Generating ideas, connections, and action

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 Development Investment Framework

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The Leadership Development Investment Framework is a tool developed to assist funders, program staff, and evaluators clarify the purposes of leadership development and capacity-building supports. In 2008, we partnered with United Way Toronto to adapt the original Leadership Development Investment Framework that was produced by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations in 2005.  The tool was useful in assisting the United Way and other leadership funders in Canada to become more intentional about where they are currently investing resources, where there are gaps in investment, and how they might work together to maximize the impact of their resources. Grady McGonagill adapted the framework further by adding the dimension of teams and team building capacity as part of a study for the Bertelsmann Foundation.

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A ‘Gift Economy’ Approach to Nurture Our Community

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At the Leadership Learning Community, we strive to be an open community where members can exchange ideas and information in a safe, collaborative environment. We capture the learning and insights on our wikis and website, in an effort to open up the access to information so those interested in leadership development for social justice are better equipped to move the needle in their own work. We have successfully grown a community of hundreds of individuals and organizations across the nation, and have built a central repository where anyone can access information at no cost. We are extremely proud of our model – but we want more. To advance true change, we need to scale the level of connections and information exchange to higher levels. read more »

LLC Board Feature: Grady McGonagill

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When invited as a new board member to contribute to the LLC newsletter, I decided to describe how I came to that role, because I think it reveals something important about the kind of organization LLC is and the contribution it is making. I am an independent consultant, specializing in leadership development. Toward the end of last year I was invited by Europe’s largest foundation (the Bertelsmann Foundation) to do a study of leadership development best practices in the U.S.  When gearing up to do the study, I asked colleagues for nominations about programs they thought might be candidates. One of my colleagues suggested Claire Reinelt (who, like me, lives in the Boston area) as someone to speak to on this topic because she was very knowledgeable.  When I spoke to Claire I realized that I already knew something about LLC through studies I had read published by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, which cited some work by LLC that had impressed me. I was even more impressed when Claire generously shared with me a number of the “scans” of leadership and leadership development she and Deborah Meehan had conducted.  read more »

Triggering Collaborative Action through Social Media

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Social media is changing the way people interact with each other. As Clay Shirky suggests, social media and networks enable people to share, converse, collaborate, and in some cases, engage in collaborative action.  And while collaborative action is not widely popular yet, it is where the future is headed (Clay Shirky 2008).  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 »

Invitation to Free Tele-conference Monday, Sept. 14th - Polaris Global Leadership 360

Invitation to register for
Polaris® Global Leadership 360° Assessment Certification
Virtual Workshop
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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 »

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