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Deepening our Capacity to Foster and Evaluate Collective Leadership

The Evaluation Learning Circle held a meeting on January 17th-18th, 2007 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first day combined the work of the Funders' and Evaluation Learning Circles. Our theme was "Deepening our Capacity to Foster and Evaluate Collective Leadership." With a growing interest among funders and practitioners in cultivating boundary-crossing leadership, community leadership and collective leadership, we saw an opportunity and a responsibility to deepen our understanding of what collective leadership is and how to evaluate it.

Prior to the gathering, participants and non-participants were invited to share thoughts and experiences in a pre-meeting virtual inquiry on the following six questions:

  • What are some of our assumptions about what "collective leadership" is?
  • What does it mean for leadership to "cross" or "span" boundaries? Are they the same?
  • What is exceptional collective leadership and how do we know it when we see it or experience it?
  • What are we learning about how to foster collective leadership that has the sustained capacity to shift the culture and dynamics of teams, organizations, communities of place, communities of practice, or systems?
  • In your opinion, how does the process of evaluation need to shift in order to better support and catalyze collective leadership?
  • What current evaluation tools or approaches do you feel hold most promise for documenting/evaluating collective leadership? What else is needed?

Responses helped us shape experiential learning activities to accelerate advances in our collective understanding. Learn more about the gathering by visiting the circle's wiki.