Wellcome Sanger Trust

Sanger Leadership Programme

In 2016 Wellcome Sanger Trust, one of the world’s leading genetics and genomics institutions tasked Talking Ape to create a different type of leadership programme. Their focus was to create a programme that helped their scientific leaders build new habits around accountability, collaboration, influencing, team dynamics and communication. They wanted those new habits to be sustained over future years. Talking Ape experimented with something different. We focused the programme on five key leadership areas underpinned by “vertical development” and self-awareness. We then put as much focus on the post-course elements and habit change as the content.

  • We created a “safe container” for the leaders to sit in a circle and be honest about their strengths and “edges.” Thus modelling the value of Psychological Safety and vulnerability.
  • Each leader had to create a set of values that they would adhere to and commit to “safe experiments” after each module.
  • We introduced the Lumina Learning Splash, a credible psychometric (based upon the Big Five not Myers Briggs) that focused on building self-awareness and ensuring participants understood their “leadership edges,” overextension of their preferences and developed leadership values.
  • Placed experiential learning, real-life issues and action learning sets during the workshops and nudge psychology after them to help support a change to their behaviour and habits.
  • With follow-up executive coaching we found we were able to really focus on what holds the delegates back from being leaders and we worked together to try “easy wins” and get them to see the bigger benefits of a change of behaviour.