2 of 9 Leadership – go big or go home

“Leaders who are interested and believe in the PTS show up and make efforts to change their organisation and the system.”

Developing a new culture by listening to the open and honest grassroots experience and using this listening to inform strategy and challenge externally certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted! Leading transformative change is never easy, especially when organisational survival is always a struggle and when so much existing work is tied to rigid contracts and funding commitments.

What was clear across the partnership was that at the heart of everything it takes strong, committed, and brave leaders who are supported by full buy-in from everyone – practitioners through to Trustees. Such leadership needs to be driven autonomously, with the will and passion to take change forward and learning from their own unique experiences as they do so.

Throughout the three years working with the partnership there were changes to leadership, restructures and movements within teams which saw the PTS either remain a strong focus with the people involved, sitting at the core of organisational strategy, or it became more of a ‘side project’ in the case of new leaders being less invested in the PTS principles.

The PTS works best in the hands of passionate enthusiasts, social activists and systems changers that have a burning belief in the principles and a healthy appetite for risk, a commitment to learning uncomfortable lessons, the acceptance that you will not always be popular and the ability to make tough decisions for the greater mission of whole systems change.

Balancing the PTS with old systems and taking everyone on the same journey was a leadership challenge which highlighted that strength-based work is so hard to do within deficit-based structures and systems.