Bay area leadership networks meeting final
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Bay area leadership networks meeting final



Meeting hosted by Leadership Learning Community and Monitor Institute. More info here:

Meeting hosted by Leadership Learning Community and Monitor Institute. More info here:



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  • About two years ago the Leadership Learning Community launched an initiative that we are calling Leadership for a New Era. We launched this initiative because we believe that the current model of leadership in society and in our leadership development work places too strong focus an emphasis on the individual’s role and responsibility in the change process and does not do enough to:Leverage network-centric approachesMake progress on complex systems problems, like racial inequities and social injusticePromote leadership as a democratic and relational process that supports collective actionThe leadership landscape is changingProjected generational transfer of leadershipDevelopment of new social technologies that are causing us to rethink how we relate to each other, work together and organize for changeLeadership for a New Era is a collaborative research project to change how we conceive, practice and evaluate leadership. We are focusing on four topics. We have created a wiki based website and discussion forum where we have engaged over 200 participants.
  • This report is meant to help those who are building leadership capacity in networks and the network capacity of nonprofit leadership. Those of us here today bring both these experiences which will make this a particularly rich conversation.We believe we can extend the impact of what we are learning about leadership and networks by working at the intersection to produce lessons, tools and resources for both fields.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to overcome fragmentation and competition that undermine the creativity, innovation, and impact of the non profit sector without new approaches to leadership that build relationships and connectivity across organizations and across sectors.
  • Here’s the model that has dominated our thinking about leadership development.Traditionally we have thought of leadership as ability of an individual to exert influence over others by virtue of their authority, charisma or persuasiveness. We believe that if we train individuals and give them the skills and capacities they need, they will be better prepared to lead strong organizations. Strong organizations produce better community results.
  • We need to think differently about leadership if we are going to address the complex challenges we face. Our current model of leadership is not scalable. We invest lots of resources in individual leader development but we can’t reach the scale of leadership we need developing one person at a time. There are several ways in which we need to expand our understanding of leadership:Move from thinking about leadership as a capacity and quality that an individual possesses and recognize that leadership is a process that happens in groups, communities and networks. “Leadership arises whenever people work together and make meaning of their experiences and when people participate in collaborative forms of action across the dividing lines of perspective, values, beliefs, and cultures.” (Drath and Palus).Groups form all the time. Social networking platforms, like meetup or facebook, are great examples of how people self-organize around shared interest, shared purpose or shared identity easily and quickly to combine their resources for greater impact
  • This matrix shows where we believe most investments in leadership have occurred over the past 20 years. We have historically privileged investments in individual leader development and in building organizational capacity to lead change. We are actually not saying that individuals or organizations are not important investments they are. Rather we want to highlight that changes in our understanding of leadership as a collective process and with technologies that enable us to visualize systems, and catalyze networks like never before that new investment opportunities exist for us to scale the impact of our investments.
  • There are lots of different frameworks for thinking about networks. The simplest description of a network is that it is a pattern of nodes and linkages that exist between people, organizations or other entities. Some networks are informal and provide support or access to information that may help you do your job better, or help people you solve a problem. Formal networks are not ad hoc, they are intentional efforts to bring together the assets, resources and connections of many different organizations to increase their collective capacity to influence outcomes to a complex problem, like health disparities.
  • Networks are patterns of relationships between nodes (which can be people or organizations). A social network approach to leadership recognizes that leaders are embedded in a complex web of relationships with others through which they seek to have influence. Understanding a leaders position in the network and the structure of ties she has reveals a lot about the nature of her influence. There are two different network strategies for influence, one is a strong tie strategy and the other is a weak tie strategy (sometimes we also call these bonding and bridging)A strong tie strategy is one in which a leader develops close, trusting relationships with a small number of highly central and influential others. Information is considered credible and trustworthy. Greater availability, more motivated to provide resources. Weak ties (or the strength of weak ties as Mark Granovetter has called it) is often the source of new ideas, information, or resources that leaders can use to advance their careers or broker information between others who are not themselves connected. Rapid Growth – Members benefit from adding new linksRapid Diffusion – as more nodes are added, the network diffuses information more and more widely through its linksResilience – networks can withstand stresses, such as the dissolution of one or more links because its nodes quickly reorganize around disruptions or bottlenecks
  • So what are characteristics of healthynetworks and how is this reshaping our thinking about leadership.Ties, connections and relationships are at the heart of a network. Networks depend on trust and reciprocity, and a high degree of transparency. Ideas and resources flow more easily when people know and trust each other and can recognize the value of connecting. Networks grow and become stronger through bridging and weaving…actively introducing people to others “closing triangles”, reaching out to new people and making them feel included.Leadership and action is distributed yet aligned in a network. So for instance you may have a cluster of people working to increase the number of kids graduating from high school and another group working to ensure that high school graduates enter and complete college. A networked approach would focus on building connections among these groups so that they are aligning their efforts for greater impact. Those of you who are involved in the Promise Neighborhood…Continual experimentation and learning through networks is critical for transforming complex systems or for large scale social change…trying things seeing how they work, and learning from the experience in a rapid cycle is the source of progress.
  • Claire
  • Here are the recommendations from the reportWe need to think big and commit to large scale change, when we do then networks become essential.We need to develop network thinking and learn new tools, especially those that allow us to coordinate and align our efforts across boundaries; We need to integrate network thinking into leadership curriculum and learn how to use new tools like wikis and social media. We need to use action learning to experiment with innovative approaches and align strategies across communities, fields, and systems. We need to create the conditions for strengthening existing networks (this is especially true for many leadership programs which have a wealth of untapped resources in their alumni networks) and catalyzing new networks. We need to develop and use network approaches to evaluation and funding of networks.Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives – Nicholas Christakis and James FowlerThe great project of the twenty first century – understanding how the whole of humanity comes to be greater than the sum of its parts—is just beginning. Like an awakening child, the human super-organism is becoming self-awar, and this will surely help us to achieve our goals. But the greatest gift of this awareness will be the sheer joy of self-discovery and the realization that to truly know ourselves, we must first understand how and why we are all connected.
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Bay area leadership networks meeting final Bay area leadership networks meeting final Presentation Transcript

