International leadership experts Common Purpose have responded to calls from employees who believe investment in leadership has a positive impact on productivity, by offering substantial discounts and some bursary places to small businesses in the region.

The Birmingham and Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s Boosting Productivity Through Leadership & People Management Skills report found that 98% of respondents believed that investment in leadership and people management skills have a positive impact on productivity at an organisation level.  But almost a third of respondents believed their organisation did not have a clear strategy and 41% believed lack of staff time was a barrier to increasing investment in these areas.

In response, Common Purpose has offered discounts and some bursary places on their Midlands Meridian leadership programme for small businesses to encourage them to develop their leadership skills.  Over 90% of senior leaders who took part in the programme said it helped them develop as leaders, drive bold innovation and gain broader networks.  Meridian, an intensive programme for time-poor senior leaders, packs in experiential sessions and mastermind groups, which use peer-to-peer mentoring to help solve problems with input from other group members.  As well as the three-month programme, which includes online and face-to-face elements allowing participants to learn from a diverse range of peers, attendees also unlock lifetime benefits with invites to free, regular events and opportunities. In terms of value for time, 92% of attendees said the Midlands Meridian was very good or excellent use of time.  

Mindful of the reports calls for stakeholders to recognise that small and medium businesses (SMEs) make up the majority of businesses in the region, and the importance of established business networks, Common Purpose is also offering discounted places for Birmingham Chamber members on their programme.

Louise Teboul, operations director for Common Purpose UK said; “For nearly 30 years Common Purpose has been developing leaders, and we know from feedback from our participants that they have found the programme effective in developing leadership skills but also in expanding networks.  It is great to see this the Chamber’s report acknowledging the impact of improved investment in leadership and its positive impact on productivity – and the value of broad networks.

“I was delighted to be involved in the “Growth Through People Campaign” and this is our way of continuing to give back to support leadership in the city and the region. As a small  organisation ourselves, we know that time and budgets are tight which is why we’ve committed to supporting SMEs, particularly as we know they often don’t have dedicated resources to invest.  Our programmes are focused on cross-boundary leadership and we are keen to support businesses who are looking to expand theirs.”

Mark Tonks, director, Orange and Blue Action said: “Having participated in the Meridian programme, the hard cold financial return-on-investment terms means my investment was repaid within four months.”

Recent alumni from the senior leaders programme include graduates from local organisations such as Ark Media, Trowers & Hamlins and Spectra First as well as well-known names like Transport for West Midlands, Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre and Edgbaston Stadium.