World Vision UK – Executive team formation & leadership development

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. With funding from the UK Government, the European Union, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and also more than 100,000 individuals, World Vision serves people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender, to change the root causes of poverty through campaigning, church partnerships, education and influencing policy makers.


In 2011 World Vision UK restructured their organisation to align with their new strategy. Many leaders changed roles as new groups and teams were formed and a number of new leaders joined from other organisations. Waverley Learning was invited to help the new Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to form well as a team around the development of a new shared leadership model and approach, and to facilitate the articulation of this model and approach to the wider leadership community.


Drawing on the results of a recent internal survey amongst the wider leadership community, we co-designed, with members of the ELT and their internal leadership specialist, a series of interventions:

  • Two interventions for the whole leadership community focusing on: identifying and embracing a set of new leadership behaviours, energising individual leadership and building stronger cross boundary working

  • A series of bespoke team formation retreats for the ELT

  • A retreat for the board (ELT and Trustees) focusing on building deeper relationships and shared strategic understanding


The impact on the new ELT was profound. There was an immediate shift in the quality of dialogue and decision making accompanied by a shift in both personal ownership and mutual accountability, which remains to this day. Meanwhile, leaders from the wider community have begun to step up and take more personal responsibility as the ELT have made more space for them and invited some of them into strategic conversations. The relationship between the Trustees and the ELT has strengthened and the dialogue at board meetings has become more open and strategic.

"Waverley has helped our executive team establish and live out new behaviours - we understand each other better, trust each other more deeply, and speak and act more boldly. This has helped us navigate major changes and challenges that we've faced externally, across the organisation and within the team."

Justin Byworth, CEO