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Unlocking the Creative Leader

Senior leaders are responsible for shaping and driving the narrative of their institution, across and beyond their institution’s boundaries. Setting the vision, creating compelling strategies and communicating with stakeholders are essential to leading a successful and inspirational organisation.

Unlocking the Creative Leader is an intensive three-day programme that explores how to lead with conviction, clarity and creativity. Reflection and practical techniques are used to create sustainable and useful outputs that participants use. There will also be the opportunity to build peer networks with colleagues.

The programme takes place over three days in countryside settings chosen to inspire you. Our final cohort of 2019 will take place at Barberstown Castle just outside Dublin in May.


You’ll gain a clear understanding of your leadership and how to convey this when you communicate about institutional strategy, vision and mission. Using a wide variety of approaches, the programme facilitators will encourage you to experiment with fresh and creative perspectives through which to express your ‘leadership signature’. As a result, you will achieve greater buy-in by being authentic to yourself and clear to your audiences.

The programme will challenge and support you to:

  • Be successful in influencing and inspiring others in your institution
  • Lead through creating and communicating a shared strategic narrative for your institution and its distinctive role in the Higher Education sector
  • Learn and practise how to motivate colleagues and external audiences through clear and authentic written and spoken communications
  • Co-create an open culture in which to work on during the programme, alongside peers from other institutions

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Your programme experience

Unlocking the Creative Leader uses leadership and communication techniques to challenge assumptions about the way leadership can be practised, and to encourage you to discover a distinctive voice to communicate your leadership.

With your two facilitators, you’ll work through a sequence of group tasks and individual writing activities designed to help you to define and project your identity as a leader.

You will then work on creating approaches to communicating your leadership signature across and beyond your institution, and practise using these approaches in a supportive, confidential environment.

Our outline programme structure covers:

Day 1

  • Establishing the working climate
  • Exploring the narrative challenges for your leadership
  • Introduction to creative action learning: generating micro-stories

Day 2

  • Deepening our individual and collective sense of leadership identity
  • Your organisation’s strategy: converted and translated into different genres
  • Writing a narrative of the organisation’s future journey

Day 3

  • Using scenarios to map a future for your areas of leadership responsibility
  • Creative action learning: the story of impact of your leadership on your organisation, and how you can strengthen it
  • Writing authentic leadership blogs

This programme will rely on devoting attention and feedback to each individual participant on their own work on writing and communication.

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Terms and Conditions
We will work with you to ensure that you and your colleagues enjoy every aspect of what makes Invisible Grail special – before, during and after the programmes themselves. Click here for our full terms and conditions.

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Programme Directors

Paul Gentle

Dr Paul Gentle, Academic Director

A leadership expert, Paul has dedicated the last ten years to creating and delivering leadership development programmes in higher education. Read Paul’s full profile.

John Simmons, Director and Programme Facilitator

Through his books and consultancy, John is widely considered the leading exponent of more expressive words as an essential element of communication for brands and organisations. Read John’s full profile.

Jamie Jauncey, Director and Programme Facilitator

Jamie Jauncey has spent several decades helping organisations and individuals to find their voices and tell their stories. Read Jamie’s full profile.

Stuart Delves photo

Stuart Delves, Director and Programme Facilitator

Stuart Delves co-founded Dark Angels in 2004 – a decade on, into ‘the daring night’ with Invisible Grail. Read Stuart’s full profile.

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Location and venue

Barberstown Castle

Barberstown Castle

Dating from the 13th century, Barberstown Castle is set in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East. Originally built as a fortress, the castle was extended in both the Elizabethan and Victorian era, whilst retaining the old Battlement. Now a 4* hotel, the Castle has been sympathetically updated whilst keeping its old historical charm: you’ll find crackling fires, ivy-clad walls and the odd suit of armour. The Castle is just 25 minutes from Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport by car, and is close to the M4, M7, M11 and 10 minutes from the M50.

A: Barberstown Castle, Straffan, Co Kildare. Ireland


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What do they say?

Enquire or reserve a place on Unlocking the Creative Leader

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Our Open Programmes