Riaz Shah, Partner, EY

"Common Purpose’s proposition around leadership and Cultural Intelligence is cutting edge, speaking to the heart of the leadership challenge of society today."

In 2017, Common Purpose delivered programmes globally for
5,060 leaders

In 55 cities

They came from 116 countries

Representing 1,182 organizations and 55 universities

They join over 75,000 Common Purpose Alumni worldwide

Adirupa Sengupta, Group Chief Executive, talks us through Common Purpose's impact in 2018

The Very Revd Rogers Govender, The Dean of Manchester

"Fifteen Years ago I joined the Common Purpose programme for Senior Leaders. It was a transformational experience for me especially as I had been living in Manchester since the end of 2000,  prior to migrating here from South Africa. I had so much to learn about my new country and city. Through Common Purpose I met some amazing colleagues from all walks of life and professions. This enabled me to network with a wide range of people and gave me a deeper insight into how the city, and indeed how society worked. I grew in confidence with this new found information and knowledge and it prepared me for my (then) new role as Dean of Manchester. For the past twelve years I have led Manchester Cathedral in a transforming vision of outward-looking engagement with the wider life of our city region. This has also spread internationally through a variety of new connections. Thanks to Common Purpose and my colleagues around the city I have been at the forefront of managing incredible change in my organisation and we are now one of the country's leading religious and community institutions that is making a difference for the common good in the U.K."

Leslie Perry, UK Head of Conduct Risk, UBS

Leslie joined the streetwise mba programme last year, a programme that develops leaders to become inclusive and agile, with the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) to work more effectively with diverse colleagues.

“The programme was very important because that put a framework around our discussions and what we cover. What I think that Common Purpose did so well was ensuring the diversity of the group of people they put together.”

Throughout the streetwise mba, participants explore CQ. They use the Core and Flex® Framework to digest their learning, explore their own cultures and translate this learning into leadership behaviours.

“I think I’m so open minded, I try to be politically correct. I try to be sensitive to other people’s views and opinions, so I did not think I really needed to work on anything. But only because I had the streetwise mba experience I realized that I sometimes have more bias than I realize. Even in the expectation that I’m expecting people to act the way I do.

“One important aspect that I took away was the importance of not assuming that you’re getting it right and the value of having courageous conversations with people to evaluate whether or not your attempt at being culturally sensitive is even working.”

David Cameron, Former British Prime Minister, in his message to the inaugural Dishaa participants

"If the relationship between our countries is made up only by the politicians, the diplomats and entrepreneurs it will not last. A relationship with genuine meaning will be one that brings together people from every line of work and every walk of life. We need more than the trade of goods and services, as important as that is, we need the trading of experiences, stories and ideas between friends on opposite sides of the world."

Norman McKinley, Executive Director of UK Operations, British Red Cross

“Leadership development is a critical part of the British Red Cross Inclusion and Diversity strategy. One of the steps that we have taken to promote this has been through a partnership with Common Purpose to deliver development programmes on inclusive leadership and Cultural Intelligence. Taking part in the streetwise mba and an online version of this programme has helped our emerging leadership to take courageous steps to work effectively across boundaries, and has created more dialogue about inclusion across the organization.” 

Sharon Squire, Head of CSR Santander UK

Since 2010 Common Purpose has worked in partnership with Santander to run a campaign raising the aspiration and leadership potential of disabled students across the UK. In the past six years, together we have:

  • Developed an experiential leadership course for university students with disabilities delivered twice a year, every year, reaching 40 students per programme and delivered an annual workshop for alumni of the course.
  • Engaged over UK 100 universities in the initiative, who recruit and nominate students to participate.
  • Facilitated five students per year, alumni of Frontrunner for Disabled students, to join Santander as paid interns.  
  • Launched a mentoring scheme, matching 20 Santander employees with programme alumni.
  • Showcased Santander both as a responsible employer and an engaged member of the community through their employees' participation in the courses as contributors or visit hosts. 

"We are extremely keen to ensure that we have a diverse workplace at Santander. Our partnership with Common Purpose is one of the great ways to share the Santander story. [It] is of great value to us as through their networks they are able to link us in to students from different areas, different backgrounds, different experiences and abilities, who can come and experience the Santander workplace. These students will hopefully become part of our future workforce."

Ian Christiansen, Divisional Manager, Primary Care and Public Health, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust

“Taking part in the Collab helped further improve my understanding and practical application of how to collaborate and negotiate with others within a complex system. I feel that I am better able to push past boundaries in order to come up with workable solutions and influence change. This has helped to strengthen my relationships with colleagues and stakeholders. It was a wholly worthwhile experience and helped me to think in new ways about problem-solving.”

Rakesh Khurana Dean , Harvard College

“In our ever more complex and interconnected world which has no obvious historical parallel, Common Purpose has developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of cultural intelligence in order to navigate both this new world and its contradictions. It has important implications and raises questions about our current systems for those of us involved in educating and developing our future global citizens.” 

Erin Price, Northumbria University

In response to the changing environment in Higher Education, Northumbria University has been going through a cultural, structural and transformational change. In order to prepare their staff at all levels to embrace this change, the University created an internal development programme. Common Purpose tendered for part of this and were successfully awarded the contract in October 2012.

Common Purpose has delivered 18 workshops for staff from the Senior Leader, Professorial, Academic and Future Leader programmes. Each workshop aims to take delegates away from the university setting and into the local area to meet and hear from senior regional leaders, gain 'behind the scene' insights to examine how various businesses and services operate. These sessions have supported the staff to broaden their horizons, build networks and develop vital confidence and connectivity to lead change.

"We wanted to build something different into our Leadership Development programmes, something that would broaden perspectives and challenge assumptions about leadership in a Higher Education setting and stimulate new thinking. To do this we needed to offer our Academic and Professional Support Managers an opportunity to step outside of their own work environment and hear how businesses in other sectors across the North East operate and respond to real strategic and practical leadership challenges.

"Common Purpose was an obvious choice for us because of the extensive and diverse network of organizations and expertise they can tap into across the region. We have been delighted with the itineraries they have arranged for us. Their approach to both design and delivery is flexible with each programme customized to our specific brief and to the needs of the 'people in the room'.

"We wanted to inspire our leaders to think beyond the boundaries of their current roles and to understand more about the University's role and contribution in the region. Feedback we've received certainly supports that aim; 'It was a brilliant day, inspiring, useful, 100% relevant. Absolutely loved it. Thank You' "

Erin Price MCIPD
Head of People Development
Northumbria University

Professor Monder Ram OBE, Director, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham

“Common Purpose is the organization par excellence, with the mission to put diversity at the heart of the leadership debate. What it does in practice—and in terms of walking the talk—is bring people from different communities, different sectors, different generations together to address the challenge and opportunity of leadership. I can’t conceive of any organization that does that better.”

Discover Common Purpose leadership programmes