Leading GM…the next phase


I have been overwhelmed by the response to my last blog, “My First Eight Months…Reflections from Leading GM”. People have contacted me from far and wide to share how my thoughts have resonated with their own work and lives. I’ve made new connections and pleased to say that 5 months on my blog is still relevant and doing its rounds!  I value that people have taken the time to read it and share their thoughts with me…it’s testimony to the unique approach we’re taking in Greater Manchester to fulfil our vision of being one of the best places to live, work and grow old in the world.

For GM by GM

Our Leading GM programme, much like Greater Manchester, is going through an exciting time of transformation. As the region continues to change, so do the challenges we face, therefore so must our ways of working. This is why Leading GM was created, to build a diverse community of leaders and to help equip Greater Manchester with the skills to lead the transformation of our region. It’s a programme which is “For the people of GM, designed by the people of GM”.

Since October 2016 and through our first two successful programmes, we have worked with 200 leaders from across the 10 localities in Greater Manchester. We have delivered a range of bespoke workshops and events designed to develop a strong community of capable and resilient leaders, who can engage with local people to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. Alongside this we have run additional activities for another 500+ participants.

Significant changes

Ahead of our next cohort, we have adapted the Leading GM programme in several ways, learning from what has gone before and building on our successes. This is all in service of designing a true place-based leadership development programme. Fundamentally it’s essential we model the change which we’re looking to bring about and this means taking a place-based approach in how we work with our leaders.

People and Place

The biggest change since cohort two has been the co-design of a revised delivery model for the Leading GM programme. Place-based working will be the golden thread that runs throughout the next cohort. As we know, considerable leadership development takes place within organisations and professions, we want to focus on what these have in common; People and Place.

We have also learnt that any new approaches should be co-designed and tested by participants. Throughout our re-design we have tried out new concepts with our two Place Based Challenge test sites in Oldham and Bolton, ensuring that future programmes are the best they can possibly be.

In 2018/19 we will run one 12-month Leading GM place-based leadership development programme for around 200 participants and support the development of many other leaders in each locality through their involvement with the Place Based Challenges.

Leading GM Expectations

We are also currently reviewing our nine expectations, which were developed at the beginning of our programme in 2016 and have formed the cornerstone of the Leading GM offer, along with my own journey in this role. We are currently speaking to a diverse range of citizens and leaders to ask what their opinions are about the existing expectations. There are some key principles emerging that will build on the current expectations and help ensure that the programme is relevant moving forward, which we will share shortly.


Through discussions with a wide range of people, we have made the decision to identify locality co-ordinators as the people who will co-ordinate the nominations for the next Leading GM programme. Their role will include identifying a Place Based Challenge with the relevant Locality Public Sector Reform Board (in line with local priorities) and make programme nominations which are linked to that challenge, working closely with service, workforce and OD leads within the locality.

Insights and Principles for Success

Over recent months I’ve come to realise that the following principles are key to the continued success of the Leading GM offer and in my role: 

  • Encourage a change of heart…real change happens when there is a change of heart in the individual and in enough people to generate a greater movement, a shift in values, the willingness to cooperate and to work for something important for the mutual benefit of everyone. Change must be bottom up and not top down.
  • Create a sense of community…where members can feel secure, nurtured and have a shared sense of value. In strong communities there is always someone doing something amazing, which inspires others to do and achieve more. We are social animals and being part of a community is sociable and fun!
  • Share why you do what you do…understand how your higher purpose and values links to your role as a leader. Share your personal narrative with others and discover shared purpose. Share your intent with others as sometimes our actions can be misinterpreted.
  • Get to the heart of the matter…don’t just treat the symptoms but find the root cause of issues and problems before making any decisions and work with it.
  • Think differently and challenge the status quo…once you identify what you want to challenge and shift, be willing to be part of the challenge and share why. Be brave and persistent.
  • Embrace diversity…consciously embrace the diversity of our people and appreciate the richness of difference that exists across our region. Truly recognise and work with the strengths of others.

I encourage you to think about these areas in your own life and work and when supporting transformation across our region to make a real difference to people and places. I’m wholeheartedly embracing the next phase of the Leading GM journey and continue to be passionate about supporting leaders to be the best they can be to support positive change across our region.

Rita Evans

Leading GM Programme Director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *