Dr Sue Goss

I work with local government, health and social care, neighbourhoods and community organisations to make services more creative and responsive. During 30 years of this work, I have learnt that change is emergent, messy and playful. Listening, exploring, encouraging leadership from everyone and building relationships achieves change where control, restructuring and measurement fails. I‘m excited by the energy released when managers and staff bring their whole human ingenuity to work, and act guided by their love and care and common-sense.

Much of my work is in complex systems, facilitating coalitions and partnerships. I’m keen to work alongside people throughout a system to understand problems, challenge assumptions and find solutions.  I facilitate several ‘whole system’ leadership groups – informal settings where chief executives come together to have the difficult conversations that break them out of ‘going round in circles’.

My practice includes a lot of coaching senior managers and politicians. These roles are challenging and exhausting and having someone alongside for the journey can help you reflect, challenge and forgive yourself, and marshal your resources.

I coach senior management teams and design and deliver leadership development alongside leadership centre colleagues. I offer OD support to organisations learning to connect to communities and citizens, and work with neighbourhood networks.  Currently I’m exploring how local government and emerging mutual aid organisations can work together to build resilient communities.

I design and facilitate whole system events, simulations and future scenarios. I write to share learning when I can: see, for example,  “A View from the Bridge” OPM 2015 (about leading  in complex systems); Open Tribe,Lawrence and Wishart, 2014 (about moving from defensive tribalism to open, generous and curious ways of working); or Making Local Governance Work, Palgrave 2011 (about a partnership approach to local governance).

An example of recent work: I have been working with a coalition of Islington Council, the Whittington hospital, CCG and community organisations keen to collaborate at neighbourhood level. At first this meant working with senior system leaders to build shared purpose – creating a safe space for front line staff to experiment. Then it moved on to facilitating workshops of front-line managers in North Islington – exploring the obstacles, building maps of the patch, holding walk-about meetings and drop-ins – beginning to solve problems together. Then it shifted to coaching and supporting local leaders who will sustain the work into the future.


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