Implementing Strategy in the Civil Service – Four-Day Training Course

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From Designing Strategies to Delivering Policy Outcomes

This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

Day One The Foundations of Strategy
Day Two Beyond Strategic Thinking
Day Three Policy Implementation and Delivery
Day Four Project Planning and Delivering Impact

Introduction and Overview

A strategy is only as good as its implementation – the extent to which it actually delivers intended policy outcomes. This event provides an in-depth exploration of the key ingredients for implementing strategy and policy in the civil service or any public sector role. Starting with the foundations of strategy, the event looks beyond strategic thinking to consider innovation, adaptation, and implementation. It explores a wide range of implementation issues including feasibility, capacity, project management and change management. The event is very interactive and will include insights from senior civil service leaders.

Who Should Attend and Why?

You should attend this if you are involved in a public sector strategy, policy or delivery role or if you aspire to such a role in the future. The training will develop your ability in your current role and also support your career development as a leader. The event is designed to be of benefit whether or not you have had previous experience of strategy, policy and implementation work.


By attending this training, you will understand all the essential insights needed to enable you make strategic choices, plan policy implementation, innovate, adapt and deliver strategic policy projects. Specifically, you will:

  • Understand the core elements of strategy and strategic thinking
  • Be able to innovate and adapt your strategy to new challenges as they arise
  • Gain new insights into successful implementation and delivery
  • Understand the core elements of project management and change management
  • Consider how to demonstrate leadership on all aspects of strategy implementation

This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

Day One The Foundations of Strategy

Welcome, Introductions and Overview of the Course

Session One The Why and Where of Strategy

  • Understanding organisational strengths, weaknesses, and how they relate to the opportunities and threats facing our organisation
  • Clarifying “the big why” – why the organisation does what it does and the difference it will make to others
  • Exploring where we want to be in three to five years from now and beyond
  • Creating meaningful strategic goals


Session Two Strategy as Choice

  • Exploring alternative strategies
  • How to choose which strategy is best
  • How to achieve the most significant results with available resources
  • Focusing our efforts and being clear what we are saying no to.

Lunch Break

Session Three Strategy as How

  • Strategy and operations compared
  • Ensuring the right systems, resources, capabilities, communication and collaboration are in place to deliver the strategy
  • Facing possible obstacles and working out how to address them
  • Managing strategic risks
  • Managing change and creating momentum for success


Session Four The Who and When of Strategy

  • Strategic planning and project planning compared
  • Who should we involve in developing a strategy and when should we involve them?
  • A question of balance: how to ensure the policy plan stays on track vs how to adapt and modify the strategy
  • Ensuring accountability and ownership
  • Promoting learning and continuous improvement

Conclusion, Final Questions and Discussion


Day Two Beyond Strategic Thinking

Session One What Are We Moving Beyond? Strategy Essentials

  • Limitations of linear planning approaches
  • Limitations of top-down approaches
  • The need to make challenging trade-offs
  • The need to focus
  • The need for clarity on the how
  • The link between strategy and innovation, adaptation and implementation

Session Two Bold Innovation

  • The magic of questions
  • Creativity tools
  • “Frugal innovation”
  • Strategic and operational innovation
  • Filtering ideas
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Making the case for change

Session Three Rapid Adaptation

  • Why you need more than just innovation
  • Why it is hard to learn from failure (but even harder not to)
  • Embracing uncertainty
  • Experimentation as strategy?
  • Flexible organisations and teams
  • Creating an organisation that can adapt to unknown risks

Lunch Break

Session Four Successful Implementation

  • Projects and successful implementation
  • Involving the right expertise
  • Thinking front-line from the start
  • Accountability without a blame culture
  • Complexity and systemic factors
  • Clear and targeted communications
  • Using coaching approaches to facilitate transformation


Day Three Policy Implementation and Delivery

Session One Making Deliverable Policy Choices

  • Are the options deliverable?
  • Are the proposed policy options politically and publicly acceptable?
  • Are new legal powers necessary and what timescales would be involved if so?
  • Are the proposed policy options enforceable?
  • Discussion of delegates’ experiences

Session Two Capacity Analysis

  • Ensuring adequate resources to deliver
  • Analysis and approaches
  • Methods for stress-testing organisational capacity
  • How to avoid common pitfalls – what does not work well and why?
  • Sharing delegates’ examples

Lunch Break

Session Three Practical Tools for Managing Change 

  • Planning and communicating change
  • Methods for change management (and how not to do it)
  • Leadership and change
  • Review of delegate experiences

Session Four Practical Scenario Planning  

  • Using scenario planning to make the policy more resilient
  • Analysis of the stages of scenario planning
  • Scenarios and risk management
  • Final discussion


Day Four Project Planning and Delivering Impact

Session One Moving from Strategy to Planning

  • What is a project plan (and what is not)?
  • Product-based plans and work-based plans – definitions, characteristics, differences, advantages of each and defining which to use in different contexts and at different stages
  • Delegate experience sharing

Session Two Project Deliverables (Products) and Fundamental Processes

  • Identifying products
  • Mapping breakdown structures
  • Critical path analysis and scheduling
  • Using Gantt charts effectively in project planning
  • Time planning and monitoring
  • Effective resource allocation
  • Delegates’ input

Lunch Break

Session Three Cost, Quality and Risk 

  • At what stage do you need to define cost and quality parameters and how do you do this?
  • Understanding risk management, defining project risks and incorporating risk mitigation into project management
  • Discussion of delegates’ experience

Session Four
 Monitoring Progress and Keeping on Track

  • Methods for the effective monitoring of progress of work activities against specified timeframes and agreed quality standards
  • Contract management of project suppliers
  • Project governance
  • How to get a project back on track
  • Learning lessons
  • Facilitated discussion

Session Five  Course Conclusions and Close

  • Ways of demonstrating leadership on strategy implementation
  • Your action plans


This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services.