Generating ideas, connections, and action

Deborah Meehan's blog

A New Leadership Development Mindset: Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight

New Collective Leadership Mindset


Over three years ago, LLC published an important thought piece, “A New Leadership Mindset.”  In the article, we point out that most of our thinking about leadership has focused almost exclusively on leadership as the behavior on an individual influencing others.  We believe that our culture of individualism has permeated our leadership thinking causing us to look for and elevate the role of individuals in the change process missing another important dimension of leadership, i.e. leadership as the process by which many people align their efforts to take collective action on behalf of a common purpose.  We don’t negate the role of individuals in the leadership process; in fact, we believe that even more is required of individuals to take successful action with others. read more »

LLC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Stacy Kono, Rockwood Leadership Institute

LLC Member Spotlight: Stacy Kono, Rockwood Leadership Institute


We are excited this month to be highlighting our partnership work with Rockwood Leadership and in particular with Stacy Kono who is Rockwood's Fellowship Director. We have had a long standing relationship with Rockwood and more recently converged more through our work.  Through our partnership with Social Policy Research Associates, LLC had the opportunity to help evaluate the impact of the leadership development component of the Community Leadership Project.  Rockwood, one of the leadership providers for CLP ran leadership programs for people of color.  I was moved to sit in a circle with Stacy and a couple of Rockwood participants as they talked about the power of the experience.  One woman who talked about doing work in a community where tritip, football and Jesus are the background went on to say, “To have a space in beautiful place to talk about feelings was beautiful.  I am hurt and need to heal and want to heal others.  It was a gift.”  We are huge fans of Rockwood and all of the folks over there and are happy to have the opportunity to appreciate Stacy.

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Breaking New Ground in Leadership Development: What’s Money Got To Do With It?

In keeping with the theme of Creating Space X it seemed only appropriate to be on the lookout for innovations in approaches to supporting and developing leadership.  Linetta Gilbert of The Declaration Institute, called a session on how to reach people who are being left behind.  I was intrigued and moved to attend.  I believe that everyone has leadership potential but I am not sure that we have begun to wrap our minds around what it would mean to reach everyone who wants to lead (or maybe in their words, “make a difference in their community” and provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed.  I am very carefully avoiding the terminology of “leadership development” which for good reason always sparks some good controversy, but which is a topic for another blog. 

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Leadership Restructuring: Lessons from Month Six

Promoting Leadership Within Our Organizations is a Big Win!  Why aren’t more people doing it?


Yay!  The board whole heartedly endorsed Natalia to be the new Managing Director for the Leadership Learning Community on May 8th.  Because getting board buy in is important, I think it’s worth explaining why this was a seamless “no brainer”.  Board members have been able to experience firsthand the improvements that Natalia has brought to LLC in her role as Marketing/Communications Director.  For example, Natalia has consistently (and persistently) professionalized LLC’s communications internally and externally.  You can thank her for our excellent monthly webinar series and robust monthly newsletter.  Having good ideas and resources won’t amount to much unless you can get them in front of people and Natalia definitely has; we have gone from a community of 800 people to 3,500 under Natalia’s leadership.  She also took the lead in an operations audit that introduced many new project management tools to LLC; time tracking tools, capacity projection tools, budget development tools, timeline tools and….she likes this stuff!

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LLC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Rahsaan Harris of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

I met Rahsaan Harris, the Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, at the Independent Sector meeting in San Francisco last April.  I knew instantly that Rahsaan was a kindred spirit as we joined a round table conversation about the IS initiative on Leadership Talent in the sector.  I was excited by conversations with Rahsaan and his colleague Kate Seely about network leadership and the contributions of next generation leadership.  After the meeting I had additional conversations with Rahsaan and Kate about how to be intentional about our partnership and collaboration.  Rahsaan walks the talk when it comes to acting on what we all know are good ideas but sometimes get to bogged down to follow up on.  I was very enthusiastic when Rahsaan asked me to share some of LLC's thinking about collective leadership at their national meeting and we are equally excited that he will be attending our national meeting, Creating Space.  We are happy to be spotlighting Rahsaan’s authentic partnership spirit which we know is a precursor of great things to come.  

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Thinking about Collective Leadership

I was flattered to be invited to speak about Collective Leadership at the recent EPIP conference in Chicago since I am a fan of the organization.  I also saw it as an opportunity to get feedback from people who are more hardwired for collective leadership.  Research by the Building Movement Project suggests that younger people are generally more collective in their leadership styles.  In research conducted by LLC for the Annie E. Casey Foundation about why there are not more people of color in leadership of the sector, we heard stories from people who were getting great results by inspiring their teams and were still given feedback that they needed to be stronger leaders, or at least stronger by the normative cultural standards.  The ways in which our culture of individual has become embedded in our models of leadership renders invisible leadership happening all around us in a more collective form.  I wondered if folks from EPIP might shed some light on this so off I went to Chicago.  I would like to extend this conversation to all of you. 

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Leadership Restructuring: Lessons from Month Five

By Deborah Meehan and Natalia Castañeda Chaux

This month, Bryon organized the first meeting of our Restructuring (AKA Transition) Advisory Committee of LLC board volunteers.  The interesting thing about this process and collective leadership, is that our best made plans are always subject to challenge and improvement by welcoming other perspectives into the conversation.  First, the committee was whole heartedly supportive of promoting Natalia Castañeda (our former Communications Director) to become Managing Director, and to carry this recommendation forward to the full board.  Subsequently, we got into a discussion that was anchored by the following critical questions: is a co-leadership model right for LLC? What is the best solution for our workload/capacity issue?

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LLC Member Spotlight: Byron Johnson of CompassPoint

We are excited to be profiling a man who has worn many hats with LLC, fund development coach, emergency succession planner, learning community member, now writer, neighbor, CompassPoint ambassador, friend, a ready source of energy and good cheer.... and oh yes, now the creative genius behind our restructuring.  When we decided to embark on our current venture of restructuring, aka transition planning, we knew that Byron was the guy for the job.  He is man of many talents, he gets what we do, we have good value alignment and well, Byron is cool!


Byron Johnson, CFRE is a Senior Project Director for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services. Byron consults on fund development and other areas of organizational capacity building, which include fundraising planning and coaching, strengthening foundation and individual donor development work, and donor solicitation training.

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Month 4: Lessons on Restructuring: Moving Forward

We are all rolling up our sleeves and getting down to the details of what a changing leadership structure looks like and means for our work, and yes, the lessons get richer as we do.  I have four humble lessons/dilemmas to share from this past month.
 

1.       Pay attention to the subtle power dynamic that emerge in our stakeholder engagement?  Byron began by interviewing the people closest to leadership players and challenges: the staff and board.  The question next came up: “Should he interview a couple of funders” and without a hesitation, I said “Sure!” I don’t know what his intent was but I can tell you what it triggered for me: “Do we need to check in to understand if a change in leadership undermines our funders’ or clients’ confidence in our work and potentially our financial health?” Yeah, I stepped right into that power dynamic seamlessly without even thinking about it.  Of course it matters how we create the value of the changes we make and gather all of the great ideas we can about the process….And that is an issue for our entire community, not just the funders (who yes, got a first reaction because of that gut thing).  But it was a great chance for reflection about the need for broad input.  read more »