Chief of Staff Executive Education at the University of Oxford

A four-day intensive residential programme designed specifically for the world’s leading chiefs of staff.

Chiefs of Staff are expected to be highly analytical, deftly diplomatic, extremely organized, aware and empathetic, and able to work swiftly and simultaneously across multiple portfolios and agendas. Yet, despite the strategic nature of the role, there exists little in the way of structured professional development delivered to global best standards – until now.

Our programme features insights from invited political, diplomatic and business leaders who share views on the core responsibilities of the role, and on emerging new challenges and responsibilities. Students participate in shared discussion and debate, enriching their perspectives and capability.

Participants are encouraged – formally and informally – to share best practices and learnings gained in their careers and current roles. At the end of the programme, students not only form strong relationships but also a network of competent peers who can act as ongoing sources of advice and professional support.


Learning Objectives

The Chief of Staff Executive Education Programme has four key learning outcomes:

1. Understand the external and internal environment of their enterprise — commercial, governmental, and not-for-profit — and leadership opportunities and challenges.
Anticipate challenges, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing environment.
Build an effective culture that is responsive to your leadership and resilient to forthcoming change by reflecting on those environments.
Evaluate the impact of internal factors, including organisational structure, as well as external factors such as economic conditions, and technological advancements.
2. Think critically about their enterprise, its strategic direction, and how it is organised, and develop a positive change vision.
Develop the skills needed to strategically align your organisation to move forward towards key goals.
Navigate the necessary changes to transform your organisation and bring it into alignment with its established strategic direction.
Understand the principles of sustainable business so that they can be implemented effectively for positive change.
3. Develop the skills and capabilities to influence their principal and other stakeholders with and without formal power.
Navigate complex organisational dynamics and achieve goals through persuasion and collaboration, leveraging more than just positional authority.
Understand how to employ effective communication, navigate organisational culture and politics, build networks and relationships, and possess negotiation and compromise skills to exert influence.
4. Understand tools and approaches to the most important challenges senior leaders are facing.
Enhance your ability to provide valuable advice to your Principal on crucial challenges such as organisational change, strategic planning, risk management, talent management, and crisis management.
Develop the skills necessary to provide insightful guidance to your Principal, enabling them to make informed decisions and formulate effective strategies aligned with the organisation’s goals and objectives.

Read Our Programme Reports

The Oxford programme reports capture a flavour of the discussions held during the programme and highlight the key insights that emerged.

Close the Gap

This report explores the role of chiefs of staff in organisational transformation. The May 2023 Oxford programme was set against the backdrop of rising uncertainty in which the COVID pandemic has been followed by the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and increased anxiety about everything from the climate crisis to the potential of AI.

Business transformation must occur within the uncertainty of this environment. It requires a particular type of leadership, combining adaptability, resilience, and emotional intelligence. And it makes ever more demands on the role and person of the chief of staff.

Read Now

The Art of Servant Leadership

The September 2022 report focuses on the notion of balance, investigating how chiefs of staff connect the external and internal environments, and past, present, and future.

How do priorities change across sectors and organisations? What are the implications for leadership style and capabilities? Find out below.


Speaking Truth to Power

The April 2022 report interrogates the complex organisational and leadership responsibilities that chiefs of staff hold while occupying an ambiguous position in the hierarchy.

Who is the chief of staff responsible for? What infrastructure is around them? Which skills and qualities lead to success? Find out in the report below.


Upcoming Oxford Programme

  • Date: 5 – 9 August 2024

  • Capacity: Approx. 45 members of The Chief of Staff Association

  • Price: USD7950 (includes accommodation, meals and programming)

For more information, please contact our membership services team at [email protected].

Exclusive to members of The Chief of Staff Association