Patient Relationship Capital

We recently read with interest “What Gets Measured Gets Done,” an SSIR blog post about the work of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) to improve outcomes for the state’s 1.8 million diabetes patients. We’ve long admired the foundation and its president, Jim Knickman, so it was no surprise to us that NYSHealth is good at…


Life-and-Death Urgency

Prompted by a brutal murder, a surprisingly uplifting message landed in our inboxes this month. Our colleague Patrick Germain, the Chief Strategy Officer for New York City’s Project Renewal, wrote to tell us that a client of his organization’s Bronx Boulevard homeless shelter abducted and then murdered…


Thanks for Giving a Shiitake

Four years ago this week, we published Leap of Reason. Our initial print run was 10,000 copies—a wildly optimistic figure based, ironically enough, on faith rather than reason. Reason cautioned that only a tiny fraction of the million-plus books released every year reach the 5,000-copy threshold. In the blunt words of former Apple executive Guy Kawasaki, “In [a] sea of choices, why should anyone give a shiitake about your book?”


Ernie and Bert Were Both Right

When the two of us get into heated debates, our views often divide along Ernie and Bert lines. The Ernie (not mentioning names) gazes at the data and sees a constellation of successes. The Bert (hint: his name sounds vaguely Italian) listens patiently but then screws up his face and emphasizes all the daunting challenges that remain.


The Life of PI

In the last edition of this newsletter, we announced the launch of “The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social-Sector Excellence” (PI), the first small step in a long-term campaign to convince nonprofits and funders alike that mission and performance are inextricably linked.


Are You ‘High Performance’?

Are You ‘High Performance’? “High-performance organization” is a moniker most organizations—private, public, or nonprofit—would love to earn. And yet who can say what “high performance” really means for mission-based nonprofits? More important, how do executives, boards, and funders get there from here?! For over a year, we’ve been working with dozens of colleagues from many …


Even If You Hate Gladiatorial Sport

Last month, we gave a shout-out to The New Yorker‘s James Surowiecki for his article “Better All the Time” about the performance revolution in basketball, performing arts, auto manufacturing, and other fields. We wouldn’t be surprised if Surowiecki is at work this week on a sequel, drawing teachable lessons from the Seattle Seahawks’ journey back to the Super Bowl.


From Fringe to Front Burner

It may sound hubristic for the two of us to recommend a New Year's resolution for the social sector. But this is such an important issue, we're going for it anyway: Let's all commit to do far more to encourage and support great nonprofit leadership in 2015. Because massive social, economic, and demographic changes are producing seismic jolts to all nonprofits, we have to double down on proven strategies for helping leaders learn, adapt, and grow.


Motherhood, Pumpkin Pie, and Moneyball

These days, Republicans and Democrats could turn a discussion over motherhood or pumpkin pie into a bitter partisan dispute. But appears they might actually be able to agree about the value of “Moneyball.” If you’re not familiar with the “Moneyball for Government” meme, we recommend you download (for free) the…


Staring Down Death and Building Up Institutions

Social entrepreneurs can change the world. Look no further than Malala Yousafzai, the remarkable young woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize two weeks ago. When Malala was 14 years old, a Taliban gunman shot her in the face to silence her voice. But Malala stared down death. She was reborn as the world’s most compelling advocate for girls’ right to learn.

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