Generating ideas, connections, and action

Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from the Women's Co-op in Battle Creek, Michigan

As we prepare to head to Detroit, Michigan for this year’s national meeting, Creating Space XII, we thought we would bring you a weekly blog series of stories from Michigan about developing non-traditional leadership in keeping with the theme of CS XII, “Challenging Assumptions: Learning from Non-Traditional Leadership About Community and Systems Change.”   This first blog post in our series is about the Women’s Co-Op in Battle Creek and is based on an interview conducted several years ago with the Executive Director, Teresa Phillips.

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Guest Blog: Reflections from the Funders Evaluators’ Meeting by Sally Leiderman

I am a proud member of the Funders/Evaluators Circle of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC). I have always been impressed by the way LLC, and particularly Deborah and Claire, embody the ethics they espouse. They ask the hard questions about leadership development, redistribute resources to the LLC network (seed grants, evaluation opportunities, access to useful contacts), and collaborate, rather than compete, in a great deal of their work.

CAPD and I have often been beneficiaries of LLC’s fidelity to its principles. Most recently, I had a chance to be part of a Funders/Evaluators convening designed to look at ways that leadership development evaluation can support learning about the contribution of leaders and leadership to large scale social change. I have also had the opportunity to contribute to the resulting report: Leadership & Large Scale Change: How to Accelerate Learning and Deepen Impact. The convening, and the report, were organized around some of the thorniest questions in leadership development, and in its evaluation: what are rigorous ways to assess the contribution of a leadership development effort to population and community level outcomes, particularly in complex efforts with many actors and hard-to-see immediate change? How do we draw a path from supports to identify, strengthen and activate the capacities of leadership to their application and results? And, in the absence of random assignment, how do we know the value-added of those activities for individuals, cohorts and networks already on a path of leadership? As Claire Reinelt noted in last month’s blog post, the report describes several different approaches people are using that are pushing this work ahead.

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Publication Recommendation | “A Call for Action: Strengthening the Human Services Sector”

The Kresge Foundation recently convened a symposium to explore challenges in the social services sector, identify opportunities for human service leaders to partner and connect their learning and to provide recommendations to support transformation in the sector.  Their findings are relevant to those of us who are committed to the value of leadership development and are summarized in a report, “A Call for Action: Strengthening the Human Services Sector.

The report reminded me that the challenges can also be a source of positive disruption, driving greater (and needed) innovation and provided a couple of examples: read more »

  • the need to rethink traditional non-profit models and approaches to funding and create new models of partnership
  • the need to maximize our value proposition by becoming better and monitoring our impact and adapting our approaches

Is It Time for Xtreme Collaboration 3.0?

Picture1.preview.jpgRecently I was describing “Xtreme Collaboration,” a project that grew out of an Open Space session at one of our national meetings many years ago. The enthusiastic buzz it created left me wondering if it might just be time for the sequel, Xtreme Collaboration Returns or 3.0 depending on your favorite frame.  


So first, what was the project?

I pitched the idea during Creating Space (our national meeting) with the prompt: “the Xtreme collaboration session is for people who are willing to explore the possibility that we just may be going about this all wrong.” I had been mulling over the paradox in the non-profit sector, from a niche marketing perspective, that the organizations with whom you have the greatest mission alignment are your competitors.  You have probably heard the widely used metaphor, ‘we are competing for slices of the same pie.’ Given the prevalence of this assumption (and its impact on our behaviors) I became curious about whether anyone had ever tested this assumption and began to consider the possibility that it might not be true.

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Could a Win for the Warriors Be a Small Win for Collectivism?


I have not been a basketball fan since the LA Lakers heyday in the 70’s.  
I was disillusioned when they started to sell off different members of the team, seemingly driven by profit more than the team’s cohesion or even performance.  I don’t believe that the bottom line of sports has changed but still, I was captivated by the Warrior’s “Strength in Numbers” slogan and teamwork when I went to a Warrior’s game with “Hella Heart Oakland” for Asian Heritage Night.  A big shout out again for an amazing event to Christi Tran and thanks for getting me back into the game…what a great year for it!

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Leadership and Large-Scale Change: What’s Working and How Do We Know By Claire Reinelt

LLC’s Newest Publication: Leadership and Large Scale Change, Available Now! (Foreword By Deborah Meehan)

We are pleased to share LLC’s latest publication which is a product that included an analysis of current research, more than forty interviews and the findings of a meeting that brought together fifty leadership development funders and evaluators.  This work was supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, American Express, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to learn about evaluation methodologies that are being used to understand the contributions of leadership development to large scale change, share early lessons from research and current leadership work about the kind of leadership needed and how to develop it. We believe the recommendations in this report can help to increase the impact of our individual and combined efforts and encourage you to download this report and share it widely with others who fund, run, and study leadership development.  Over the next several months, we will be featuring the work of contributors to this research.  Our first contribution is from Claire Reinelt, a seasoned and well respected leadership evaluator.


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Leadership & Large-Scale Change: How to Accelerate Learning and Deepen Impact External website [view] [more info]

This report was funded to answer the following questions using a series of interviews, research and findings from a meeting of 45 evaluators and program officers with leadership development expertise, hosted on October 2014 at the Annie E. Casey Foundation: What are the key elements of leadership development approaches that are contributing to measurable progress on significant social problems? What evaluation approaches are being used or developed to successfully measure and document the impact of leadership development that results in large-scale change? What opportunities exist to replicate, spread, adapt, or apply lessons from these models to increase the impact of leadership development programming and investments?

Authors: Sally Leiderman, Leadership Learning Community, Deborah Meehan, Claire Reinelt

Subjects: leadership learning community, large-scale change, deepen impact

06/29/2015 - 11:10 - 0 comments - 0 attachments - Posted by LLC Staff

Guest Blog Post | CompassPoint of Views: Reflecting on Charleston

This article was originally posted on CompassPoint' Nonprofit Services' newsletter and is reprinted, with permission from both CompassPoint and Kad Smith.

Like you, we've been watching with anger, fear, frustration, and deep sadness at the events that unfolded in Charleston this past week. In a year where the trauma of violence against black lives and bodies has been acutely present in our communities, this act of racist terrorism cuts deeply into fresh wounds. Where do we go from here and how do we come together to take on the systems of racism and oppression that lay the groundwork for this kind of violence? As we grapple with the work ahead of us and create spaces for healing in light of despair, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our own thoughts and feelings, elevate some of the voices and calls-to-action that are resonating with us at CompassPoint, and honor the lives and memories of the nine victims: 
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Webinar Recap: Strengthening Network Practice Through Evaluation | July 2015

Growing numbers of social change agents are building networks to increase impact. Using real-life case examples, this webinar offered an introduction to basic network concepts and approaches with an emphasis on how practitioners can strengthen their network through systematic monitoring and evaluation. 
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America Healing Resource List

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Resources and thoughts on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing Conference. Included is a list of resources shared by the Foundation and from fellow participants.
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