Revitalising the Professions

Does your profession and your professional body face multiple challenges at a time of rising expectations, increased costs and stretched resources? Could you achieve better and faster results with limited budgets and with existing people, structures and cultures?

Are there better ways of engaging and supporting your members and fulfilling your core responsibilities that offer clear benefits to your organisation, its staff, its members and the wider public?

Is there a more cost-effective approach to undertaking traditional activities of professional bodies and membership organisations? Is there a quicker, cheaper and less disruptive route to a high performance professional organisation?

Is there a practical and affordable way of simultaneously addressing a number of challenges and ensuring that your body and its members remain relevant, current and vital?

 Is there a way to use professional knowledge to increase individual and team productivity while at the same time cutting support costs and avoiding disruption, minimising risks, ensuring compliance and reducing stress?


Professional institutes and associations and membership bodies face a variety of pressures as member expectations rise and resources are stretched. This course examines new ways of engaging and supporting members. In particular, it will set out an evidence-based approach to transforming training, assessment, qualification; continuing professional development; communications; member updating; practice support; compliance and standards activities.

Who should attend?

 CEOs, Director-Generals, Secretaries, office holders and senior staff of professional institutes, members of their governing bodies and the chairs of committees responsible for cost-effective operation and the provision of services to members. It will also benefit those who are considering or preparing for positions on professional councils and committees, involved in strategy reviews, and senior staff and office holders of trade associations, representative bodies, professional firms, learned societies and other membership organisations.


 Senior staff and office holders of professional bodies and other membership organisations. Courses and workshop sessions can also be provided on an in-body basis to particular organisations.

The maximum number of delegates will depend in part upon the number of people for whom the programme is deemed relevant. The approach adopted will reflect the number of attendees and the nature of their interests and needs.


To enable participants to understand:

  • The challenges facing professional bodies and other membership organisations.
  • New ways of engaging and supporting professionals and knowledge workers
  • Cost-effective options for delivering core membership body services.
  • Quicker, cheaper and less disruptive routes to capturing, sharing and applying critical knowledge and building a high performance organisation.
  • A more effective approach to helping professionals to cope with complexity and excel at difficult jobs.
  • How to provide effective 24/7 knowledge-based support to members as and when required and wherever they might be
  • A way of simultaneously achieving multiple objectives and benefiting a range of stakeholders.
  • How ‘new leadership’ can ensure that individual professionals and professional organisations remain relevant and current.


 The course will cover the following topics:

  • Challenges faced by professional and membership bodies.
  • Preparing for an uncertain future.
  • Affordable talent, knowledge and change management.
  • Different approaches to transforming performance and performance levers.
  • Capturing, sharing and applying know-how and building performance.
  • Building and supporting high performance teams and communities of practice.
  • Providing 24/7 knowledge-based performance support.
  • Increasing knowledge and understanding of complex areas.
  • Making it easier for people in stressful professional roles to do difficult jobs.
  • Using performance support tools to transform key work-group performance.
  • Engaging people and helping them to help themselves and stay current.
  • Transforming member services and providing technical advice.
  • Education, training and continuing professional development.
  • Supporting professional practice and monitoring members of professional communities and networks.
  • Ensuring compliance and protecting the public.
  • Support tools for implementing organisational policies and acting responsibly.
  • Ensuring compliance, enabling risk management and supporting responsible and sustainable decision making.
  • Enabling professionals to remain current and helping them to excel.
  • ‘New leadership’ of professional bodies and next steps.

Course Materials:

 In addition to a course summary handout, if required delegates can also receive a copy of Transforming Knowledge Management, Talent Management 2, or Transforming Public Services. These are A4 size reports that set out a more affordable route to achieving greater returns on investment and building a high performance organisation, from a knowledge, talent and change management perspective.


 Participants will understand:

  • The challenges faced by leaders of professional bodies and membership organisations, and how they should be addressed.
  • A cost-effective way of transforming services and simultaneously achieving multiple objectives.
  • Key lessons from the approaches and practices of over 2,000 organisations, 500 professional firms and leading public bodies.
  • In particular, how to provide communities of  professionals with flexible 24/7 knowledge-based support.
  • Share the experiences of pioneering organisations that have transformed the performance of important teams and key work-groups.
  • How ‘new leadership’ can contribute to the building of high performance professional bodies and benefit members and the public.

Course Leader:

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and has served as Chairman and President of professional and representative bodies. His PhD was a comparative study of the governance of professional bodies and he was the founder director of the Centre for the Study of the Professions. His books and reports include The New Professionals, Developing Directors, a handbook for building an effective boardroom team and three recent reports (Transforming Knowledge Management, Talent Management 2, and Transforming Public Services) on building high performance organisations from a knowledge, talent and change management perspective. Colin led investigations into winning business in seven professions and the resulting reports and his other recent publications are available from He has served on a variety of private sector boards, and also on public sector boards at local, regional and national level.

Colin has facilitated many reviews of strategy and helped over 100 boards to improve director, board and corporate performance. He has reviewed the business development processes and practices of over 100 organisations. Formerly the world’s first Professor of Corporate Transformation and Process Vision Holder of major transformation projects, his experience includes being the UK’s first Professor of Competitiveness and a Professor of Direction and Leadership. He has spoken on corporate governance, director and board development, knowledge, talent and change management, performance improvement and corporate transformation at over 200 national, international and corporate events in over 40 countries.

Colin is a fellow of seven chartered bodies, was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California, and has held professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, India and China. He obtained first place prizes in the final examinations of three professions and holds an international change agent and transformation leader award.