Boards play a pivotal role in steering the ship of any organisation, and at the heart of their influence lies the elusive yet transformative force – organisational culture. It's not merely a buzzword; it's the very essence that determines your organisation's success, efficiency, and overall effectiveness.

In our 15 years of dedicated consultancy work, we've worked with organisations under tremendous operational stress, challenged to maintain a strategic view of their long-term vision. What we found is that culture often lurks at the root of their challenges. More often than not, this is inextricable from strategic governance failures.

Our journey has evolved, and so have our insights. Recognising the pivotal role of organisational culture. Our maturity matrix on organisational culture is a tool that builds on the wealth of knowledge gained through our recent reviews, investigations, various support programmes and the input of our clients and contributors.

  • Comprehensive culture diagnosis: identify and diagnose issues with surgical precision.
  • Lasting change implementation: embed transformative change that stands the test of time.
  • Tailored governance reviews: from the macro to the micro, we analyse it all.
  • Effective board oversight: strengthen your board's ability to govern culture effectively.


  • inducting new board members
  • 360° skills audits
  • board development programme
  • embedding the Nolan Principles

Our approach

We work with boards to deliver high-quality tailored development programmes.

The best boards embrace a culture of continuous improvement and development, underpinned by rigorous evaluation.

Board evaluations support leadership bodies to meet and exceed regulatory standards and aid board development and best practice benchmarking.

As an independent, expert partner with our own creative team, we work with you to tailor programmes to your organisation’s needs, drawing on international benchmarking and incorporating what we know works well.

Our evaluation and development programmes adapt to the many different scenarios facing today’s boards across health and social care, higher education, the third sector and housing.

Our programmes are led by highly experienced directors and peers with active, professional connections to current policy and practice, as well as a deep knowledge of how systems work.

Starter for ten

  • diagnostic evaluation
  • facilitated whole-board workshops
  • meeting observation and feedback
  • benchmarking and individual coaching
  • board member skills reviews and succession planning, using 360° assessment (or equivalent)
  • briefing papers, resources and materials based on GGI’s suite of best practice materials and typically co-developed with board members
  • influencing and communication analysis
  • stakeholder mapping and citizen engagement
  • peer input into design and delivery
  • support to embed the learning from the above within the organisation.

With their broad perspective on governance across many sectors and regions, the GGI team were the perfect partners for this exercise. Their input was invaluable, helping us to find a way through the complicated process of bringing our governance up to date and ensuring we’re in the best possible shape to deliver our central mission of raising standards at all levels and attracting more players and spectators to this wonderful sport.

David Mahoney

Chief Operating Officer

Your feedback

GGI clearly understands both the leadership issues we face within today’s NHS and the political context in which these leadership issues are being played out. Their work is valued by my board for its quality, practicality and relevant and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

Kevin McGee

Chief Executive Officer

Your feedback

There are times when, as a leader in a complex and challenging environment, you need high quality, accessible strategic advice and support. GGI has provided this for me and my Governing Body colleagues throughout 2017. They got to grips with the complexity and challenges of our environment very quickly and focused on supporting us to make improvements quickly, manage key relationships and demonstrate to regulators and others the progress we have ...

Patricia Davies

Accountable Officer

Your feedback

We're ready to help with what you want to achieve

Let's get to work

What does a typical Board development programme constitute?

Our Board development programmes often incorporate a broad range of activities including, but not limited to:

  • An initial diagnostic evaluation at the outset to establish outcomes

  • Whole Board development sessions which provide the Board with an opportunity to explore an issue in detail, facilitated by one of GGIs expert teams

  • Meeting observation and feedback

  • One-to-one coaching with Board members to help build individual capacity and help to embed the learning from other programme activities

  • 360 surveys, which, by allowing for anonymised feedback from a range of sources, help leaders understand their impact at a variety of levels and to identify blind spots they might have

What topics does a Board development programme typically cover?

We respect that every board is different, so we use our knowledge and expertise creatively to deliver custom-made programmes.

This means that no two of our Board development programmes are exactly alike and that we can flex to meet the unique circumstances and need of each of our clients.

That being said, some of the topics that we are frequently asked to cover by our partners include:

  • Building effective teams and team building

  • Risk appetite and risk management

  • Constructive challenge, positive response, assurance and reassurance

  • System leadership

  • Engaging effectively with regulators and preparing for regulatory review

How long does a Board development programme typically last?

Our Board development programmes can last as long as you want.

Whilst most of our programmes run for a period of between 6-12 months, we have also run programmes that have spanned several years as well as providing one off workshops to a wide number of organisations on a specific topic.

One benefit of running a programme for a period of six months or more is that this allows for the cumulative impact of Board development activities to become more apparent and embedded.

How can a Board development programme improve our Board and organisational effectiveness?

Board development is a hallmark of high performing Boards. Some of the ways that Board development can improve Board effectiveness include:

  • By providing a forum for team and relationship building activities

  • Through the provision of independent scrutiny and challenge to Board activities and decision-making

  • To provide input into Board and organisational governance processes and tools

  • By providing a safe space for Board members to debate key and pressing issues away from formal Board meetings

Our development programmes adapt well to many different scenarios facing today’s boards.

In the NHS, they have proven especially effective in three settings: where boards need rapid improvement in regulatory ratings, where boards want to move towards a higher level of maturity and impact, and where excellent organisations are looking to achieve further growth in performance, impact and renown.

Our programmes embody evidence of what is known to work well, drawing on international benchmarking and knowledge of leadership and governance, as well as our extensive work with boards and complex systems over the last decade, and intelligence gained from our own sector-specific networks of board members and influencers.

How can Board development complement the wider improvement activities within our organisation?

Many of our Board development programmes go hand in hand with wider improvement work that an organisation might be undertaking.

All of our learning activities are led by highly experienced directors and peers who maintain active, professional connections to current policy and practice, as well as deep insight into the history of how systems work and how individual and collective contributions can best achieve complex outcomes. This is meaningfully brought to bear in all of our Board development programmes.

This can include helping an organisation embed the learn from a regulatory or independent review, undertaking work to improve risk management processes within an organisation, or staff engagement and communications.

Can GGI deliver individual Board development workshops?

Yes, as described above, GGI are happy to provide individual workshops as well as more substantial Board development programmes.

We need some rapid board development, how quickly can GGI start?

GGI’s expert team are available immediately to facilitate both individual workshops and sustained Board development programmes.

How should we prepare for a board development programme?

For any Board development programme to be impactful it requires that Board members recognise the value of it and engage appropriately. This includes reading any preparatory materials, coming to sessions in an open and positive mindset, and being prepared to take away the learning and enact any recommendations between sessions.

For longer Board development programmes, we would also recommend that, at the outset, we conduct a small diagnostic exercise in order to help us better understand the organisation as well as to set programme objectives. This exercise would typically include some interviews, a rapid document review, and, if possible, an observation of a Board meeting.

What Board development expertise does GGI have?

GGI specialises in board and governance development and board maturity in conjunction with our programme of work moving governance thinking on nationally.

A significant amount of the work we do is board development, which is very unusual for any organisation of our kind. We have supported over 30 organisations in the past year across both the public and private sectors to deliver material improvements to their individual and collective effectiveness.

The integrated governance handbook

A GGI handbook

Board guidance on risk appetite

A GGI guide

Board styles: 2 that you are and 1 that you're not

Illuminations bulletin

David Holden


About David

Chris Smith

Director of Development

Dr Amanda Harrison

Senior Consultant

We would love to hear from you


View our upcoming events

Who we have worked with

Here to help