For a number of years there has been recognition of the widening gap between management research and practice (Bansal, Bertels, Ewart, MacConnachie, & O'Brien, 2012). This often stemmed directly from research that failed to resonate with those who practice management (Pearce & Huang, 2012). Compounding this theory-reality divide, are the challenges attributed to the use of academic language and the sheer volume of academic journals that espouse volumes of information which practitioners often find daunting to digest (Busi, 2013), as well as a possible lack of strategic management of teaching, research and practice (Carton & Ungureanu, 2018). Research that better connects academics and practitioners to assist solving real-world organisational, management and leadership challenges, can best be underpinned by carefully structured and well-managed collaborations between academia and business (Polzer, Gulati, Khurana, & Tushman, 2009). This paper analyses one such collaboration undertaken between researchers from two Australian institutions and numerous nonprofit disability service providers, for broader sector application including relevant Federal Government Agencies. The aims of the research are three-fold: (i) to develop a sector-specific, replicable, change management model; (ii) to identify sector-specific leadership characteristics that underpin successful change, and (iii) to identify sector-specific organisational culture attributes that support successful change.