All societies—if they are to survive—must renew themselves.
They must cast off approaches that don’t work. They must cultivate new ideas, especially controversial and disruptive ones. And they must seed those ideas in the real world to see if they work. Only in this way can societies avoid decay and continue to grow.
We believe that the social sector is uniquely positioned to drive such renewal. What John Gardner, the pioneering founder of Common Cause, said of nonprofits 50 years ago can still be said of today’s social sector:
“An idea that is controversial, unpopular or strange has little chance in either the commercial or the political marketplace. But in the nonprofit sector it may very well find the few followers necessary to nurture it into maturity. The sector comfortably harbors innovators, maverick movements, groups that feel that they must fight for their place in the sun, critics and dissenters of both liberal and conservative persuasion.”
Our network of world-class coaches, facilitators, and mentor-leaders are committed to building the relationships and capabilities needed to drive societal renewal.
We envision a day when leaders within the social sector harness the power of relationships, bringing people together to solve problems that threaten renewal and hasten decline.
To renew society, we must renew our ideas about leadership.
No leader today—no matter how resourceful, charismatic, or gifted—can transform problems alone, whether they are organizational, national, or global. Leaders today must be able to navigate a world that is growing ever more demanding and constrained, economically uncertain and politically polarized, diverse and interdependent, without boundaries and yet full of walls. In such a world, leaders must be able to:
- Work with and through people with very different backgrounds, beliefs, and values
- Persevere in the face of setbacks and make something good out of conflict
- Create ideas with others that no one person or group alone could imagine
- Bridge geographic and ideological divides that threaten growth and impact
- Distribute leadership broadly throughout their organizations, communities, or networks
- Inspire and empower leaders to act on behalf of the whole
Leaders who invest in building these capabilities don’t always have to compromise or lower their sights. Instead, they are free to:
- Create and pursue truly innovative, disruptive strategies
- Alter course quickly when things change
- Exploit crises, and learn from failures
- Pick up the pace of decision-making
- Work across organizations, communities, and sectors to create greater impact
- Grow organizations, networks, emergent leaders, and themselves more quickly
The more that leaders are able to do these things, the more impact they can make out of uncertainty, diversity, and constraint—not only today, but tomorrow; and not just on their own but with others.
The cumulative result? A social sector capable of driving systemic change and renewing societies at risk of decline.