Common Purpose

Common Purpose Meridian is our flexible leadership programme that offers modular learning and development for senior leaders.

Programmes for senior leaders

check out our upcoming courses

Programme Start date Audience
Meridian 2018/19 25 October 2018 - 4 month programme Senior leaders Contact us
Meridian 2019 28 February 2019 - 4 month programme Senior leaders Contact us
Profile 2018 27 & 28 June 2018 Senior leaders Contact us

Meridian is a leadership programme for senior leaders from all sectors and backgrounds based in and around metropolitan areas. Meridian is currently offered in Dublin and in cities around the world.

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.

Feargal McGill, Head of Games Administration and Player Welfare, Gaelic Athletic Association

"I found the Common Purpose course provided an excellent insight into different styles and approaches to leadership in Ireland and beyond today."

Who is it for?

Common Purpose Meridian is for senior leaders who hold established leadership roles. The programme is best suited for leaders who are already experienced at delivering objectives and managing people and priorities. It is ideal for leaders who are responsible for developing partnerships, engaging with internal or external stakeholders, working across several locations, divisions or countries or who simply need to broaden their horizons.

As with all our open programmes, the participant group on Meridian will be diverse in terms of background, experience, sector, outlook and approach. Participants share and challenge each other and discover that this diversity - far from being a weakness - provides a key strength of the course.

Why Common Purpose Meridian?

Meridian develops leaders with the skills, networks, and understanding to make an impact in their organization and across their city. The Meridian programme is a dynamic and open learning experience; by the end of the programme participants are better equipped as leaders to:

  • develop self-awareness and confidence to meet the challenges of leadership
  • learn to take responsibility for problems and issues outside your direct control
  • increase Cultural Intelligence - the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures
  • become more open to working with different people, in new ways, to solve complex problems
  • develop lasting relationships that build trust and encourage collaboration.

Tessa O'Connell, Director, Brand-Edge

"Inspirational leaders who operated on the basis of strong values. Very supportive and highly educational programme. Key insight: challenge to be brave and set your beliefs aside. Great locations and colleagues."

Stories from Meridian

My experience of Dublin Meridian – Sheena Barrett, Dublin City Council

My experience of Dublin Meridian – Ivan O' Brien, The O' Brien Press Ltd.

How does it work?

Core days

There are three core days, which take place at the start, mid-point and end of the programme.


The rest of the programme is module-based. You can select modules to fit around your work and other commitments.

Flexible modular programme

Meridian offers a format that means leaders can tailor it to meet their individual needs and to match their diaries. Participants complete the Meridian programme over a period of 6 months. 

The full participant group - coming from all walks of life - attends three full 'core' days together, at the start, midpoint and end of the programme. In between, each participant chooses from a range of modules to explore a variety of real-life challenges - based in locations from a prison to the port docks, a government building to a homeless service, corporate offices to a hospital. In small groups, learning constantly from each other, participants share the experience of operating in very unfamiliar situations.

Through an online booking system, participants select a minimum of 55 hours from over 80 hours of interactive learning modules to create a unique programme. 

Core Days

There are three core days, which take place at the start, mid-point and end of your programme.

Core Day One
You will explore the concept of ‘Leading Beyond Authority’ and start to identify your strengths as a leader. It’s your first opportunity to work with the wider group and to have thought-provoking conversations with a variety of leaders from different sectors.

Core Day Two
An immersive event where you will grapple with a real-life societal challenge, using innovation and creative processes within your diverse participant group to support you in generating new ideas in response to the challenge.

Core Day Three
You will come together as a group to review your experience - considering what it means for you as individual leaders and how the learning can be applied in your roles at work and in society.

The rest of the programme is module-based. You can select modules to fit around your work and other commitments. You can also complete a module in a different city in another part of the world.

Understanding place
Comprehensive insights about how the local area really works.

Understanding change
Investigate real-life leadership challenges based in hospitals, schools, businesses and council chambers; meeting and quizzing the leaders who make the decisions there.

Leadership insights
Key leaders share first-hand experience - from their successes and failures - of leading beyond their immediate area of authority to create change.

Learning groups
Peer group sessions to discuss and tackle individual leadership challenges.

Quests (optional - at additional cost)
A day immersed in the economic, political and social context of another city.

For more information on the format, please contact your local Common Purpose office.

Impact: on Individuals
Senior Leaders 

Donut Chart

90% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them develop as leaders
91% say they are better able to Lead Beyond Authority
91% say they have clarified their purpose
87% say they have grown their Cultural Intelligence

Donut Chart

92% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them gain broader networks 
92% say they are better able to build relationships 
93% say their ability to spot connections has improved 
90% say they are better able to work in collaboration

Donut Chart

89% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them make better decisions 
88% say they are better able to thrive in complexity
90% say they are better able to widen context
90% say their ability to confront bias has improved

Donut Chart

90% of senior leaders say our programmes enable them to drive bold innovation
87% say they are able to think the unthinkable
91% say they are better able to leverage diversity
92% say their ability to move to action has improved

Applying to the programme

How to apply

To receive an application form please contact the Dublin team on (01) 872 9322 or email or complete an online version using the 'Apply' button on this page.

For more information about the overall application process or for general questions, please get in touch using the online enquiries form.

What is the cost to attend Meridian?

The programme fee is €5,500.

Bursaries and financial assistance

If you cannot pay the full fee, please do not be deterred from applying. There are a number of bursary places provided on every Common Purpose programme for participants who are genuinely unable - as opposed to unwilling - to meet the full fee. If you feel that you cannot pay the fill in the section on bursary support on the application form. For guidance or information, please contact us.

Everyone who has completed a Common Purpose programme will be offered a 20% reduction on the fee of any future courses they attend. Please notify us in your programme application if you wish to apply for this reduction.

My experience of Common Purpose - Charlie Sheil, The Marker Hotel

Charlie Sheil, General Manager at The Marker Hotel, Dublin, discusses his experience participating in the Common Purpose Dublin Meridian programme in 2016/17.

Kevin Daly, Commercial Delivery Manager, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

"What I really enjoyed was getting unfiltered access to some key leaders across the business, Government and NGO sectors who were brutality honest about their experiences and challenges, but also about their own limitations and how they overcame them."