Shaping Places through Leadership

This resource is designed to support local transformation conversations

What would happen in a place, if all those ‘influencers‘ worked together? If they combined their gifts, passion and resources for a single purpose, to see their place flourish and reach its full potential.

Within any place or locality, the culture is shaped by the key influencers, the “movers and shakers” as they are sometimes referred to. These “movers and shakers” are those who are identified as the people (or groups of people) that make things happen. These ‘influencers‘, for better or for worse, lead and shape a place. They may often share agendas, and sometimes they may not; either way, they will push a place in a certain direction, and they will most certainly set the narrative of a place.

The Leadership Quarters

It’s a fact that everything rises or falls on leadership. Whether in a small organisation, or an entire city, leadership sets the culture. Get leadership right and everything else follows. If we are to have the biggest impact in our place, we need to ensure that we focus on the areas where the shape of our place is being formed, and the narrative is being written. Church, Commercial, Civic, and Community; each of these leadership quarters contributes to influencing people and places.


This group includes those who are part of the Christian church, including those who are involved in any form of Christian ministry or Christian charity. It can include church ministers, church officials, heads of Christian ministry or anyone who works or volunteers within the Christian church.


This group includes those who are involved in any form of business, or profit making corporation. It can include business owners as well as business directors, business managers, commercial networks, small business owners, entrepreneurs etc.


This group includes those who are involved in the statutory governance of a place. It can include elected officers, politicians, law enforcement and councillors, as well those who are employed by the local authority or work within other statutory bodies.


This group includes those who work and volunteer within the local community. It can include residents groups, heads of charities, health boards, social enterprises, councils for voluntary services, community action groups, non-Christian faith group leaders, leaders of societies or pressure groups etc.

Each of the leadership quarters has influence over a particular group of people, and is responsible for creating the narrative for that group. Some people groups may overlap across the quarters, but all will operate out of places. There has been much written on the power of leadership to influence, motivate, provide direction and implement plans. Good leaders generally have the influence to transform positively; the ‘groups’ ultimately will take on the shape of those who lead them.

The lens through which we view a place is crucial to transformation. The leadership quarters within a place, are the gateways to influence and the keys to strategic and sustainable change. If we are to have the biggest impact in our place, we need to ensure that we focus on the areas where the shape of our place is being formed, and the narrative is being written. Developing a portfolio of activities that grow leaders in these quarters and connect leaders in these quarters, is the key to influence.

All the individuals within a group have a place where they live, work and operate out of. This is their place. We are referring here to specific geographical spaces, a locality or region. All places have boundaries, and these are usually defined by the people in a place, and those who lead them. Whatever you may call your ‘place’ (a hamlet, village, town, city or borough), it defines to a certain extent your view of where you are. It sets up the lens by which you see your place, and it creates the boundaries of where you think your place might go in the future.

3 questions to help get your started:

  • Are you able to name the key leaders in each of the quarters within your place?
    If not, how would start to identify the key influencers?
  • Are there any established boundaries being used already in your place?
    How could you use these place boundaries to identify specific groups of people?
  • What portfolio of activities would grow and connect leaders in each of the quarters?
    How and where would you deliver these activities?

This content has been produced to support the ongoing work of transformation, as it is outworked in the context of Christian unity in a place. In short, it examines the benefit of looking at the transformation of a place through the lens of leadership, and in particular, influential leadership. It is by no means complete, but is intended to act as a contribution to the local journey.

Ian & Alyson offer a range of support for established, and emerging leaders, please contact us to find out more.