Generating ideas, connections, and action


XTreme Collaboration in the Nonprofit Sector


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Many years ago at Creating Space, we held a session called Xtreme Collaboration. We were trying to figure out how we might test the assumption that we were in competition with each other for limited financial resources. The implications of this prevalent thinking are huge, i.e. the more closely your mission work is aligned with another organization, the more you are competing for resources within a limited niche. When you get right down to it this is pretty paradoxical, and downright sad. This is why at LLC we often talk about the hazards of “organizational sustainability” and how things might change if we began to talk about the need for mission sustainability. Or better yet, we could talk about interdependence. john powell of the Kirwan Institute talks about the need for a new social justice paradigm based on a profound recognition of our interdependence.

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Van Jones: Leadership and Race


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Several years ago at Creating Space, we invited Meg Wheatley to initiate a discussion around communities of practice. She described four key ways that young leaders in South Africa were being supported as a community of practice: naming, connecting, resourcing and illuminating. A young African American man immediately stood and expressed his concern that in this country, calling attention to your leadership as a person of color could put you in peril. I have thought about his comments repeatedly over the last year with the unprecedented number of threats against President Obama during his candidacy and then as president. The outrageous attacks on Van Jones by Glen Beck are another reminder of the perils of being African American and leading. Anyone who has attended a Farmer’s Market in the Bay Area has probably signed more than one petition in support of initiatives on any number of issues that could also be attacked as ‘un-American’. In fact, living in the Bay Area is probably un-American to the likes of Glen Beck, so it’s pretty disheartening that so few have seen or called out these racial attacks for what they are. read more »

Leadership Tip: The Continuum Exercise


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Our leadership tips have focused on how to create a community of learning among leadership program cohorts.  Understandably, many programs want to offer their participants the benefits of skills building activities or exposure to field experts.  At the conclusion of the formal program it can be hard to shift participants from a primary role of recipient to one of contributor.  But when participants are engaged continuously as contributors, they are more likely to remain active and to experience the enduring benefits of peer learning and collaborative problem solving.  read more »

Leadership for A New Era: What We Learned About Using a Webinar to Attract and Reach Out to New Networks


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Expanding LLC's reach and networks

LLC staff wants to thank everyone who participated in our first Leadership for a New Era (LNE) webinar during which we introduced and invited peers to join with the Leadership Learning Community to shape and create the LNE initiative.  (A copy of our webinar slides are attached below.) Our outreach efforts included personal contact, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.  We significantly extended our network with these outreach efforts and attracted people committed to transforming the leadership culture in a number of different arenas, including social justice, service, climate change, and internationally. read more »

Collective Leadership – Stepping Out of the Box

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As we were discussing the creation of the design team for the LLC national meeting, Creating Space, someone posed a radical question that went something like, “What if we welcomed everyone who wanted to be part of the design process with the understanding that they would contribute in whatever way they could and whenever they could?” This was being suggested instead of selecting from a pool of community members who responded to an invitation sent to the entire community and who indicated their interest in participating on the design team. If there had been a camera in the room snapping the look on my face at that very instant, I’m certain it would have shouted – “Are you kidding?!!” As a matter of fact, I’m sure I voiced a much softer version expressing my concern and objection to the idea. read more »

Leadership Tip: Taking Time to Re-Think (or Remember) the Big Picture


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Getting The Basics Right

Establishing a clear sense of purpose is an essential first step when developing a community of learning and practice for participants of leadership programs. This seems like a no brainer but without this step, folks may be holding different assumptions about why they are participating in the community or what they hope to achieve together. read more »

Inclusive Leadership: A Call To Action


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Authors: Deborah Meehan and Natalia Castaneda

According to a recent report by Bridgespan, there have been over 20,000 leadership positions available in the nonprofit sector in 2009. For a year that has been hit by such a severe economic crisis, that statistic sounds rather promising – but for who? Who will benefit from this opportunity and have a chance to step up into a leadership role? We would like to think it’s a matter of equal opportunity but historical data suggests that may not be the case. read more »

Leadership Tip: Using Emergent Learning Mapping for Peer Learning

Learning Lab


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“Follow effective action with quiet reflection.  From quiet reflection will come more effective action.”  Peter Drucker

Learning in community is a great way to maximize the impact of a leadership program long after the program has reached its end.  But finding the best way to learn in community and have truly productive discussions might be tricky.   read more »

Collaboration in a New Era

Creating Space

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The landscape for collaboration is changing. As leaders increasingly participate in multiple and diverse networks, opportunities for connections and collaborations abound. Often the word collaboration sounds good in theory, but our past experiences lead us to believe that this is much harder in practice. With the constrained resources and time pressures we all face, collaboration may appear as one more thing we can’t afford to do. Who can take the time to collaborate? LLC, through experimentation with new ways of collaborating, has found that the benefits of collaboration can be more easily realized than you think. read more »

Leadership Tip: Peer Learning Community Series


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Leadership programs have an opportunity to create a community of learning among participants. These relationships can extend well beyond the formal duration of a program to support ongoing learning and collaboration that will increase the impact of your program over time. The first series of our tips section focuses on the topic of developing and nurturing a peer learning community within a leadership program. read more »