Common Purpose

Meridian is a programme for senior leaders who work with multiple, diverse stakeholders

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.

Meridian develops leaders with the skills, networks and understanding to make an impact in their organization and across their city. The programme uses a real-world experiential approach. We convene leaders from every corner of the city who share open accounts of their leadership challenges. We take participants to places and organizations where they can explore how leaders approach complex change in different contexts. On each programme, we guarantee a diverse mix of leaders from the private, public and NGO sectors.

Christopher White, Finance Director, Darlington Building Society

"As I stepped up from a Senior Management to Board role within my organisation, I took part in the Common Purpose Meridian programme in the North East. It was a fantastic experience. Hearing from inspiring leaders in my region as well as working with a wide variety of individuals at different stages in their leadership journey was interesting, informative and ultimately allowed me to reflect on my own style and approach and how I could adapt it as I took the next step in my career. The ‘leading beyond authority’ message within the programme resonated with me and empowered me to further develop my involvement and influence both within and outside my organisation."

Who is Meridian for?

Leaders operating at a senior level, where they have to deliver complex change with ever more diverse stakeholders—both in their organization and across their city.

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External Stakeholders

Internal Stakeholders



Leading Beyond Authority

Our learning framework: Leading beyond Authority (LBA), underpins the participants’ leadership learning. People who lead beyond their authority can produce change beyond their direct circle of control.

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Learning outcomes

Common Purpose Meridian develops leaders who can deliver complex change beyond their circle of authority.


Become better able to build strong relationships that lead to successful collaborations



Become better able to develop strategies that produce change


Become better able to have an impact in unfamiliar contexts



Become better able to inspire others through your leadership style

Impact: on Individuals
Senior Leaders 

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92% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them gain broader networks 

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90% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them develop as leaders

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89% of senior leaders say our programmes have helped them make better decisions 

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90% of senior leaders say our programmes enable them to drive bold innovation

Jim Taylor, Projects Manager Employability Services, Business and Enterprise North East

"Common Purpose has been a real eye-opener!  What I have been most impressed with is the rich diversity, character and strength of leadership we have to face the challenges in the North East.  The course has helped me to meet people and visit places from sectors I would never have known."

The programme

Online learning and group exercises

(One hour)

Our online accelerator allows time-poor participants to maximize their face-to-face experience at their own time and pace. The accelerator introduces participants to the Leading Beyond Authority learning framework, which will underpin the learning throughout the programme.

Month 1 Month 2 Month 3
Leading Beyond Authority Collaboration Leading change
Immersion 1 Immersion 2 Immersion 3
Learning Group 1 Learning Group 2 Learning Group 3

(Equivalent of five days over three months)

Three full-day modules allow participants to explore leadership themes as part of a diverse, cross-sector group. We convene senior leaders from across the city to share open accounts of their own leadership challenges and the ways they overcame them.

Half-day immersion experiences allow participants to experience leadership and decision-making in different contexts. Common Purpose facilitates immersion experiences in a range of different places including prisons, hospitals, schools, businesses and community organizations. Participants attend two immersion experiences from a choice of three.

Learning groups enable participants to deepen their learning as part of a small but diverse group. Each month, a different participant hosts a three-hour learning group at their workplace. Here they work on their own leadership challenges.

Online: Adapting to a new environment

Practices are short tasks or challenges to complete in between the face-to-face elements of the programme. Practices allow participants to extend their learning and gain further leadership insights during the programme.

360 Connect events  360 Platform

Participants connect with other Common Purpose Alumni through our online 360 platform and at 360 Connect events. As Alumni, they can continue their learning in a community of over 75,000 leaders worldwide.

Programme details


£4590 + VAT. Multiple applications are welcomed. Part-fee and bursary places are also available for those genuinely unable to meet the full fee. If you feel that you cannot pay the fee, fill in the section on bursary support on the application form. 

Who participates?

Participants come from diverse backgrounds and sectors, such as:

  • British Airways
  • Nissan
  • The Sage Gateshead
  • North East England Chamber of Commerce
  • Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
  • Durham University



Newcastle Meridian April 2019

Core Day 1: 03 April 2019
Immersion 1: 25 April 2019

Core Day 2: 08 May 2019
Immersion 2: 22 May 2019

Immersion 3: 06 June 2019
Core Day 3: 20 June 2019

Newcastle Meridian October 2019

Core Day 1: 01 October 2019
Immersion 1: 15 October 2019

Core Day 2: 24 October 2019
Immersion 2: 12 November 2019

Immersion 3: 26 November 2019
Core Day 3: 05 December 2019 

Applying for Meridian

Please fill in the online application form, choosing the date and location you want. 

If you have any questions on how to apply, or want to find out more about Meridian, please contact

Sarah Salter, Group HR Director, Northumbrian Water

"When I moved to the North East to take up my role of HR Director at Northumbrian Water in 2011, I found the Common Purpose Meridian programme a ‘fast-track’ way of finding out about the region – what’s important, who is who and how things tick. It also gave me the opportunity to find space to reflect on my new job, and how to take things forward. Since then I’ve taken on the role of Learning Group Guide to a range of fabulous leaders over the last six years, and it’s been a real privilege to be able to support individuals through this excellent process as the Meridian programme progresses."