Leading Systemic Change

Leading Systemic Change – Scale & Complexity is a vital change leadership programme commissioned by Clore Leadership as a direct response to the volatile circumstances faced by cultural leaders emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Cultural leaders today face an acute challenge – that of navigating an increasingly complex and uncertain world. Undeliverable expectations and relentless demands place significant constraints on decision-making and critical thinking. Yet the need for clear leadership remains acute. The imperative to envision an inspiring future, build effective teams, create positive working cultures and show credible ways forward, remains top of the agenda.

Our Leading Systemic Change – Scale & Complexity course is a new pilot led by Vyla L Rollins and Kathryn Gordon which:  

  • draws on our 18 years of leadership learning to conceive this new programme;
  • targets senior/experienced leaders of mid/large-scale cultural organisations, who are seeking to steer their organisations against the backdrop of constant change;
  • brings together a broad cohort of sector leaders, working at similar levels, but facing the dynamic array of challenges across the arts, museums, heritage and wider cultural industries.

Each participant will bring a live change challenge that they are currently wrestling with / about to start, and be ready to address this with the support of a peer group network. Connecting and collaborating provides the valuable opportunity for collective experimentation, co-created exploration and cross-sector solution finding, which is critical for cultural, civic and societal impact.

Key Dates and Venues
  • Module 1: 15th July 2022 - Half-day: 9 – 12:30, Online via Zoom
  • Module 2: 4th – 6th October 2022 - Face-to-face residential (including accommodations and meals), Norton Park nr Winchester
  • Module 3: Autumn 2022 - Self-directed case studies & collaborative learning
  • Module 4: 11th - 12th January 2023 - Full-day: Face-to-face in London (venue tbc)
Change Philosophy and Approach 

There are two different types of change challenges that exist in systems - technical and adaptive. Technical challenges are those that can be solved by the knowledge of experts, whereas adaptive challenges are complex and ambiguous in nature, and may be volatile or unpredictable. Solutions to this type of challenge usually require people to learn new ways of doing things, change their attitudes, values and norms and adopt an experimental mind-set. According to Ronald Heifetz (Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government ), the single biggest failure in the exercise of leadership is to treat adaptive challenges like technical problems, and therefore to apply technical solutions. 

Three core principles underlie our approach.  21st Century change: 

  • necessitates iterating forwards,
  • involves the consideration of whole systems, and
  • requires ‘high contact methods’ to create participatory co-design of processes.

The programme will have a cohort of 20-24 people.  A coaching style is a core skill for change leadership, and so peer consultations and coaching will form a key activity within the programme. Acknowledging the benefit of shared approaches, we would particularly welcome pairs of leaders from the same organisation, co-working to develop and embed this systemic approach.

Key Outcomes of the Programme

Leading Systemic Change – Scale & Complexity will enable leaders to build their capacity to face into adaptive challenges and offer key learning, tools and perspectives to reduce the overwhelm of the current environment.   

We will provide a secure framework to build and apply change theories, and offer multiple opportunities to practice their application.

Participants will become:

  • more confident and skilled to engage with change as part and parcel of leading their organisations;
  • more empowered to choose and operationalise approaches confidently, and with agility;
  • part of an inspiring and resourceful peer network with a collective understanding, creative empathy and practical support borne of shared experiences.   
Course Leaders

The programme is commissioned by Clore Leadership and devised and led by highly respected and experienced change management leaders Vyla L. Rollins, Strategic Organisational Effectiveness Practitioner and Executive Coach; and Kathryn Gordon, Executive Coach, Organisational Change Practitioner and Coach & O/D Supervisor.


Leading Systemic Change – Scale & Complexity consists of 4.5 days of tutored learning; a 3-day residential, which includes accommodation and all meals; as well as ample opportunities for practice and peer-supported learning and development.

Full Programme fee:

  • £3,995 + VAT per person
  • £4,995 + VAT for 2 persons from the same organisation working collectively

A limited number of subsidised places are available for applicants facing financial challenge.  Please outline why you wish to apply for a subidised place in your application. 

Subsidised Places:   

  • £2,995 + VAT per person 
  • £3,995 + VAT for 2 persons from the same organisation working collectively

We anticipate a strong demand for these limited places.  To secure a place, please complete the short application form by noon on Friday 10th June 2022. If you need to submit this application in an alternative format please let us know.


Our course venues have been access audited and we are able to share details with you to help prepare for attendance on the course.

We take an individual approach to supporting the access needs of those attending our courses and any support you might need will be discussed with you prior to the course. As examples the support provided might include supporting the attendance of a PA, providing a notetaker, captioners or sign language interpreters or support with the costs of childcare.


Clore Leadership will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in the period up to the course dates.  Our residential planning incorporates the latest Government guidance as well as consideration of how best to ensure a safe and inclusive learning space for our cohorts and staff team. Your health wellbeing and quality of experience while on your residential is paramount to us. Full details of the Covid safe guidelines in place for the residential will be provided to you in advance of your residential. 

You cannot predict change outcomes, but you can plan and attend to processes to enable and facilitate change…