As the world watched another history-book-in-the-making day unfold in 2016 and world leaders respond to a new American President I facilitated a lunchtime session with a range of interesting people in Bristol to discuss ‘How can organizations embrace adaptation and go on to thrive?’

Discussions were centered around the ability to be resilient to constant change, how to succession plan for future leaders and when organizations or people ‘retreat’ into a protective bubble.

I’ve been reflecting on what organizations like Common Purpose do to help leaders to navigate and effect change. After all, we are a global leadership development organisation that prides itself on our ability to remain impartial to party politics. We have a long history of bringing together a range of people who can cross-boundaries in order to effect positive change in their cities and communities.

In Bristol recently we have been working in partnership with civic and organizational leaders, to help them tackle complex and challenging issues such as:

'How do we address the needs of repeat and frequent users focusing on those affected by mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency?’
'How can we engage the public in shaping the future of the Health and Social care system?'
'Why do we need a Bristol Manifesto for Race Equality?'
'How can we ensure that organizations providing early intervention to children and young people have the capacity to respond to increased demand?'

During these sessions real solutions often emerge to these systemic challenges or at the very least a seed of an idea that then takes off into something much bigger. Our ability to get a diverse group of people in a room and engage them in such a way that sparks innovation and new ways of thinking to cut across boundaries is often cited as unique and refreshing - in a world that can so often be victim to silo-based working.

As myself and the team plan for activities next year, the leaders that I come into contact with in my role continue to lead beyond their authority, to move into the civic space and be committed to effect change, and it is how they respond to it; that is important.

I'm excited about our plans for 2017 and I've got a request for our city's civic leaders (at any level): Can you share what you think the big systemic challenges are that the region is currently facing?