Major Journeys need Navigators

Effective Leaders undertake perpetual journeys of self discovery

About Bill Mather

Not many people wake up one morning and say  ‘I’m going to be a social reformer’.

Careers advice on leaving school pointed me towards becoming an apprentice in Chatham Naval Dockyard. Instead I became a computer programmer and accountant. Sometime later I became disenchanted and demotivated working in large private sector organisations, resigned and became a full time volunteer in Liverpool before working for the social services department.


I had at last started to discover myself and my true vocational aspirations.


I am passionate about social justice and the leadership it requires from those in governments, public services, social movements, civil society organisations and businesses. From the Liverpool turning point onwards, I have been a Cause Leader focused on aspects of social justice. It has involved learning how to be a leader on the job because much of the available leadership training and publications is irrelevant because of the preoccupations with corporate CEO type roles where personal career advancement is the goal.



My positions have not been a straight forward career pathway

but that isn’t unusual for Cause Leaders:


My journey of self-discovery to become an effective leader contributing to social progress convinced me that leadership of causes needed to be considered in a quite different manner to the normal theories or the narrow focus on style. Over the years I have added to my experiences an accumulating body of knowledge in an eclectic range of disciplines that seem to me to be central to successful Cause Leadership, whatever the cause – trust, social capital, cultural diversity, belief systems about rights and wrongs, motivations, universal values, traditional norms and organisational cultures. The resulting Sphere of LeadershipTM has become my core tool for work on causes and with leaders. Although social justice has been my life’s theme, this leadership model applies to those pursuing causes across the spectrum including for the environment, wild life, humanitarian aid and corporate responsibilities.


  • Community development worker
  • Social development officer
  • Social enterprise director
  • Charity chief executive
  • Third Sector consultant
  • Health care non-executive director




  • Advisor to governments and civil society organisations
  • Co-founder and Managing Director of SocialPioneers
  • Managing Director of Vice Versa Projects Ltd
  • Author of the Leadership Navigation Guide Series for Cause Leader.

My Organisations

SocialPioneers is an international social transformation agency founded in 2009 and based in the UK.

We offer a multi-disciplinary resource of highly experienced professionals who have deep practical knowledge about how systems work,

many of whom have held the most senior positions in their fields.

Our teams provide expert consultancy, training, mentoring and coaching.


We work on national agendas across governments, reforms of specific public systems and institutions,

transformations of civil society organisations

and, at city and local government levels, on integrated social and economic developments. In each assignment,

we work alongside the national and local leaders, both current and next generation,

to build their capabilities to transform public services, public governance and civil society.


Vice Versa Projects Ltd (V.V.P.) is a change leadership organisation dedicated to sustainable social change through win-win solutions

that integrate public service reform, social regeneration and corporate social responsibility.


V.V.P.’s mission, since its inception in 2003, has three components:


  1. To develop strategic and operational models and tools to help leaders maximise social value creation
  2. To provide training, publications and learning events for leaders of social change to realise their own and their team’s potential
  3. To design innovative and replicable solutions that meet immediate and longer term social challenges.


V.V.P. is the publisher of the Leadership Navigation Guide Series for Cause Leaders


My Publications

The Quadrants of Influence

Navigating The Sphere of LeadershipTM

If contributing to social progress is one of your goals, this guide is essential reading. It provides a compass for navigating your leadership potential and effectiveness: the forms, functions and dynamics of leadership from the special perspective of being an agent of social change.




Navigating with Followers

Creating support for social change requires broad based, strong, value grounded relationships that are more demanding than standard leader follower connections. Cause Leaders navigate relationships to generate and mobilise active enthusiasts in a competitive environment for causes and followings.


The Leadership Identikit

Navigating  with Leaders

Social progress is seldom achieved as a solo project with one movement of followers, but is negotiated with leaders of the status quo and those with synergies and contributions to offer in transforming the environment. Navigating the currents of leadership power is the subject of this guide.


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