Polaris® Global Leadership 360° Assessment Certification
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.
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.
The rapid pace of the nonprofit sector and the ever-changing landscape in which we operate compels us to always stay on our toes; ready for change, ready to adapt. This has been a year of great challenges and opportunities at LLC, and technology has helped us find creative solutions to some of those challenges and identify ways to optimize the resources we already have. Here are a couple of things we have learned along the way:
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.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” (John F. Kennedy)
After almost a decade of leading and learning, we have decided to stop and reflect. We are taking some time not only to think about how leadership has changed over the last 10 years, but more importantly, what leadership means today, in this new era. This era, our era, is one of increasing interaction and collaboration among groups – locally, nationally and internationally.
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.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Creating Space IX participants for taking the time and completing the follow up survey and sharing your thoughts, experiences, learning, suggestions and comments. Over 38% of you responded! Your survey responses have provided us with a rich opportunity to learn about what worked, what didn’t work, and what we could have done better.
Posted on behalf of Sally Leiderman
The Center for Assessment and Policy Development was supported by a grant from the Leadership Learning Community Seed Fund to survey leadership programs to learn how they are addressing issues of white privilege, structural racism and diversity in the context of their leadership programs. The survey is part of a larger project in which CAPD is partnering with MP Associates and World Trust Educational Services to create tools and guidance that can be embedded in a wide range of leadership programs to take up these issues. As we found out at Creating Space recently – even with our best intentions – many of us lack the skills, confidence and fortitude to deal straight on with these issues – even when we think that is a strategy that might be helpful. Many of us also wonder about how to be strategic about these issues – when to raise them, whether to raise them – whether attention to community, relationships, love and courage – can be “color-blind” or need to be racialized. My take-away from what occurred at Creating Space is that we are going to need multiple strategies, multiple entry points and a whole lot of experimentation and persistence on leading for social justice.
In 2008 LLC made a radical decision not to hold Creating Space (CS). Each year LLC convenes CS so that people involved in leadership development can take a step back to restore and think about their work in new ways. LLC took a pause from CS to create more reflective time for tough questions: are we making a difference, are the leadership development approaches of the past 10 years relevant in a changing technological and political landscape? Essentially, do we need to rethink the ways in which we conceptualize and support leadership?