  • Bay Area Leadership Learning Circle:A Conversation on Leadership & NetworksJanuary 2011
    @leadershipera @workingwikily
  • Establish meaningful connections
    Explore and test key ideas & questions presented in the synthesis on leadership and networks
    Talk about opportunities to continue this conversation in other venues
    Image by: / CC BY 2.0
  • Leadership for a New Era
  • Leadership for a New Era: Inclusive, Networked & Collective Leadership
    • Engaging 200 participants
    • 3 products: publications, assessment tools, interactive website & directories
    • 4 topics: Leadership and Race, Leadership and Networks, Collective Leadership, Leadership Across Difference
  • Leadership & Networks
    Our focus is …
    Promote a network mindset
    Strengthen leadership
    in networks
    Challenge current
    Our Thought Partners Include…
  • Leadership and Network Capacity
  • The Opportunity at the Intersection of Networks and Nonprofit Leadership
    Leadership & Network Capacity
  • Why Invest in Network Leadership
  • The value of collective leadership networks is in their capacity to solve problems quickly in an environment of uncertainty and complexity.
  • Traditional Model
    Support for Individual Leadership Skills
    Better Community Results
    Strong Organization
    Source: Adapted from Leadership for a New Era / Leadership Learning Community
  • We Will Not Reach the Change we Seek, Supporting One Leader at a Time
    Traditional Leadership Mindset
    NEW Collective Leadership Mindset
  • Current Leadership Investment Areas:
    Individuals and Organizations
  • What is a Network?
  • Types of Networks
    Informal Networks
    Formal Networks
    Networks are many different organizations working in concert as equal partners pursuing a common social or civic purpose over a sustained period of time.
    Paul Vandeventer, Networks that Work
    A social network is a set of people (or organizations or other social entities) connected by a set of social relationships, such as friendship, co-working, or information exchange.
    Audrey Jordan, Tapping the Power of Social Networks
  • Networked Devices + Connected People = Healthier Communities
    Source: “The Future of Health is Social” Fast Company, Jennifer Kilian and Barbara Pantuso
  • African Public Health Leadership and Systems Innovation Initiative
    A partnership between Synergos, McKinsey & Co., the Presencing Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve health performance in Namibia.
    Image Source:
  • Network Basics
    Network benefits
    Increased access
    Rapid growth and diffusion
    Increased impact
    Network costs
    Lots of investment of time and
    resources on relationship building
    Loss of control
  • Rethinking Leadership: Network Approach
  • Core Leadership Competencies For Working in Networks
    Create and hold space with a clear sense of purpose
    Weave the network
    Reach across boundaries
    Nurture trust and reciprocity
    Bridge differences
    Encourage self-organizing and self-authorizing
    Leverage tools for connection and coordination
    Align action
    Provide multiple points of entry and engagement
    Model leading with a network mindset
  • Recommendations
    Think big & commit to large scale change
    Develop network thinking and learn new tools
    Engage in action learning
    Catalyze new networks and strengthen existing networks
    Evaluate the impact of networks
    Provide resources to networks
  • Pop Up Panel
  • Open Space
  • Four Principles & One Law ofOpen Space
    Law: The Law of Mobility
    Whoever shows up is the right group
    Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
    Whenever it starts is the right time
    When its over its over
  • What’s Next?
  • Get Involved!
  • Contact Us
    1203 Preservation Park Way #200
    Oakland, CA  94612
    (510) 238-9080 Phone
    (510) 238-9084 Fax