Common Purpose deals with real life issues and insights, so
our programme are neither classroom nor lecture based. We go
beyond standard leadership models and learn instead from the
successes and failures of leaders from all sectors. This takes
participants out of their familiar environment so that they
re-examine why, when and how they lead, but roots them in reality
so that they can translate their learning back into their daily
Our programmes are best described as experiential learning. This
encourages individual participants to take responsibility and be
actively involved in their own learning in a structured way.
Participants are thrown into unfamiliar situations with fellow
participants from very different backgrounds. They are challenged
to analyse the task, the environment and their own, and fellow
particpants', responses. They carefully reflect - together and
individually - on the experience so that they can use this as a
basis for future action.
Common Purpose staff create a learning environment in which people
can both 'have' an experience and 'know' it as they are put into
different situations and draw learning from them. Given the
diversity of the Common Purpose participant groups, there is a real
exchange of knowledge across traditional boundaries.
Many tried and tested experiential learning techniques are used -
such as facilitated dialogue, peer coaching and role play. We put
great care into developing courses tailored for each participant
group in each local area.
This approach allows participants to practice leadership as they
go and, because the experience is so close to reality, it is easier
to transfer the learning into reality. For many it is a delight -
after many experiences of learning by sitting, listening and
modeling - to learn in new ways. Participants also enjoy the local
nature of the experience as well as the challenge to look outwards
on Quests. By using experiential learning techniques we also make
the diversity of the participant group an essential and exciting -
rather than frightening - factor in the learning process.
All our courses run under the Chatham House Rule
to encourage free debate.
Participants are also asked to abide by the Common
Real life case studies: Participants are
challenged to find solutions to unfamiliar and complex problems.
These are likely to be about very real local issues. In most cases
the people who make the decisions from the many stakeholder groups
will develop the case study with Common Purpose staff and then
attend on the day to advise and give feedback on the participants'
Quests: We take participants to cities in other
parts of the UK and in other countries so that they put together
the jigsaw that is the new place by meeting with its leaders. On
their return they will analyse and reassess their own place.
Immersions: A period of time going deep into an
organisation which is very unfamiliar to the participant, requiring
him or her to develop ideas or solutions which will work in this
new and strange environment.
Action Learning Groups: Participants form small
groups over the length of the course. They meet regularly to
discuss their own actual leadership challenges and work on them
together. This is a particularly powerful experience given the
diversity within the group. It guarantees that very different
approaches will be considered. Action Learning Groups work well
alongside Peer Coaching on the courses.
Simulation: We have developed a simulation
experience which we tailor to the local situation. The aim is to
challenge participants to work out how the microcosm of the place
in which they are based works and how the many stakeholders
interconnect. From this they must negotiate partnerships that will
benefit the place as a whole. Contributors from many sectors join
in to offer insights and question assumptions.
Diversity Exercise: The diversity exercise is a
structured group activity that uses deliberately contentious
statements to get the group expressing different opinions. The
exercise is designed to reveal different points of view, how
leaders respond to difference and how they overcome their own
biases in different situations.
As participants often work in groups, individual learning logs,
storytelling and 360 feedback are used to help participants to
assess their learning.
Masterclasses: An opportunity for participants
to ask tough questions and interview role models and experts in
different areas of leadership and a variety of sectors within the