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About the course

The current financial pressure on public sector organisations is forcing many public sector employees to shift their thinking towards a more target driven, customer focused and commercial mind-set.

How is this cultural and systemic shift possible for individuals and teams who are not necessarily comfortable or familiar with commercial thinking? How is that change driven and owned by the people at the front line?

It isn’t appropriate to adopt a wholesale commercial model and drop it on to a public sector team; commercial thinking is not about trying to turn a local council in to a double glazing sales company!

We have developed a targeted, first-stage training programme that gives participants the knowledge and confidence to understand how commercial thinking is appropriate in their own world.


  • Developing a commercial mindset.
  • Balancing cause, or purpose based work, with an income focus.
  • Defining commercial thinking in the context of the public sector.
  • Tackling the limitations of commercialization in our context.
  • Understanding commercial focus for a social enterprise.
  • Creating a personal and team action plan to move to a more commercial set up.

The training focuses on the core question “What does it mean to develop Commercial Thinking in the context of our team and organisation?”

The training programme has clear objectives for participants to develop both a personal and a team action plan to help apply the training in their roles as soon as possible.

The programme is run over 2.5 days. It is split into a 1 day learning and preparation day, a ½ day 'real world learning' and 1 full day presentation, reflection and action planning day.


Day 1 (full day) – Programme context

  • Our personal motivation
  • Our team / division objectives
  • Companies to admire
    • For their business model
    • For their product offer
    • For their customer service
  • Our customer offer
  • Understanding social enterprises
  • What is ‘commercial thinking’ for us?
  • Introduction to ‘the visits’: the organisations and their challenges
  • Session preparation

Day 2 (½ day) – Visit preparation

  • Organisational visit
  • Presentation to the social enterprise
  • Consolidation of learning
  • Agreement on the division of labour for ‘homework’

Day 3 (full day) – Sharing Reflections / Information (presentation)

  • Our solutions for the social enterprises (presentation)
  • Capture learning from the visits
  • Capture Learning from day 1
  • Ethical effects of commercialisation – forays into the free market
  • Action Planning
    • Define commercial thinking for my team
    • Our customer groups
    • Our service levels
    • Next steps for me
    • Next steps for us
    • Recommendations for them
  • Repeat: What is ‘commercial thinking’ for us?

Who should attend

The programme is focused on mindset change followed by practical implementation techniques. It works for individuals from front-line delivery through to middle-management anywhere across the public sector where financial targets are of growing importance. The programme is especially useful when 2 or 3 individuals from the same team or division attend. The participants should be influencers who can take the learning from the programme back to their colleagues and act as conduits for mindset change.

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