If ever there was a time for supporting leaders – it’s now

In the past year, a year of huge change, challenge and uncertainty, Common Purpose UK has created new, virtual leadership programmes, including global elements and a new app, offered 21% bursary supported places and over 1,400 young people have also participated in their free UK101 leadership programmes.

Louise Teboul, Midlands Operations Director of Common Purpose UK said:  “In a time of such huge change and uncertainty, there’s an increasing need for effective leadership but also for more diversity in leadership. For over 30 years we’ve been delivering cross-boundary leadership programmes – inclusive leadership is what we do and we’ve always offered bursary support, but not we’ve quantified it.  Last year almost 60% of our bursary-supported places were from under-represented groups in leadership positions, whether that’s people from Black, Asian or other ethnic minorities.

“We’re also working with other organisations, either in a city region or from a sector approach, eg arts and culture in Scotland, to offer bursary places on their behalf.  This is helping support the increased focus on fairness, opportunity and equity in leadership roles.

“Like many organisations we adapted the way we work back in March 2020, moving from a face-to-face programme.  For years we’ve been delivering ‘blended’ learning, but we took the decision to create a new virtual programme – to see us through the Covid-19 challenges.  In hindsight it was the right decision, but none of us 100% knew that, at the time!

“We have developed new, real-time, virtual leadership programmes for both senior and emerging leaders.  Both focus on connecting cross-sector, diverse peers to learn from, and with each other, and are about engagement, not lectures or webinars.  We have inspiring and thought-provoking contributors, who share their leadership insights, in a confidential honest, open way and there’s lots of opportunity to question, discuss and engage.

“We’ve also taken advantage of the benefits that virtual learning can bring – alongside local cohorts, the programmes across the UK join other participant groups from South Africa, India, Hong Kong and Ireland for even more diversity.  In addition, we’ve developed an app – to help track the insights/learnings from the programme and a Cross-Boundary Leadership Index tool.

Common Purpose is confident that these programme can help leaders develop the skills they need at one of the most challenging, uncertain and pivotal points in their careers.  We recognised this with our first, virtual senior leaders programme, as Nicola FleetMilne, CEO, FleetMilne Property & Chair of Colmore BID put it:

“The online programme hosted by Common Purpose was an absolute lifesaver – it brought together a community of professionals at a time when we were facing the same life-altering situations, the same intense pressures, but a multitude of different work and personal challenges. I enjoyed the course immensely and over the programme I developed leaps and bounds.”

Louise concludes:  “None of us, as leaders, and organisations, have been able to just wait for things to get back to normal – we’ve needed to be agile, innovate and be creative.  There’s no doubt that it’s been challenging, and still is, but it’s felt like a real privilege to be able to continue to support, and work with leaders, at a time when they need it most.  And, more importantly, that we’ve continued to offer bursary-support to talented people who cannot afford to participate in our programmes.

I’d also like to thank all our contributors and partners who support our work and quest for inclusive leadership.”