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How do we know if leadership programs are making a difference?










This is a question that people who fund and implement leadership development strategies grapple with, and there are no easy answers. Afterall, it’s tricky to isolate the leadership supports as the thing that made a difference when there are so many other things happening in people’s lives, and in the world. Still, for all of the time and resources we invest in developing leadership as a critical strategy for advancing equity and justice, we want to know that this is a good investment, and that we are doing our best.


We wanted to share with you one way that LLC tackles this thorny issue, and it’s a simple story. As background to the story, we are going to share when we were invited by the Missouri Foundation for Health to evaluate their inaugural Health Leadership Fellows Program, a program with the explicit goal of increasing collaboration to improve health outcomes in the state. We wanted to get a broad picture of the experience of the participating fellows, and for that we did a couple of things: a survey designed to help us understand the impact of the program on individual and organizational behavior; and the ways in which the different elements, and the program as a whole, supported those behavioral changes. We also conducted a social network analysis, a survey tool that enables you to create visual representations of the relationships between people to measure new relationships formed, and the collaborations that were formed. From the collaborations, we identified one collaboration for a deep dive. 


By going deep into the experience of a group of fellows who integrated a Trauma Informed Care Approach within a local school district, we were able to get a better picture of the immediate and potential impact of the project, and the ways in which the program participants felt their leadership program contributed to their on the ground success. We loved hanging out with the fellows. Team Lego, and we invite you to read their story