Generating ideas, connections, and action

Revamping the LLC Mission with a Stronger Point of View

For over a decade, the Leadership Learning Community has focused on advancing a more just and equitable society by transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted and evaluated.   Earlier in the history of the organization, the mission was to facilitate an exchange of learning among leadership development providers in order to strengthen the practice of leadership development.   After 5 years of promoting peer learning, LLC began to see patterns emerging in the learning across leadership development programs that pointed to the need to provide a stronger point of view about the type of leadership development that contributes to justice and equity.  After spending more time researching  the leadership development landscape in the U.S. and identifying trends and areas of opportunities for several years, we decided that it was time to add even another layer to our mission that would describe the kind of leadership that we think is required to promote justice and equity in our society.  So today we are presenting this mission:

We strive to advance a more just and equitable society by transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted and evaluated.  We believe that promoting leadership as a process that is more inclusive, networked and collective will have a greater impact in advancing equity.


We believe that we can reach more people and tackle more complex problems by investing our time and resources in improving leadership processes that support organizations, communities, and networks to take collective action.  These leadership processes have a higher chance of succeeding if they are inclusive of different perspectives and backgrounds, leverage network approaches to decentralize the work, and distribute the work across a collective group of people aligned around a common goal.  Our publication, A New Leadership Mindset for Scaling Social Change, describes in more detail the elements that are part of the leadership as a process mindset. 


A key component in our mission is that we want to identify and promote leadership approaches that may be more unconventional and different from traditional leadership approaches – we call them leadership hiding in plain sight, a term that was mentioned to us by this year’s Creating Space facilitator, Milano Harden.  By unconventional we mean leadership development strategies that support people and groups who are working towards a common goal, regardless of whether or not they are part of a leadership program – it could take the form of traditional leadership programs recruiting groups to work in teams on actual problems, or groups working within organizations or networks on a specific problem.  In her latest article, A New Leadership Development Mindset, Deborah explores this topic with more detail and offers some examples, such as the Initiative Foundation in MN, who recruits entire communities that self-organize around projects that are relevant to their community.


To achieve our overarching mission we have outlined a series of goals that will drive our efforts in the next 3 years.  The framework for the goals has three main components:


1)      Knowledge Development: Synthesize actionable knowledge in the form of five, broadly distributed thought leadership pieces. The thought pieces don’t necessarily need to be publications, they could be Prezis or other multimedia formats that engage the community. Some topic ideas include Leadership and Design Thinking, and Leadership and Community Change.

2)      Network Strategy: Reach and influence a network of 500,000 people.  Within that network, engage a more targeted group of 41,000 people.

a.       Increase engagement to 41,000 (by 50%)

b.      Increase reach to 459,000 (by 33%)

3)      Application Strategy: We are still in the process of defining what our goal should be around application but some ideas include:

a.       Develop and pilot a network leadership design and curriculum

b.      Create a community of practice to help people implement the recommendations for the Leadership and Collective Impact piece

The next step of our process is to have a group meeting where the LLC staff team can map out how their individual goals connect to the overarching organizational goals, so that we can all be aligned around the same purpose and have a sense of the whole and the pieces we each hold.  We also would like to welcome feedback from the community about goals or strategies you would like to see for the community in the next few years.  We also encourage you to let us know your thoughts around the updated mission for LLC and the direction of uncovering and promoting leadership hiding in plain sight!


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