Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland is a public sector organisation with responsibility for:

  • the safeguarding of financial stability through the formulation of monetary policy
  • the implementation of an assertive, risk-based regulatory regime for financial services activity
  • the protection of consumers of financial services in Ireland.

Created as a single unitary body in 2010, it is unique among the world’s central banking and regulatory entities in terms of the breadth of its legislative mandate. It has played a critical role in helping to steer the country through the depths of the financial crisis and bail-out.

The Central Bank employs 1,600 managers and staff, located in multiple sites in Dublin.


Since 2008, the headcount of the Central Bank has doubled, driven by the demand for high-calibre expertise and experience to manage the Bank’s expanding role and visibility. A range of core operational management processes have been implemented to enhance planning, resource allocation, performance management and talent management. Building on the strong public service ethos of the organisation, a number of Priority Behaviours (with associated competencies) have been identified and introduced as a means to embed a high performance culture across the Bank.

The Challenge

In 2013, the Central Bank asked the Odyssey Group to create an integrated suite of development experiences suitable for all leader/managers throughout the organisation – from the Governor to front-line supervisors. The aims of the programme were:

  • at the collective level, to promote a leadership culture that would help to attract, develop, retain, motivate and engage people in the delivery the Bank’s stated Mission: “Safeguarding Stability, Protecting Consumers”
  • at the individual level, to help each manager to enhance their capability to provide positive, dynamic and authentic leadership and to take greater ownership of their continuing personal and professional development

The Solution

Working with the Central Bank’s Learning and Development Team we designed, developed and are continuing to deliver the LEAD programme, an integrated set of developmental experiences incorporating a focus on the Bank’s Priority Behaviours and targeted at levels appropriate to the participant cohorts attending each session. These workshops integrate a variety of learning methodologies to afford participants the opportunity to apply the concepts being introduced to the Central Bank environment, as well as practicing the use of new skills and capabilities.

Among the topics covered in these multi-day, multi-module programmes are:

  • Understanding your preferred leadership style
  • Mastering style flexibility
  • Encouraging the heart: Helping your people get into ‘flow’
  • Shared sense of purpose: Connecting people to the Bank’s vision and strategy
  • Creating an environment of trust and collaboration
  • Building and leading high-performance teams
  • Coaching as a leader’s ‘way of life’
  • Fostering confidence and resilience
  • ‘Hard talk’: Dealing with under-performance

In addition to participation in workshops, LEAD Programme participants also receive one-to-one coaching between the modules with a member of the Odyssey facilitation team. These coaching sessions focused on interpreting 360o feedback data as well as identifying key steps to be taken to apply learning from the programme in the workplace.

To date, over 225 leader-managers, including all members of the Central Bank’s Senior Management Committee have taken part in the programme.

Sample Participant Feedback:

“Probably the best programme I’ve been on in my time at the Bank, it made me realise that I really need to think about why I need to do things as a leader, rather than just to focus on what has to get done.”

“This has been a great opportunity to share experience and insights with other managers in the Bank. We usually only get together to talk about specific, topical problems. This programme gave us the chance to really come to grips with what we have to be able to do to lead people in an environment as unique as the Central Bank.”

“Great blend of reminders of things I too often neglect, new concepts and insights that I need to think about how to use, and exercises that took us out of our comfort zones to help us see how new approaches could help us to be even more effective as leaders.”

“Everyone should be able to take away things of genuine personal value from this programme. If they don’t, it’s because they simply don’t want to!”