Common Purpose

Meridian is a programme for senior leaders who work with multiple, diverse stakeholders

As leaders become more senior, they find themselves delivering complex change with ever more diverse stakeholders. More than ever, they need to be able to collaborate with different people and understand the wider context in which they operate.

Meridian develops leaders with the skills, networks and understanding to make an impact in their organization and across their city. The programme uses a real-world experiential approach. We convene leaders from every corner of the city who share open accounts of their leadership challenges. We take participants to places and organizations where they can explore how leaders approach complex change in different contexts. On each programme, we guarantee a diverse mix of leaders from the private, public and NGO sectors.

Derek Cartwright, Former Chief Executive, North West Ambulance Service

As the head of a large ambulance service the challenges I face on a day to day basis are complex and cross both internal and external boundaries. I need to be able to work with a range of stakeholders, who have very different priorities and perspectives. The Common Purpose programme gave me a broader appreciation of the context in which we operate and an understanding of key players and leaders who operate there. The programme allowed me to build working relationships quickly with peers from across a broad spectrum of key organisations, who I would have not normally come across, and I still work with now.

Who is Meridian for?

Leaders operating at a senior level, where they have to deliver complex change with ever more diverse stakeholders—both in their organization and across their city.

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External Stakeholders

Internal Stakeholders



Leading Beyond Authority

Our learning framework: Leading beyond Authority (LBA), underpins the participants’ leadership learning. People who lead beyond their authority can produce change beyond their direct circle of control.

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Learning outcomes

Common Purpose Meridian develops leaders who can deliver complex change beyond their circle of authority.


Become better able to build strong relationships that lead to successful collaborations



Become better able to develop strategies that produce change


Become better able to have an impact in unfamiliar contexts



Become better able to inspire others through your leadership style

Impact: on Individuals
Senior Leaders 

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92% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them gain broader networks 

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90% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them develop as leaders

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89% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them make better decisions 

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90% of senior leaders say our programmes enable them to drive bold innovation

Tom Higgins, Business Leader, Laing O’Rourke Construction North

“Common Purpose programmes take our leaders out of their familiar environments and expose them to new people, new thinking and new opportunities.”

The programme

Online learning and group exercises

(One hour)

Our online accelerator allows time-poor participants to maximize their face-to-face experience at their own time and pace. The accelerator introduces participants to the Leading Beyond Authority learning framework, which will underpin the learning throughout the programme.

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3
Leading Beyond Authority Collaboration Leading change
Immersion 1 Immersion 2 Immersion 3
Learning Group 1 Learning Group 2 Learning Group 3

(Equivalent of five days over three months)

Three full-day modules allow participants to explore leadership themes as part of a diverse, cross-sector group. We convene senior leaders from across the city to share open accounts of their own leadership challenges and the ways they overcame them.

Half-day immersion experiences allow participants to experience leadership and decision-making in different contexts. Common Purpose facilitates immersion experiences in a range of different places including prisons, hospitals, schools, businesses and community organizations. Participants attend two immersion experiences from a choice of three.

Learning groups enable participants to deepen their learning as part of a small but diverse group. Each month, a different participant hosts a three-hour learning group at their workplace. Here they work on their own leadership challenges.

Online: Adapting to a new environment

Practices are short tasks or challenges to complete in between the face-to-face elements of the programme. Practices allow participants to extend their learning and gain further leadership insights during the programme.

360 Connect events  360 Platform

Participants connect with other Common Purpose Alumni through our online 360 platform and at 360 Connect events. As Alumni, they can continue their learning in a community of over 75,000 leaders worldwide.

Programme details


£4590 + VAT. Multiple applications are welcomed. Part-fee and bursary places are also available for those genuinely unable to meet the full fee. If you feel that you cannot pay the fee, fill in the section on bursary support on the application form. 

Who participates?

Participants come from diverse backgrounds and sectors, such as:

  • The Big Life Group
  • Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • United Utilities
  • Urenco



Manchester & Lancashire Combined Meridian April 2019

Core Day 1: 25 April 2019
Immersion 1 (Manchester): 08 May 2019

Core Day 2: 21 May 2019
Immersion 2 (Lancashire): 06 June 2019

Immersion 3 (Manchester): 11 June 2019
Immersion 4 (Manchester): 26 June 2019

Core Day 3: 09 July 2019

Manchester & Lancashire Combined Meridian November 2019

Core Day 1: 07 November 2019
Immersion 1 (Manchester): 20 November 2019

Immersion 2 (Lancashire): 28 November 2019
Core Day 2: 16 January 2020

Immersion 3 (Manchester): 23 January 2020 
Immersion 4 (Lancashire): 05 February 2020

Immersion 5 (Manchester): 12 February 2020
Core Day 3: 26 February 2020



Applying for Meridian

Please fill in the online application form, choosing the date and location you want. 

If you have any questions on how to apply, or want to find out more about Meridian, please contact

Mark Lee, Chief Executive, Together Trust

“I gained a great deal from my own attendance and encouraged senior colleagues to attend Meridian. It has been a great investment in their personal development and has a very positive return for our organisation in terms of our leaders’ renewed confidence in their own capacity to lead and inspire others, the new contacts and relationships they brought back which led to new partnership opportunities and the wider perspective they acquired on internal changes, which helped them motivate others more effectively.”