchers, professional consultants and coaches, industry experts).

Benefits of collaboration include:

  • Diverse perspectives and expertise: Internal faculty members are familiar with the organisation's culture, strategic objectives, and specific challenges. External faculty bring broader industry insights and specialised knowledge that may not exist within the organisation. This combination ensures the programme contains both subjective and objective expertise to allow participants for broaden their own perspectives.

  • Enhanced curriculum relevance: Internal faculty can provide important insights into organisational goals and areas for improvement. This can be utilised to guide programme content and teaching methods. External experts can help ensure that the content and approaches used in the programme are tailored to these needs, and reflect the evidence-based best practices and innovations in leadership theory and development.

  • Broader network access: Both internal faculty and external faculty bring with them professional networks that can benefit participants. External faculty may include industry experts, potential mentors, and other resources that extend learning beyond the classroom and provide real-world exposure and insights. Internal faculty can provide opportunities for expanding workplace networks and career development.

  • Customisation and scalability: With insights from both internal and external faculty, programmes can be better customised to meet the specific needs of all levels within the organisation. External faculty can provide insights on how to scale the programmes to adapt them for different parts of the organisation or for different regional contexts.

Overall, the collaboration between internal and external faculty in designing leadership development programmes offers a blend of organisational understanding with evidence-based and objective insights, ensuring that the programmes are comprehensive, relevant, and capable of driving real change.

This is supported by evidence from two systematic reviews assessing impact of leadership development interventions. Both reviews found that interventions utilising a combination of internal and external faculty were found to be more effective in producing organisational outcomes compared with interventions conducted exclusively by internal or external faculty (Leskiw & Singh, 2007; Lyons et  al., 2021).


Leskiw, S. L., & Singh,  P. (2007). Leadership development: Learning from best practices [Article]. Leadership  and Organization Development Journal, 28(5), 444–464.

Lyons, O., George, R.,  Galante, J. R., Mafi, A., Fordwoh, T., Frich, J., & Geerts, J. M. (2021).  Evidence-based medical leadership development: a systematic review. BMJ  Leader, 5(3), 206–213.

bottom of page