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How to lead an ICS when you are not in charge? Getting to common purpose, narrative and commitment


Come and join us on a new systems leadership programme, designed to help you navigate your way through an Integrated Care System, build trust, work across boundaries and effect change. 


The sessions are particularly aimed at people across the East of England working in transformation, organisation development and leadership development. The aim is to enable you to make sense of what you’re experiencing, provide practical tools and techniques for working in complex, messy environments that you can take away and try out, and provide a space for you to apply the approaches to real-time issues, so that you can work towards a common purpose, common narrative and common language, and help others to do likewise. 


Systems leadership is designed to help in exactly these kinds of situations – where you’re not in charge, or where you don’t have positional power, levers to pull, or a large budget to wield.  It can help in getting messages across and in influencing other people, especially in hierarchies, or where people don’t usually agree with you, or in political environments, or where people are trying to bring traditional silos together and work in new ways.  


Over four sessions, we’ll cover what systems leadership is and how it works; what you can do; traps to avoid; and tools and techniques that we know work in these situations.  The aim will be for you to find allies, get some room for manoeuvre and tip the scales in your favour, so that you can do real work on the things that matter to you, and make real progress. 


The sessions will be designed and delivered by Debbie Sorkin, National Director of Systems Leadership at the Leadership Centre (www.leadershipcentre.org.uk), who has extensive experience in supporting people at all levels to develop their leadership capacity within ICSs. 


To get the most from this offer we recommend you attend all sessions if possible.  Places are limited to a cohort of 50.  The sessions will be delivered virtually by Zoom and will last 2 hours 30 minutes.    



Session 1 – Thursday 26th January 9.30 – 12.00pm   

Session 2 – Monday 27th February 9.30 – 12.00pm 

Session 3 – Thursday 23rd March 9.30 – 12.00pm  

Session 4  -Monday  24th April      9.30-12.00pm


Session details: 

Session 1: Common understanding and common purpose 

  • Overview of programme and content 
  • Getting to know each other as a group 
  • Developing common understanding: working in complexity and systems leadership  
  • Applying the learning: getting to common purpose as a group  
  • For next time: who’s in our system and who do we want to influence? Rich pictures  
  • Actions and next steps (participants to draw a Rich Picture and be ready to share it in Session 2) 


Session 2: Who’s in our system? Starting to think about common narratives 

  • Recap on ideas in session 1, and feedback from participants 
  • Introduction to peer coaching and reflective practice: questions that help, ‘gold and green’ approach (i.e. ‘this worked well/it would be even better if’) 
  • Trying out peer coaching and reflective practice in groups of three, based on what’s happened since last time 
  • Sharing our Rich Pictures 
  • Who’s in our system and who do we want to prioritise? Stakeholder and Actor Mapping  
  • Group work: getting specific about our stakeholders  
  • Actions and next steps (participants to complete a Stakeholder or Actor Map and identify priorities)  


Session 3: How do we want to influence? More about common narratives 

  • Recap on ideas in sessions 1 and 2, and feedback from participants 
  • Reminder about peer coaching and reflective practice 
  • Peer coaching and reflective practice in groups of three, based on what’s happened since last time  
  • Framing and reframing: shifting people’s perspectives 
  • Group work: what are the frames in play for us? How do we want to be seen? What are the frames/narratives in play and what are the commonalities/ differences? What are we noticing? 
  • Introduction to public narrative: influencing others to join with you in action 
  • Actions and next steps (participants to complete the first draft of a ‘Story of Self’ for next time) 


Session 4: What are our stories: public narratives and common narratives 

  • Recap on ideas in sessions 1-3, and feedback from participants  
  • Recap on peer coaching: coaching in groups, based on what’s happened since last time 
  • Using public narrative:  what are our narratives? Exploring and sharing stories of self, in pairs and in plenary, for our issues 
  • Building stories of self, us and now for different audiences 
  • Summarising: bringing everything together 
  • What’s resonated for us? What have we done and what have we learned? Reflecting on experience and celebrating impact, in groups and in plenary 
  • What are we going to do next? Commitments to practical next steps 


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  • You will need a webcam and a headset to fully participate.
    • The computer will need to have the sound function on so you can hear and speak at the webinar.
    • You will need to be connected to the internet for the duration of the webinar.
    • We will send an email with details of instructions for the day to all participants, prior to the date.
    • Please note: this webinar may be recorded.

Questions about this event?

Organiser : Leadership and Lifelong Learning Team

Email: [email protected]

Online Booking Form

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*Please add this event to your calendar.
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*You will receive an email from [email protected] containing the joining instructions 7-14 days before the session and then again 1-2 days before.
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Waiting List

Please complete the questionnaire. You might receive a "ticket" confirming your booking on the waiting list. If a space becomes available, you will receive an email from [email protected] containing joining instructions before the session.

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