Leap of Reason Updates Archive

29
Apr
2015

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.

26
Mar
2015

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.

27
Feb
2015

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 …

22
Jan
2015

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.

18
Dec
2014

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.

20
Nov
2014

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…

23
Oct
2014

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.

23
Sep
2014

TMI?!

You know the expression “TMI?” Our kids—Lowell’s tweens and Mario’s young adults—have used the expression to shut down some serious discussions over the years. In the social sector, a fear of TMI may be shutting down some serious creativity. Yes, there is such a thing as too much information when you’re managing an organization. But generally speaking, those of us in the social sector are operating with too little information (or too little of…

22
Aug
2014

‘Tears to my eyes, joy to my heart’

Leap of Reason Update: August 2014 In response to the dark story we featured in our July update, our dear friend Lou Salza encouraged us to read an inspiring one that “brought tears to [his] eyes and joy to [his] heart”: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, about the University of Washington …

24
Jul
2014

Data Gone Wild

Leap of Reason Update: July 2014 As regular readers of this newsletter know, we love great reporting about organizational cultures that embrace data as a way of ensuring material, measurable, and sustainable good for the people or causes they serve. In the past few editions, for example, we have pointed to the data-driven 10,000 Homes …

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