Common Purpose

Meridian is a city-based leadership programme for senior leaders.


On a Meridian (called 'Matrix' in Germany) programme, you will gain new insights into real-life leadership issues.

Meridian is not classroom-based. It takes place in the real world - through a series of learning modules hosted in contrasting spaces and organizations within a city. You will learn from the successes and failures of leaders in different sectors. We may send you to examine the challenges within a hospital, experience the inner workings of a prison system, or discover the leadership demands within a production plant.

Because we go beyond standard leadership learning models, you develop an understanding of how your city really works. You gain new perspectives. You become a more informed decision-maker and a more effective leader at work and in wider society. By the end of your programme you will have developed a better understanding of why, when and how you lead.

Paul Ogburn, Retail Director, Tate Enterprises

“The programme has had a profound impact on me, far greater than any classroom training environment I have experienced. I built confidence and self belief in my leadership by learning from the experiences of others, and created new opportunities through broader, deeper networking – Common Purpose Meridian gave me this.”

Who is it for?

Meridian is aimed at people who hold established leadership roles.

Meridian is best suited for leaders who wish to:

  • collaborate across locations,departments and organizations
  • understand complex change at work or in the community
  • develop relationships with multiple stakeholders
  • lead diverse teams both within and outside their usual professional environment.

Why Meridian?

On the programme you will:

  • develop self awareness and confidence to meet the challenges of leadership
  • learn to take responsibility for problems and issues outside your direct control
  • increase your 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.

The programme

Core days

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


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.

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.

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.

A day immersed in the economic, political and social context of another city.

You complete the Meridian programme over a period of months. The Matrix programme structure may vary. For more information, please visit your local Common Purpose website.

Application process

Meridian is run in cities across the world. For information on costs and how to apply, please contact your local Common Purpose office, or use our interactive programme finder to be directed to the appropriate programme application page.

Advisory Groups

Advisory Groups are a cross-sector group of individuals who help our staff teams by keeping them up to date with developments in their sector and locality.

Local Advisory Groups have no legal, financial, or managerial responsibility for Common Purpose. Nor are they representative bodies. All Advisory Group members attend as individuals in a voluntary and unpaid capacity, which they are invited to take on in their personal, rather than professional, roles. If any issue arises at Advisory Group meetings which conflicts with their professional role, members exclude themselves from that section of the discussion.

Advisory Groups do the following:

  • Encourage people from all backgrounds and sectors to apply to attend our leadership courses, so that all the participant groups are diverse and reflect the makeup of the local area. In so doing local Advisory Groups often assist in the review of applications.
  • Ensure Common Purpose maintains its independence and balanced programme content and contributors.
  • Ensure the content of the programme is up-to-date with what is going on locally and nationally.
  • Ensure that the Common Purpose brand is used appropriately.

Applying for a Common Purpose programme

When you apply for a Common Purpose programme, you need to consider:

  • Whether the programme that you are applying for is right for you, because our programmes are for people at specific stages of their careers
  • Your commitment to participate in the whole programme. This is because if some people are unable to attend, this diminishes the experience for other members of the participant group.

Once you've submitted your application form, we will review it along with our Advisory Group who will also take these points into account.

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. Meridian is run in cities across the world;for information on costs and how to apply, please visit your local Common Purpose website.