“The Performance Imperative” (PI) is the result of a full year of collaborative work by the Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community, a group of nonprofit leaders coalesced and coordinated by the Leap of Reason team (leapofreason.org).
We knew that without a thoughtfully developed, thoroughly vetted definition of “high performance,” any call for raising performance in our sector would ring hollow. In addition to providing a common definition of “high performance,” the PI also lays out in detail the seven organizational pillars that can help you achieve high performance. To crib from the late author Stephen Covey, these are the seven habits of highly effective organizations.
It augments other definitional resources and/or helps in implementing management methodologies
In this era of scarcity and seismic change, high performance matters more than ever. The social and public sectors simply don’t have money to expend on efforts that are based primarily on good intentions and wishful thinking rather than rigor and evidence. They are increasingly steering resources toward efforts that are based on a sound analysis of the problem or need, grounded assumptions about how an organization’s activities can lead to the desired change, assessments to determine whether hard work is paying off, and a desire to keep getting better over time. This formula is at the core of high performance—and it’s just as applicable to organizations that are cutting-edge innovators as it is to institutions that are tried-and-true.
Achieving high performance does require significant resources. Therefore, we believe the insights in this document are most applicable to organizations that have budgets of $3 million or more and are not so starved for flexible dollars they can’t fathom investing in their own infrastructure. But even if you have a smaller budget and tight financial constraints, you will still find ideas here to help you get better at getting better.
The PI focuses on the level of an individual organization rather than the level of communities, fields, or ecosystems. We put forward an organization-level framework because we believe that high-performance collaborations require high-performance organizations at their core.
This first public release is not a fait accompli. We will be making periodic updates to refine, adapt, and elaborate on what you see here. We want to improve our work—consistent with the PI itself—with input from leaders with different views and experiences. Indeed, we are eager for your feedback, especially as you begin to use the PI.