Visiting an effective MAT is always impressive. They know they are good and are savvy enough to control their public image so you are bound to find any visit impressive. It will be because it is designed to be.
You will no doubt shudder about the amount of work done to make sure that the governance is as good as it is. You will wallow in the amount of buy-in and good will displayed around you. You might even be over-awed by the sophistication of the conversation. Your own capability systems are compliant with the Academies Financial Handbook, right?
And yet, to coin a phrase, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If you really want to be impressed, try to sneak out from the tour and collar a middle manager. Ask this poor terrified person about targets, about what they are doing to meet these targets and about the problems they are encountering. This is where the true magic lies.
The senior management has sorted the high level processes. Big deal. They have also empowered their own people and provided them with the necessary information for them to take decisions and to implement change. This is where the magic takes place. If you manage to find out how this was done, then learn and bring that back to your own institution. It will truly send it into another orbit.