Generating ideas, connections, and action

Zoe Madden-Wood's blog

Creating a Healthy Network: My Network Weavers Practicum Experience

Leadership that is more networked and inclusive is the way of the future, but how do we get there? How do we create a healthy and energized network that is thriving around a particular issue?

Recently, I have been privileged enough to attend a practicum led by June Holley and Kristin Johnstad on network weaving and I’ve been hoping to answer exactly this question. A network weaver is someone who “weaves” the network to create more connections for a healthier network. I have been hoping to learn how to better engage networks and come into projects with a hands-on network mindset.  
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Why Social Network Analysis?

In the new era of leadership, we have learned that collaboration and networked leadership models trumps individual models of heroic leadership. We’re wiser and capable of greater things together than apart. But how do we measure if we’re succeeding at collaboration? If we’ve created a healthy network? Or if we have gaps that we need to close in communication?

This is where social network analysis comes in. Social network analysis is a type of analysis that measure networks of people and helps evaluators determine how people are connecting and around what issues and projects. With social network analysis, you can take a snapshot of the network and figure out both the network strengths and weaknesses, and use that to grow a better and more robust network for a greater and more dramatic impact.

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Project Management: Executing and Monitoring Your Change Project

You have your project all planned out now you’re executing the project and monitoring the moving pieces to see how they all fit together.

This is when all of your project management tools really jump into gear and prove their use in real time. We use Basecamp as our way of tracking what is happening with the project and making sure we don’t lose our communication in old email threads.


Cross-checking against the budget

We use Harvest to track our time. This is great for tracking the overall budget and has it’s own handy visual icon, but sometimes it doesn’t provide enough information. With rather large projects, we’ll download the data from Harvest to get a more detailed look that we can cross-reference with our estimates for individual categories. Pivot charts are super useful for gathering information together.


This provides the additional benefit of helping to reconcile how much of the work has been done versus how much of the money has been spent. If you’re 60% done with the project, but 70% done with the budget, then it’s definitely time to troubleshoot and figure out how to move forward.

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Project Management: Starting Your Project (for Change)

Now that you’ve acquired your project, it’s time to start the process of planning and executing. First, you already have a budget and a scope of work from your project proposal. Hopefully you also have a general timeline and a sense of staff allocation because you checked your organizational capacity before taking on the project! So, what next? read more »

Project Management: LLC's Decision-making Process Around Cultivation

Prioritizing grant projects wasn't anything new to us as a nonprofit, but when we started delving into consulting projects, we grappled with the best processes for ensuring they were on budget, on time and of high quality, and the best way to select new projects. Many nonprofits are already familiar with concepts like the Dual-bottom Line matrix for prioritizing grant projects, where organizations are trying to find a happy medium between financial sustainability and strong mission impact alignment. High mission impact, high sustainability projects are no brainers to take on. Low mission impact, low sustainability programs are probably opportunities the organization should stop pursuing. Then deciding between high impact low sustainability and low impact high sustainability projects depend on resources such as time and money. Hopefully, your organization has a good portfolio of projects allowing for an overall organizational balance of mission impact and financial sustainability. read more »

Project Management: Fine-tuning the Social Entrepreneur Side of Our Nonprofit

Three years ago the Leadership Learning Community made a stunning realization after looking at its balance sheets: the year that we built our largest reserve correlated with the volume of consulting projects we completed. Since then, LLC has been building up the consulting side of its nonprofit business to create additional revenue streams of support for our mission work. We’ve had the chance to optimize the way leadership development is conceived, developed, and implemented through foundation grants and through our consulting work with foundations and like-minded nonprofits. read more »

A Big Welcome to Grace Kong, Our New Administrative Manager


With great pride, we welcome our newest awesome member of the LLC team: Grace Kong, our new Administrative Manager. Grace has just moved down from Seattle for sunnier weather and exciting new opportunities.

Grace is no stranger to the leadership development field. She participated in the Community Leaders Program at the Asian Community Leadership Foundation. She provided leadership development training to at-risk youth at King County. Most recently she worked as a facilitator and trainer at the Safe Schools Coalition in Seattle, Washington. read more »

Calling All Consultants!

A good number of you who participate in the Leadership Learning Community are consultants who work in the leadership development field doing  evaluation, curriculum development, curriculum delivery, research, etc.  As you know, in the last couple of years LLC has come to value our consulting opportunities as an important applied research arm of our work.

Through many of our consulting jobs we get to help the field implement or test many of the ideas that we are promoting through our research.  In this spirit we have invested more heavily in this important work and we our growing a robust consulting services program.  We see this is an opportunity to partner with many of you and bring together consultants who may not have many opportunities to work collaboratively into teams where we can learn more quickly together and reap the benefit of many perspectives. 

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City Year: Addressing the High School Drop-Out Crisis, Developing the BE

Guest Blog Post by Dr. Max Klau, Director of Leadership Development, City Year

City Year is an education focused, nonprofit organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation.  City Year was founded on the belief that a year of national service has the potential to deliver a unique dual benefit:  It can provide transformational service to communities in need, while simultaneously developing the participants providing that service into effective, experienced, inspiring civic leaders.  In recent years, we have made breakthrough advances on both fronts.
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Save the Date: Leadership Chautauqua and Symposium for Small Towns


If you run, fund or study leadership development in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota.....this event is for YOU!!!
Save the dates
June 12-14, 2012
JUNE 12-13, 2012 
Co-hosted by the Bush Foundation and 
Leadership Learning Community
June 13-14, 2012
University of Minnesota-Morris
Morris, MN
Co-hosted by the Center for Small Towns & the Bush Foundation

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